Business owners with a brick and mortar store may think it’s okay to rely on a local client base. They see no point to establishing an online presence for an offline business. However, creating an online presence has a number of benefits for businesses with physical locations.
A web presence does not just refer to websites. It refers to directories and social sites, too. These type of online sites promote continuous contact with customers via customer service, promotional updates or social sharing. You can also run contests, and acknowledge customer feedback and participation. An online presence connects consumers and businesses in a convenient way.
Creating a website, directory entry or social media account delivers the knowledge of your brand to a wider audience. A local business may rely on local customers, but they still gain new customers from those searching local listings. Offline consumers have moved online. It’s an easy and quick way to find what they need. This applies to brick and mortar stores as much as e-commerce sites. Consumers often use a search engine before going to a physical location.
A web presence is evidence of the reliability of a company. In this day and age, an online presence is very much expected for legitimate enterprises. In fact, some consumers pretty much demand an online presence for quick access to information and recommendations. Sites like Yelp and Foursquare allow reviews that promote products and services to satisfy future customers. A study done by BrightLocal states that 88% of consumers use online reviews for local businesses. That’s a lot of potential readers to attract with a trustworthy reputation online.
Sure, flyers and posters dropped off on coffee shop counters are still effective, but how many sit there for weeks at a time? How many get thrown away? How much money goes into an attractive design? How much is spent on printing? Websites are a more cost-efficient option for steady promotion. You can release promotions and newsletters without wasting a single piece of paper. You pay for the original creation and the maintenance of simple sites.
An online presence does not mean you must sell online to be convenient. The customer convenience comes from different areas. The website can primarily provide information or be used to schedule services or appointments. The social site offers customers direct access to the account manager 24/7. Directories gather related businesses together for easy perusal.
Keep in mind that not everything is a benefit online. Just as a good website and favorable reviews can promote your business and reliability, a bad website and negative reviews can affect a customer’s view. Unhappy consumers have a larger audience when they attack the quality of your product or service. It’s important to know the impact a good web design has on businesses and the importance of positive feedback when creating an online presence that takes advantage of the benefits.