I am from Mladenovac, a city about 50 kilometers from Belgrade. Mladenovac and its surroundings have about 50 thousand inhabitants, so he is a great example for this topic.
As a business owner in a small town like Mladenovac, you think that everyone in your area knows your name and that is probably true. But what happens when new customers come on vacation, visit family or attend an event and don’t know where to go shopping or get services?
Nearly one-third of small businesses still do not have a website. Let's look at three examples of businesses located in a smaller community.
Mića runs a car service
In business for more than 20 years, Mićin Auto servis is a local place where we all drive maintenance vehicles. Mica occasionally advertises in the local newspaper, but mostly depends on word of mouth. 'We're pretty busy, so why do anything else?' says Mica.
He recently noticed that his line of customers is getting smaller every day, and the service on the street next to which cannot be compared to Mica's service seems to attract more customers - many with foreign license plates. Mica wonders if the downturn is temporary or has cause for concern.
Everyone in town knows Jelena. Her florist always has fresh flowers, and everything is grown locally. She creates unique flower arrangements and is known for her attention to detail. Jelena buys a radio spot or two before Valentine's Day, but she doesn't do any other marketing or promotion. ‘I just don’t have time to think about it,’ she says.
In the past, her phone never stopped ringing, and her three delivery vehicles were always moving. But things have changed. Its sales numbers have been reduced, and although it has not seen local competitors advertise more than usual, it wonders what they are doing to gain a competitive advantage.
Mary's local restaurant
Gourmet burgers. Legendary fried chicken. Secret recipes of home cooking. No one makes a home-cooked meal like Maria and that is why her small restaurant on the town square has been full for years. She advertises on local TV and radio stations, mostly to provide services to the local community, and her restaurant has followers on Facebook and Instagram.
Marija personally greets her customers and knows almost everyone who visits her cafe. But the hospitality industry is very competitive and ready to explore new ways to attract more customers.
What do they all have in common?None of them have a website or development strategy on the internet. Let's look at how internet marketing has a positive effect.
Even if your company is well known in your local market, a website is essential to serve current customers, attract new ones and keep your company at the top. Jelena and Marija will benefit from a good website that offers:
Virtual customer handling.
Nearly 80 percent of people research a company online before visiting a company or making a purchase. A website is often the first impression that customers get about your business. This contributes to the credibility of your company and strengthens you as a local leader. The Internet quickly tells visitors who you are, what you do and where you are. You can inform visitors on the Internet about sales and new products or services. The website also allows customers to contact you when you put your address, phone number and email address at a prominent address.
An effective way to attract more customers.
Over 200 million customers use their smartphones to search local businesses. Remember the car outside the city that Mica saw in a competitor's store? Those customers could not find Mica because he did not have a website. Here's how it works: SEO keywords help your business appear in online directories like Google. So when customers seek help on their smartphone, they will find your job first.
A showcase for your products and services.
Even when the physical location is made of brick and mortar, your site allows customers to inspect your store before they visit or contact you. This is perfect for Maria who can quickly and easily update her website with the latest lunch specials and dinner discounts. This allows new customers to try out restaurant recommendations and existing customers to keep coming back. Think of your site as a natural extension of your store's location.
Online store for customers.
When you have a website with e-commerce capabilities, customers can buy your products online. This is a great solution for Jelena to sell a fresh selection of flowers in her shop. Locals can place orders without leaving their homes, and outside customers can contact her from anywhere in the world and purchase local delivery arrangements. It also means that Jelena's store never closes - she can make money while she sleeps.
No matter how well-founded your business is in your local market, a website keeps your brand relevant and competitive. Whether you need a new website or want to upgrade an existing one.
So if you are from Mladenovac or any other small place and you own a business, you need to create a website for your small local business!