Websites for local business, something most business owners hadn’t considered before the recession hit. A local business without a website in todays world is like a telephone without a number. It’s sad in a way that progress has changed the way that people shop. Retail parks that stand where our industrial buildings once stood, have had a detrimental effect on our town centres. It saddened me to see recently on the news that in the North West one in three town centre shops are now empty in Stockport, This is the same in most towns, St Helens, Wigan, Warrington. All our local business has been hit not just by the recession but by the changing ways in which people shop.
When did you last see one of those large Yellow Pages? What a cumbersome waste of a rainforest that was but the reality of it is that the Yellow Pages was at one time “the” publication to be in if you wanted to attract customers. The reinvention of the Yellow Pages comes in the form of “Yell” which as a concept is great but I don’t know of anybody who uses it as most people simply type what they’re looking for into a search engine. Today the main ways to get your local business found are:
Google Places now exists for local businesses, this is essentially a local search designed to deliver relevant results to anyone in a specific location who is searching for a product or service locally. This has been introduced as a result of Google being aware that more and more people turn to the internet when they are looking for a local product or service.
Some of my clients don’t advertise at all, they get all their enquiries now from the internet. Other clients have reduced their advertising spend dramatically as the enquiries from newspapers were less and less and the enquiries from their website increased.
I have a client in the home improvement sector, their home improvement website produces 70 enquiries per week in the North West. Only a few years ago they were spending 1000s per week on local newspaper advertising in so many different towns across the North West region. Now their website appears on page one for so many local searches and is the main source of enquiries. You can read about them here.
It’s not only those local businesses that are used to placing adverts in newspapers and directories that are now seeing the benefit of having a website designed. I’ve designed websites for pubs who lets be honest have had a rough ride the past few years. First the smoking ban then the recession and also an increase in VAT. It’s no wonder that we’re seeing so many pubs boarded up these days. I’ve worked closely with one Pub in St Helens who first had me design a website for them, since then in addition i’ve created a facebook and twitter account that are updated every few days to keep customers engaged. Their customers regularly interact with them online and are kept up to date with news of what’s on and offers. They have an interactive online menu and they are busier now than they were before the smoking ban. Their website ranks page one for pretty much any search term you can think of that applies to them and their business. The Landlady has kindly allowed me to publish the following testimonial.
“Times as a publican are hard, however perhaps the single most important thing we have done over the past two years is to meet Steve from G Wiz. Before that I suppose like many other publicans we’d tried newspaper adverts, banners, and pretty much anything to keep us busy. The idea of websites for local business like our pub hadn’t really entered into our mind. We met Steve and he discussed with us what we wanted to achieve and what we could achieve. Neither of us are technically minded and so we simply had to trust in him. Steve designed a website for our Pub in St Helens and also put the pub on Facebook. Since then we have seen a huge increase in trade. We have new faces appear for a meal each week as they have found us on the internet. Steve maintains the website and facebook page on our behalf, we meet regularly to discuss new ideas, if theres anything I need him to include I simply phone him or text him and the changes are made within hours. We truly see him as one of our team here.” I’d suggest that any business needs to speak with Steve. His marketing experience along with his web design skills make him a valuable asset to any local business that needs to keep ahead of the changing times.”
Pubs aren’t the only local businesses that can benefit from online marketing. Search engines have taken over. You can search for anything from your PC, laptop, iPad and even your phone. I have designed websites for beauty salons, websites for driving schools, websites for pubs, websites for sign companies, websites for builders, the list goes on and on. All local companies and all benefiting from having their place on the internet. Don’t be tempted by the Free Website offers that you see on TV and dotted around the internet. Read my article about the free website offers and make your own mind up.
Contact me to discuss how I can help your business survive the recession.
This article was written by Gwiz
SEO Geek, Web Designer and Online Marketing Advisor. Steve works with businesses of all sizes across the UK and blogs about small business, marketing, web design and SEO at http://stevegrady.org