Why Your Business Being Online Is Important To The Local Economy
Your business needs an online presence for more than just sales - it builds community and promotes local economic ...
Your business needs an online presence for more than just sales - it builds community and promotes local economic growth. Learn how a website and digital profiles help attract new residents, take on more work, cross-promote fellow businesses, automate operations, and enable growth. We break down the many benefits.
Your Business having a presence online can do more than you think.
The internet has changed a lot over the past few decades. We use it to talk to friends, run our businesses, and take care of everyday tasks. It's something that we can't live without and with the innovative tech that comes out every day, it will just keep changing everything. There's no hiding from it, we must embrace and adapt.
Also the online landscape has become a major necessity for small businesses to grow faster. With the right marketing plan, a business can grow exponentially. It’s even helped small businesses thrive in rural areas. But there’s another reason that your business needs to be online – it helps build your community and promotes a healthy local economy.
When i do outreach to businesses that don't have a presence i often get these responses:
"I don't need it right now"
"I don't need more work, i have enough"
"Everyone here knows me"
Aside from the obvious "It helps your business" there's hundreds of reasons, but keep reading and we'll focus on the ones you might not have even thought about!
Consumers Are Using Search Engines To Find Homes Online..... But Lack of Businesses May Push Them Away
We already know that.....right? Well let's start with putting yourself in the consumers shoes, but further yet we want to switch the scenario up a little as well. Small town America is the new gold rush, for many reasons including political alignments, taxes, and scenery.
So let's say you (the consumer now) are looking at moving to a beautiful small town (this is a very real scenario in 2022 rural areas and small towns). You've done your research on the schools, crime, price, insurance, and all that fun stuff. Even picked out a house you love, but you notice it needs some things updated and changed to suit you. Bad news however, there doesn't seem to be a carpenter within 30 miles, so you change your focus on another property somewhere else.
We often don't expect people to search for trades, recreation, and other services when moving. But people want to know if their pipes clog they can count on a local plumber, or if a storm blows through there's a good carpenter who can repair the damage. If you just use Social Media you're limiting your potential.
People moving are not in the social media groups you are and may not even have any idea they exist. Also social media isn't exactly a business directory people use to find services, they primarily use Google and other search engines.
Having a more complete online presence can really help your business thrive and your community flourish!
The Classic "I'm already busy enough, I can't take on more work" Response
Now it's safe to say this is a very good position to be in. Believe it or not you're a survivor already, and you already know that you can handle what's in front of you. But that's actually my point too, having that much business knocking on your door means you have room to grow.
Now not everyone needs to go down the whole digital marketing rabbit hole but a professional Google Business Profile, a clean website, and some other applicable profiles can help to boost more and maybe even expand your client base.
When the cup overflow, get a bigger cup!
Online digital real estate is cheap, enough so to easily deficit the costs. Remember when you first started your business? How intimidating some the "firsts" were, how exciting the progress was? This is the same thing, except expanding on what you already know and do onto a digital medium. And whether you think so or not, using tools online can even streamline and make your back office work more efficient and automate tasks you'd normally do with pen and paper.
Working with a professional will certainly help you streamline the process. But it's important to understand you're not the first person in your position. Every day businesses make this decision, and not always to the success they want, but the ones who embrace technology and work through the learning curve almost always do well.
Another Great Way For New Customers To Find Your Business As Well As Your Small Town Happenings
Nowadays people use this thing called voice search and direct search using their smartphones. Having a branded website with your information and location can do you great service. But it's also good for your neighbors.
When businesses in a community all have that presence it says a lot about the locals. How they live, who they are, and even who they neighbors are. Established businesses should use their websites just like they would social media, when something is happening you should emphasize it. We get so caught up competing against everyone we really just compete against ourselves.
Google has made it clear that local businesses will be featured more often in search results. This means that when people type in “restaurants near me” or “local dentist” into their search bar, they’ll see local businesses first. It also means that local businesses have an opportunity to show up higher than national brands.
Cross-Promotions And Collaborative City Wide Sales Can Drive Traffic To Everyone
Small towns often get over looked by travelers, mostly because the proximity to larger towns or other attractions. But every small town in Montana and the Midwest has it's own special mix of business and pleasure. In fact I'd be willing to say the smaller the town gets the more ambitious and driven the businesses get. Cross promoting and collaborating are some great ways to lessen the costs of outreach and getting your name out there.
