10 Unexpected Ways Websites Increase Sales for Local Businesses

More sales. It’s what every small business owner would love to have. Especially in a world with increasing competition from big box stores.

It’s safe to say that the pressure on small business owners has never been higher.

The good news is that some local businesses have found ways to “fight back” against the competition.

And one of the most interesting ways is by using their websites to drive customers into their stores.

Recently published studies have shown how small and medium-sized businesses are focusing on using their websites and increasing their online visibility in order to generate more local sales.

Furthermore, as of the end of 2015, nearly 50% of those businesses are now using their websites as their primary marketing channel.

In fact, 64% of all IN-STORE sales were influenced by the internet…to the tune of $2.2 trillion in commerce!

So even local businesses with no desire to sell online are relying more and more on their website to bring customers down to their shops.

Now, before we dive into the 10 ways your website can increase sales of your local business, here are 5 traits of effective websites you’ll want to have in place:

5 Traits of Effective Websites

Add landing pages – creating a handful of landing pages is more cost-effective than investing in a new website, especially if you’re planning on an e-mail or paid search marketing campaign. You should add some landing pages that target your local audience and give them the option of downloading valuable content.

Keep your content fresh – letting your content stagnate without refreshing it on a regular basis is the quickest way to lose credibility with your local audience. Whether your content is a blog post, downloadable e-books, informative articles, reports, or something similar, your business can benefit from it by enhancing your credibility and providing you with a competitive edge. More importantly, Google loves high-quality, relevant content.

Make your website visitor interactive – there are a number of ways that your website visitors can interact with you including:

  • Downloading important content
  • Participating in live chats
  • Requesting price quotes
  • Scheduling service
  • Signing up for a blog or news feed
  • Taking polls or surveys

User-testing is a must – regardless of the quality of your website or the positive comments that your visitors post, user-testing is the only way to identify opportunities for engaging more of them. This is a tool that will help determine what improvements need to be made in order to drive more visitor traffic to your site and generate more sales leads.

Website speed is critical – ever wonder why some website’s home pages or landing pages load quickly while others seem to take forever? In most cases, it’s the size of their files that inhibits a webpage’s loading speed. In this case, size refers to the combination of files, images, links, programming code, and words that the page is comprised of.

10 Ways to Increase Your Sales in the Local Marketplace

Once you have followed through on the above, it’s time to get down to the real nitty-gritty or in other words, building a strong online presence and increasing local marketplace visibility. If you want to generate more local sales leads, the key is to increase the target audience’s exposure to the products or services you are offering. Here are 10 ways to increase exposure of your business to the local audience:

Always be accessible – start by ensuring that your contact information is visible. Remember, your customers may not buy what you’re selling if they’re unable to contact you. You can make your contact information readily accessible and easier to find by 1) including a “Contact” link in the navigation bar at the top of your home page and 2) ensuring that your contact information and links are current and up to date.

Decrease the number of products or services you offer – when it comes to effectively reaching your local audience, we have learned that “less is more.” The more successful online business owners will tell you that the fewer products or services you offer the consumer, the more you benefit. This is especially true when you are dealing with indecisive customers. Naturally, this depends on your target audience. Still, there’s no point in overwhelming your visitors with too many products or services to choose from.

Design information forms using quantifying questions – if you customize a form that utilizes a number of quantifying questions, you’ll be able to effectively engage your local target audience and interact more with your customer base. Plus, it will provide you with ideas for improving on the products or services your customers are shopping for and will help you determine your company’s standing in the local marketplace.

Develop e-mail and social media marketing strategies – these are great ways to capture new prospects and nurture long-term relationships with your existing customers. Both strategies should focus on creating a bond with your customers while engaging them or speaking directly to them. It’s also a great way to generate more qualified sales leads.

Encourage customer feedback and online reviews – from Google My Business to Yelp, there is no better practice for improving your Google local search engine ranking and increasing local online sales than soliciting customer feedback and online reviews. People not only trust this, feedback and reviews play a significant role in the customer’s decision-making process for the products or services they want to purchase.

Optimize your existing website for the mobile user – after all, more consumers are now using their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) instead of their desktops and laptops to entertain themselves, research product information, and shop for what they want. Here’s two statistics that will make you think about having a mobile-responsive website design:

  • 67% of your customers will be more likely to buy from you if your website is mobile-friendly
  • 61% of your customers will be more likely to leave your website it it’s not mobile-friendly

Streamline your checkout process – if you find that customers start the checkout process but exit it before the purchase has been completed, it could be that checking out is too complicated or difficult to navigate. Recent studies have revealed that 84% of all shoppers who fail to finish checking out online and abandon the checkout process do so because it is far too complicated.

Target a select customer group – generating sales is all about focusing on a select group of buyers, not trying to satisfy everyone. These targeted groups are commonly referred to as “buyer personas” or fictitious consumer profiles that are based on what you consider to be your ideal customers. By focusing on your buyer’s persona, you’ll be able to maximize the number of quality sales leads that you attract.

Utilize the data you have gathered from Google Analytics – if you have it set up properly, you can quickly determine the source of your visitor traffic. Furthermore, you can determine the best online channels to focus on for your digital marketing efforts by identifying the main traffic generating sources. By using Google Analytics, you can:

  • reach your audience more effectively
  • observe your website visitors’ behavior
  • learn about bounce and exit rates

Last, but most importantly, remember that honesty is still the best policy – never exaggerate your sales copy for the purpose of generating more revenue. Being dishonest destroys your reputation and any trust that you have built with your brand. There is absolutely no reason for crafting website copy that makes your company appear larger than what it actually is. To put it as simply as possible, ALWAYS tell the truth about your business – it’s far easier to remember.

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Sameep Shah
 

Sameep is a Web design & SEO Expert at SimpleWebDesign.net. His expertise has been seen on Inc.com, Backlinko and others. He's also an entry level dad with 3 years of experience (and learning).

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