Here’s an odd statistic: half of all local businesses don’t have a web site of any kind. Of those that do have one, many report that it’s a complete waste of time and that they wish they hadn’t bothered to build one. However, there is a small subset of local businesses that have benefited from websites because they know how to do it right.
These businesses are no different than the one that you probably run. It’s just that they didn’t slap together a web page and call it a day. They put some though into it and came up with a website that drives business. Here’s how you can do so for your business:
Think About How the Web Can Benefit Your Business
Look, if all you’re going to do is throw up a static web page, then it’s not going to help you anymore. The days when simply having a webpage was a novelty and thus something which brought business because it was so interesting to see you had a site are long gone. However, if you can think outside the box, you can make your website truly useful.
Consider a Nail Salon
Let’s take an example of a local nail salon. You wouldn’t think that such a place would actually be able to get much benefit from a website. After all, women come in to get their nails done and they call to make appointments. What value could they derive from a website?
Okay, let’s look at what a nail salon does and what the web is good for in order to figure this out. A nail salon does manicures and pedicures. They often paint designs on fingernails. Sometimes they offer additional services such as hair dressing and even makeup.
The web is good for displaying things and for sharing information. Now, how about we combine the two? Take the nail salon and put together a website where you offer a selection of images showing the various options that women have for designs on their nails. Let them pick online and place an “order.”
This way, if there is one specific person who knows how to do that design, they can make an appointment, on the web for that kind of design. Plus, because you’re making your designs available to a larger audience to see, you can bring in new customers who might not have dropped by the store yet but who saw a design, fell in love with it and decided they had to have it done.
You could also offer beauty care tips and suggest products that you sell in the shop which women might find useful to have, again, offering you an expanded audience because these women will remember that you were the one who told them about it.
While FourSquare is popular for restaurants, it’s easily adaptable to almost any kind of a local business website. For those not familiar, FourSquare is kind of like Facebook for local businesses. It’s a way for people to share what they’re doing and where they’re going.
This means that the local barber shop could get on foursquare and become more popular for offering particular hairstyles. The local deli can advertise their meat specials for the week and offer a delivery service. The possibilities are endless if you think creatively.
Build Yourself Up on Google Places
I’ve written here about Google Places in the past. They allow people to find a local business for pretty much anything they want. Now while you don’t need a local business website in order to rank well with Google Places, it helps.
Plus, I find that when I’m looking for a place on Google Places, the place that offers me a website is the place I’m more likely to frequent because I can learn more about the company by what they have on their site and what they talk about there.
Bottom line, there’s no good reason not to have a local business website. Pretty much any business can benefit from one in one way or another and it’s really just a matter of having a good imagination to come up with a way to make one useful rather than a waste of money.