You don't have to compete, find creative ways to use that audience so everyone involved benefits. Maybe you small town has a few bars (mine does). They may be in the same category and directly compete, but that doesn't mean they can't work out a plan.
For example; If Patrons from Bar A purchase a meal or branded apparel Bar B will offer a small discount on drinks with proof of meal or wearing the gear. And this is simply an example, but it can go both ways. Small incentives like this are designed to drive traffic, once they are there everyone has a chance at making more sales, not just you.
Recently we had an event for the fourth of July, pretty much a whole day of fun. The amazing people at the convenience store spurred this, and with a full community backing it I'm confident that we doubled the towns size. It didn't take much, just an idea and an opportunity. This event serves as proof, cross-promoting businesses with a like minded goal excites the economy in amazing ways.
Because of the online landscape and social media, this event was not just a success but will likely become that annual thing we all look forward to.
Websites Are Meant For More Than Just Selling and Showing Off
New website owners often make the mistake of using a website as just a contact portal or a portfolio. As a web designer i can tell you that's just the tiny tip of the iceberg. Being online isn't all about making sales and selling products, it is and it isn't. It's a great tool to get yourself out there but you need to use it wisely too.
The internet today allows for amazing things to happen behind the scenes too. For example my entire business runs on the cloud. I sell and have software that puts an entire office at your fingertips. It automates most of my tasks, invoices and proposals, employee progress, payroll and bookkeeping, and even handles all my project management needs. Without it i would have to use 7 or 8 tools to replace it.
We often think of portfolios when a website is mentioned, but many businesses today use them to the max. Job applicants can safely and securely apply online, your employees can have access to schedules, you can get feedback and reviews, virtual tours, the list goes on.
It's 2022 and if you don't have that presence online you are behind the curve. If you don't know where to start give us a call, we focus on small business like yours and offer a one of a kind personalized experience. You'll never just be a number to us, You'll always be our neighbor.
New Businesses Can Grow Exponentially And Hire Locally
We mentioned above a scenario as to why your business helps the community grow. But let's look at it another way. Let's simply look at it from a business owners perspective.
When i started my very first company in the construction industry we knew we were the new kids on the block. My partners and I knew that we'd have to work hard and we knew with a limited budget we had to be able to get found. We all were involved in construction prior and people knew us. But getting followers on Meta/Facebook and marketing on social media was going to take too long.
So we decided, not at all easily, to start a website (this website is how Badlander begins). Websites do have a cost compared to social media but we understood that to even be considered by someone who's never heard of us we needed a presence. Slowly we built out a portfolio with contact info and specific offerings, and when i wasn't working or getting materials i was building a website for us.
At first our work came in by word of mouth, and that was great but they were not the projects that would build a company. Building an empire doesn't happen fast, but you can use tools to make it happen faster!
One day my phone rang, "we found you online and it says you build houses".
I knew then, that 1 job paid for the site. But not only that it was validation. Everyone said a website was dumb, then my competition all of the sudden couldn't figure out how i went from building decks and remodeling to building a full blown house.
This allowed us to hire and acquire new tools, as well as expand our marketing efforts. When you hire a local in your small town they in turn become part of the small business ecosystem and play a big part in growth.
You can cast a big net for minnows to feed a family, but when you toss a lure in the right spot at the right time over and over you can feed a village everyday.
Conclusion : Don't Be Afraid Of Putting Yourself Out There, The Pros Outweigh The Cons.
More and more businesses start every day. Odds are they will build a website and have a full profile presence online. And more often than not they take the cheapest way to get there, setting yourself apart now will set you up for success later, even if right now isn't the time for you.
Here is a challenge, if you live in a small town try googling trades, events, or shopping in your area. I bet you there are businesses you know of that you can't find. Remember when i said Google favors local businesses? Facebook RARELY shows up so don't be the person with JUST a Facebook and running a shop. You are putting yourself and your community at a disadvantage.
Think of the biggest company you look up to in your industry, I bet they have an amazing web presence and better yet they already made a blueprint for you! If you need help there a many businesses just like ours that want you to succeed. You just have to search for us, and pick out someone that suits you and fits your brand.