How can my regional small business benefit from a website?
In the small coastal town of Ingham, where Tropical Coast Web Design is based, most of the small businesses have been happily operating in the same way with the same customers for many years.
However, it is evident that the town’s small businesses are struggling in 2019. There are numerous empty shops on the main street and business confidence appears to be down with little “outside” business coming to town.
Introducing my business to the community in 2018, I began attending the local Chamber of Commerce meetings and talking to local business owners. A common theme that I found was that some businesses saw online competitors as a major threat – which is fair enough – they were losing business online. However, several that I spoke to needed clarification on how their own website could help them level the playing field and play “toe to toe” with the big guys.
Here’s a few ways that a small business in a regional town can benefit from an online presence:
Most customers under 50 are internet-savvy and that number is growing daily. We now have a whole generation of prospective customers who don’t know anything but life with the internet. I can guarantee it – your customers are looking for you online. And if they don’t find you, they will find your competitors.
In short – get online. Your customers demand it.
24/7 Service to Customers
With the advent of the internet (and faster connections), customers expect businesses to be available all day, every day to help us with our questions and enquiries. Luckily, with a clever website with though-out content, this doesn’t mean that you have physically monitor the site 24 hours a day. If required , your customers should be able to access how-to guides, FAQs and product information via your site. They should also be able to send you enquiries that can be answered during business hours.
Makes Sales while you sleep
This one is a no-brainer. Setting up your business with an online-store (or even just an online order form) means that you can take sales any time of the day – even when all your staff are at home and fast asleep. Even service-based businesses without online stores can take bookings and payments 24/7 through their websites (PayPal has made this very easy to access).
Get in front of your customers otherwise your competitors will be.
In a small town, people prefer to “go with a local”, even if this means a slight increase in price. If a home-grown store can supply orders via their website, most locals would choose this path over an online order with one of the “big guys”. However, if that store is not online and customers can’t find their prices to compare with the larger chains, they will most likely miss out.
For some small businesses who recognise that they need a website to remain competitive, a perceived roadblock is often the price. Bigger city firms can charge an arm and a leg to create you a site, but often that amount of money is just not available. Luckily, your marketing budget doesn’t need to be sacrificed to create an effective site that brings you sales.
Shop around (look for a free quote link on any designer’s website) and find someone who is producing work that you like – look at their online portfolio – at an affordable price.
Tropical Coast Web Design prides itself on creating effective sites at affordable prices. We are a small professional team which allows us to keep our costs down, which we pass onto you.
Get in touch today – we’d love to help get your regional small business online.