As the technological shift accelerates, it is becoming more apparent that your business online is not just beneficial — it is crucial to its survival. According to data from Visual Objects, 29 percent of small businesses still haven’t created a website in 2020 and in 2018, 46 percent of small businesses did not have an online presence at all. An increasing number of Maine businesses are logging online to increase their communications and visibility with customers beyond the traditional holiday peak season. Yet, with many small businesses struggling to manage finances and many in Maine expecting an estimated 50 percent losses this year, many of them may not seem eager to invest in building an online presence. If done right and with the right tools, building an online presence can prove to be incredibly profitable for local businesses.
A Business Website And Online Marketing Deliver Exceptional ROIs
Many local businesses are managed by small business entrepreneurs and often face cash flow restrictions. As a result, investment decisions including advertising or branding methods must be given considerable thought. After all, local businesses are trying to get the best impact for the lowest price or in other words, the best return on their investment. Tools used to improve a business’s online presence have become synonymous with exceptional returns. For instance, setting up a business website can cost between $3,000 and $9,000 upfront and $200-$300 in monthly website maintenance fees.
However, small businesses that do have a website also go on to attract more customers and enjoy higher customer loyalty. By 2040, Nasdaq estimates that 95 percent of purchases will be eCommerce related. Similarly, email marketing has an ROI of 30 times your investment, according to Smart Insights. It provides another opportunity to connect with customers, past, new, and potential. Another great example is the use of content marketing. Content marketing is 62 percent cheaper than inbound marketing and stimulates up to 3 times more leads.
Once businesses understand the difference between sharing information and converting leads with their content, they can improve their lead generation, boost customer acquisition, and improve their bottom line. Small businesses in Maine are already enjoying the benefits of being online, particularly in recent months. Online sales increased by double digits in June 2020, increasing revenue streams and potential profitability.
Being Online Overcomes A Common Barrier For Small Local Businesses: Accessibility
A common misconception is that an online presence is only important for international and larger conglomerate businesses. However, did you know that 97 percent of consumers learn more about local businesses online than anywhere else? Small businesses already struggle with accessibility to their customers. Those without a social media account or website have to rely solely on local advertising or word of mouth.
However, in destinations like Maine which are known for its bustling tourism, getting the word out about your local business is important to attracting new customers. Most of these visitors utilize search engines and online planners to plan their trip to Maine. Building a business website and increasing your online presence helps to fortify your brand and increase your business visibility- getting it noticed by all the right people.
Access To Growth Potential And Tools Are Limited Without An Online Presence
Lastly, businesses with an online presence also build credibility amongst their customers and even potential investors. For a small or local business in Maine, this can prove to be a great stepping stone to getting their business on the map nationally or accessing funds to finance their expansion plans. Even older, more established businesses can capitalize on an online presence to access a younger demographic of customers.
It is not just important that Maine businesses have a website; their presence online must now be a coordinated digital effort, spanning across social media, digital and email marketing and website traffic lead generation. One of the key things investors, lenders, and collaborators will look for when considering whether to work with a small business is its brand and customer reviews. Online tools such as social media not only act as an extension of the business’ brand but it is also used to improve customer service and widen your target market.
It is no longer enough to rely on the power of word of mouth advertising- business must ensure they are seen off and online. With 4 out of 5 consumers using a local search engine to find local information nearby, the patterns of consumers have changed and with it, so should the way businesses approach their selling strategy.
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