The best thing about owning or operating a local business is that it often comes with a somewhat guaranteed pool of customers that you can rely upon as your firm grows. But that’s really doing things the old school way. Now you can take everything to the next level with a robust online presence that not only advertises your services to locals but also others as well. In fact, play your cards right, and you might have to look into franchising or even opening up new services to meet increased demand.
If you’re not convinced that putting your community-based business online is worth it, we’ve outlined five major ways in which local businesses are leveraging their online presence to drive sales, revenue, and growth.
5. Go to Your Customers
The best thing about an online portal or website is that it is theoretically open all day and all night. That means it can help your customers schedule appointments, order products, read blog posts or even watch videos about your company and its services. Going online isn’t just about being part of the modern way of doing business or having a vanity project to show off to friends and family to demonstrate how “real” your business is. Being online is about meeting your customer where she is. This is why high street shops would often spring up around areas of high automobile or foot traffic: These businesses went where their customers already are.
4. Build a Community
Once online, you can begin to build out a community of loyal customers and even fans to help support your business. Whether it is through a general love for your products or services, an admiration for your expertise, your insights into trends and what’s next, or any combination of these, people will start to look at you and your business as a go-to source for your niche which will translate into increased sales and referrals.
3. Establish Expertise
As we outlined in the above suggestion, being seen as an expert is often the key to growing your community-based business. This not only establishes trust but also makes you a source of information and inspiration. Increasingly online personalities are leveraging their professional expertise to drive sales and build online communities. Your community-based business can do the very same thing and all you need is your own expertise and a willingness to generate content.
2. Build Rapport to Set Yourself Apart
All of these activities contribute to building what is called a parasocial relationship or one that is mediated through distance and exists between an audience and a performer. Potential customers and others will grow to respect your expertise but will also feel like they have a vested interest in helping your dream succeed. A massive trend in online sales and services, parasocial marketing removes the anonymity and sterility of a major marketing effort and replaces it with a kind of down-home touch that only the Internet could make possible at scale.
1. To Extend Your Customer Base and Current Services
The biggest advantage that going online gives your business is that it amplifies your storefront from a local stage to an international presence. But that isn’t all it does for you. As you grow, you will begin to notice trends in search phrases that lead to your website as well as inquiries from existing or potential clients. What this information will tell you is about what is hot and what isn’t – in other words, what people want and what they don’t care about. You can refine your business offerings and marketing efforts accordingly.
Yet, beyond that, you will also pick up on new services and business verticals because customers will arrive at your website looking for these things that you don’t yet have. Perhaps one of the best examples is a tried-and-true community salon that first went online only to notice a huge amount of local searches for balayage hair treatments. While this wasn’t part of their offerings, the staff trained up their skills and the salon launched balayage as an option for customers based purely upon the supposed demand for that treatment by customers coming to their website.
Ready to Go Online?
StylzMag offers a service that allows business owners and other service providers to establish a responsive, robust microsite capable of handling appointment booking and product selling services. Best of all is that StylzMag can offer this revolutionary, innovative service at a fraction of the cost of other service providers. Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it.
Hackney-based tailor Mussa Embalo who has extensive fashion design and tailoring experience had struggled to promote his services due to his lack of web and marketing knowledge. He had placed a small handwritten sign on the window of the store he worked from in the hope that it would garner enough attention via foot traffic. After meeting with StylzMag founder Candy and getting signed up to the directory, he expressed his relief and excitement about not having to worry about getting a website straight away or figuring out how to utilise social media for marketing.
“I like this platform, it is a good idea and it looks nice too. It’s easy to use. I am happy to be part of it and to hopefully get more customers.”Musa Embalo
To learn more about what StylzMag can do for your community-based business’ Internet presence, click on this link here.