Why does my offline business need a website?

Written on 06 June, 2016 by Lisa Shannahan
Categories: Web Design & Content

If you’re a firm that offers consulting services and only deals with clients face-to-face… or a small local café only interested in advertising to people in your local area… or you have a shopfront but no intention of selling anything online… why would you need a website?

Don’t be mislead by the “world wide” element of the world wide web; there’s just as much (if not more) value in a website for local businesses only wanting to reach out to their local area as there is for larger businesses wanting to trade internationally.

People are increasingly using the internet to search for products and services available in their local area – places to meet for coffee, for example, or local services like their closest medical centre. They are searching for the kind of information you used to have to look up in the phone book, like addresses and opening hours. A 2014 study by Google, Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behaviour, found 4 out of 5 consumers were using search to find local information in this way, and this number is only growing.

You don’t need to be selling products online for a website to be valuable. Google’s study also found that consumers were quite happy to make the trip to buy a product in store instead of online if they found that they were close to the physical store, could get the product quickly, or could get better pricing. For consumers, the internet is all about speed and convenience, but that doesn’t always have to mean actually completing the transaction online if you’ve given them enough information to determine that they can just as quickly and easily source what they want from you.

When it comes to cost-effective advertising, the advantages of having an online presence can’t be understated. The advertising options available through social media, display networks, and search marketing are cost-effective and highly targeted. When it comes to viability for small to medium businesses, they leave traditional advertising methods like print, radio, and TV in the dust. The specifics of what you can target are incredible – want to display your ads only to 25-year-old men living in Bondi who like surfing? Then you can – although it may not leave you with a huge pool of people to show your ads to! Online advertising campaigns are also more flexible than traditional print-based methods, allowing you to update your creative or your call-to-action at any stage, or even test and track multiple versions to see which works best.

Your website does not only benefit sales numbers, it can give your customer service and support a big boost as well. Unlike your physical store or practice, your website is open 24/7 to address frequently asked questions and provide information. It can be a time-saving tool for your existing customers as well, particularly when it comes to offering post-sales support. It can make a big difference to customer satisfaction if you have this kind of information available to them, and it frees up time for yourself and your employees if you don’t need to answer the same questions repeatedly or on the phone.

So, what’s stopping you? It’s cheap, it’s effective, and if you don’t have the time or the technical knowledge to build and manage one yourself, WebCentral can do all of it for you. We have packages covering website design and management, social media profiles and advertising, and search engine marketing, all designed to give you the benefits of a professionally built and run online presence and freeing up the time you need to concentrate on running your business. Interested in learning more? Request a free, no-obligation consultation today to find out more about how an online presence could benefit your offline business.