#1) THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A WEB SITE AND ESTABLISHING YOUR WEB PRESENCE
Did you know that 48 million people went online last year looking for local businesses just like yours?
Your Customers Are Online...And So Is Your Competition!
Savvy business owners are catching on the fact that the local online market is booming. It is predicted to be $50
BILLION dollar market by 2006.
If you are not on the Net by 2006, you might not be in business at all!
A web site offers local businesses a very cheap and effective way to advertise their business 24/7 without the high cost of print ads.
Advertising is something that small business owners accept as a costly but necessary fact of life.
How much information about your business can you afford to insert in a Yellow Pages ad? Minimal! You would say. And each additional word will ad to the expense.
* With a web site you get a jump on local competitors who are stuck on the offline advertising world;
* With a web site you can build new businesses;
* Encourage regular repeat purchases and contracts;
* Nurture , encourage and develop the relationship you already have with your clients;
* Cement customer/client lifetime loyalty
But...only if it is done properly.
According to the stats 75% of the visitors to a brick-and-mortar store live within 50 miles and most people spend their income within 20 miles from home.
Now, we now that most small business aren't making a dime from the Net. So, nearly all of their income must come from the local folks. Right? You do the math.
Yet, in most cases store owners have no way to reach their customers other than the traditional
(expensive) ways - yellow pages, newspaper ads and snail mail.
All they can do is...wait.
Finally somebody comes along and buys something. Does the cashier ask for email address? Nope. Maybe for the phone number or zip code. What are they going to do with that? Call me? Write me? TOO expensive and time consuming.
There is a better way...and it is right at your fingerprints.
One thing to remember --- even "traditional" local-businesses can use the global reach of the Internet to build multiple streams of new revenue. And some service-based business can easily market to a world wide audience. So don't think you are limited to a local market just because you're providing a service or selling products locally.
No matter what business you're in, you can use the power of the Internet to keep the local customers you have and attract new ones.
#2) STRATEGIES TO LEVERAGE A LOCAL PRESENCE
1) Build and Provide High-Value Content on your Web Site
A website gives you the chance to clearly show your visitors what your business is about, benefits or solutions you are offering and what makes You the best choice for them.
When visitors arrive at your site they must be attracted immediately with the information presented.
The one and ONLY way to keep the visitors happy is through
CONTENT. Othervise they will leave within the few seconds entering the site.
Quality relevant content reflects a quality business.
Ad some local flavour to your content. This way you make an emotional connection. Again, you dont have space restrictions,
unlike an ad.
2) Optimise your Web pages using your geographic area as one of your keywords
If you are a service seller you will optimize your pages:
The service(s) you provide + geographic area you serve
3) Promote Your Site Everywhere all the time
When people search a local web, you have to make sure they find you not your competition.
Your Web site URL should be visible throughout your place of business. Plus on every place that your URL can be stamped:
* business cards
* business vehicles, etc.
The key is to be creative.
Ask your customers for their e-mail addresses and tell them you are going to email them from time-to-time with news about your business. You add their addresses to your mailing list and via
an e-zine you will let your customers know about all those news.
4) Publish an opt-in e-zine
An e-zine is a regularly scheduled communication, that...
* keeps you in the forefront of your customers mind
* builds credibility and a trusting familiar relationship
* encourages additional repeat purchases
* helps you to efficiently manage your business.
No matter what your business is, be guided by the principle: give before you take. There is always something of value you can provide your visitors. They will appreciate it by re-ordering. Not only that, but they will tell other people about your business.
For a local business it is integral and essential to publish an e-zine.
Offer a subscription page on your web site, ask your customers to sign up for your zine in your shop...in your garage...on that special form by the cash. Ask them to fill out that form and tel them about the specials they will receive, important updates...
Even if they do not visit your site at first, you can visit them by e-mail.
5) Offer special web-only discounts
Give people a reason to visit your site often. Without a valid reason people will not re-visit your site. An inviting and enticing web presence worth visiting again and again, requires regular updating to keep it fresh and attractive.
Please do not make a serious mistake and build an another About Us web site. This is simple a Yellow Page ad lost in cyberspace.
Your clients already know who you are, where are you and what you do.
Instead create a powerful incentive for your visitors like...
This week ONLY!
Print out this coupon and receive ....FREE...
Update your specials, offers on a weekly bases.
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Brampton, Ontario, Canada