BLOG: LOCAL BUSINESS NEEDS TO HAVE FOCUS WITH ITS ONLINE PRESENCE
The internet is everywhere — at our workstations, in our vehicles, on our television screens, and in our back pockets. Our society is wired pretty much 24/7. This constant connectedness has changed the way we live and has altered the way we discover and interact with businesses. Shopping at online stores is now the norm and has created more competition, both locally and beyond, for consumer dollars. Because of this, it's become essential for the local small business — the clothing boutique around the corner and the bike repair shop down the street — to have a professional and focused online presence.
Customers have moved away from traditional media like the phone book and newspaper ads, and now rely more and more heavily on digital sources such as mobile search, review websites, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, along with Google+ and Yelp to find local businesses, learn more about them, and make decisions about how and where to spend their money.
Big business embraced the net years ago and has flourished there, but for local business owners who are working with small budgets and little marketing know-how, finding a place to hang a shingle and build an online presence can be a daunting task. However, outside of a full e-commerce presence, there are some reasonably cheap and cheerful solutions that are quick and easy to implement and can quickly generate sales from new customers and help bring back former customers who have embraced online shopping — forgetting the uniqueness and great service local brick-and-mortar stores have to offer. Building a simple website, like a glorified online brochure, can be inexpensive and a very effective way to communicate the value and originality of a local business' services or products. Building online reviews and developing a social media strategy to help grow an online community of dedicated patrons can go a long way to generating traffic both online and on the floor.