How to Drive More Customers to Your Local Business Website
Did you know that “near me” searches have increased rapidly? In recent years, there was a 900% increase in “near me today” and “near me tonight” searches. With so many people looking to visit nearby businesses, customer-driven local business websites are more important than they ever have been.
If someone in your area is looking for your business, but they can’t find information such as your hours, address, or phone number, they are less likely to visit you or make a purchase. So, how can you avoid this from happening and improve your chances of success?
If your website doesn’t show up on search engines, or if customers aren’t happy with how your website functions, you could be losing customers. Making sure that your website contains all the features that gets you seen and meets your customers’ demands is essential to your online marketing strategy.
Let’s dive in to help you understand how you can create a customer-driven local business website that connects with your audience and helps you meet your business goals.
What Are Customer-Driven Local Business Websites?
A customer-driven website, or a customer-centric website, is one that is built specifically around the needs of your customers, leads, and visitors.
Instead of a website that simply looks nice and puts your brand on display, a customer-driven local business website is targeted to your customers’ problems and online behaviors. For example, many customers like to see the value before they purchase. Make sure they can easily access your blog or other free online content instead of going for the hard sell right away.
The average person sees an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 ads per day online. This can cause customers to become desensitized to advertising and sales pages. So, if your website goes straight for the sale, you may push your customers away.
However, if you take the time to understand how they behave online, you can create a stronger customer relationship. You’ll show customers that you understand and care about them.
Why Is It Important To Create Customer-Driven Local Business Websites?
When you create an authentic online experience for your audience that takes into account their specific wants and needs, you are better able to stand out from the crowd.
Approximately 97% of people learn more about local businesses online before making contact with them. However, only 28% of local searches result in a purchase.
With these statistics in mind, you should assume that your target audience can be found online. Your website should provide them with easy access to the content and features they need.
When your website is tailored to the wants, needs, and behaviors of your audience, you should see improvement in your website statistics and sales. Customer-driven local business websites may see the following results:
- Increase in online engagement, such as reading blogs, visiting social media pages, making a purchase, etc.
- Decrease in bounce rates, meaning your visitors are viewing more than one page of your website
- Increase in revenue since your customers are more likely to buy from a brand that knows and understands them
- Better communication of your value proposition since you’ll be better able to relate to your customer and help them find the information they need
- Stronger customer relationships, which can result in repeat purchases, good reviews, and word-of-mouth marketing
These advantages have most small and local business owners motivated to get started. Let’s take a look at five ways you can design a customer-driven local business website.
What would you like to accomplish with your website?
5 Ways To Design Customer-Driven Local Business Websites
46% of all Google searches are for something local. Having customer-driven local business websites helps ensure that people can find these businesses and navigate their websites easily. Let’s take an in-depth look at five things you can do to create a customer-driven website for your local business.
#1 Make your website responsive.
Having a responsive website ensures that it will look good and function properly on a variety of screen sizes and devices.
61% of people who search using their mobile devices are more likely to contact local businesses when they have a responsive website.
More people are using technology and carrying a smartphone with them at all times. They have become accustomed to getting the answers they want at a moment’s notice. In response, Google now ranks responsive websites higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs) than non-responsive websites.
Making sure that your website can be used by people with a variety of devices can result in the following:
- Ability to reach mobile users, which makes up a large portion of just about any audience
- Easier navigation for website visitors and improved placement of calls-to-action (CTAs)
- Improved branding and reputation, which can lead to repeat visits and sales
- Higher ranking on SERPs, which increases your chances of being seen by searchers
- A faster website, which can decrease bounce rates and improve search engine ranking
One of the easiest ways for a small business owner to create a responsive website is to use a pre-designed theme from WordPress or another content management system. There are free and paid themes that make it easy to customize for your brand. If you’re looking for more customization, you will need to take into consideration factors such as responsive breakpoints, images and videos, typography, and touchscreen usage.
#2 Implement a local SEO strategy.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) helps you get you seen when potential customers search for your type of business or product in their area.
Any website can be optimized to rank better on Google. However, Google ranks results for local searches slightly differently than they rank results for non-local searches.
Many of the unique factors used to rank local businesses, such as Google My Business, which we’ll discuss later. There are also changes you can make directly on your website that can help you be seen and clicked on.
Much of the work that you will do to optimize your website will be traditional SEO practices. However, one key variation is that you should be optimizing for local keywords.
For example, if you own a coffee shop, you should be using keywords such as, “coffee shop,” “coffee shop + city,” and “coffee shop near me.” These keywords should be placed in your page titles, subheadings, URLs, meta data, and general content. Just be careful not to keyword stuff.
Another way you can optimize your content is to link to reputable sites that support your content. For local businesses, you could link back to non-local content. Or include links to other local businesses and organizations or your distributors and suppliers. You could also contact them to see if they would be willing to link to your website as well.
#3 Make it easy for visitors to contact you
According to BrightLocal, 16% of people said that clear contact details was the website feature that made them want to use a local business most. Tying for second was company info, behind only business proximity.
One important feature of customer-driven local business websites is clear contact points. You should have all of your company contact information visible on your website. This includes your hours of operation, phone number, email, address, and contact forms. It’s easier for your website visitors if you have this information listed on every page of your website, such as the footer. In addition, product pages and other pages that provide company or product details should include some way to contact you.
You should have a separate contact page with all of this information listed in one place, If you include forms on your website, make sure that they are simple and straightforward so they don’t deter people from filling them out.
#4 Connect your business to local business listings
When people search on Google or other search engines, one of the first things that populate on the SERPs is listings for local businesses. Claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing and other directory listings. This is crucial to ensuring that your business is comes up in local searches. The information on all of your listings should match what is on your website. When Google sees that your GMB listing matches the information elsewhere, it is more likely to label your business as legitimate and increase your rankings.
Additionally, do your best to include keywords in your GMB listing. For example, add secondary categories that describe your business instead of relying on only a primary category. You should also fill in the services and products information.
Google reviews also play a large role in getting your business ranked higher. However, even happy customers need to be prompted to leave a review. Make it convenient for them to review your business. Send your customers a link right to your GMB page where they can write and submit their review.
#5 Gain audience insights by using an analytics tool.
Website analytics is a collection of data that measures how users interact with your website. Using an analytics tool can help you do many things.
- Track how many people are visiting your website and how they interact, including where they click, how long they stay, the pages they view, etc.
- Edit the design of your website to improve user experience based on the behaviors listed above
- Make changes to better meet business objectives, such as conversions
Collecting data from your website can help create a customer-driven local business website by making sure you understand what your audience is looking for. For example, if your audience interacts with videos on your website, you may want to focus on your video marketing strategy.
However, analytics can be overwhelming since there are so many different types of data to look at. To sum up, if you’re new to analytics, choosing 3-5 metrics is a good place to start.
Here are some types of data you can begin with to help you start to understand how your overall website design functions and how your visitors are interacting:
- New users — How many unique or new visitors view your website
- Sessions — How a visitor interacted with your site during a certain time period, including CTA clicks, form entries, pageviews, etc.
- Traffic channels — How visitors found your website, including organic search, paid ads, referrals, social media, etc.
- Bounce rate — How many visitors leave your website without interacting
- Mobile — How many visitors view your website on a mobile device
All of this data can be used to see if your website is successful in moving your visitors to a specific action. If it is not, you may need to tweak your website to work better with your audience’s online behaviors.
Most, if not all, analytics tools should measure the above metrics. Google Analytics is one of the most popular web analytics tools for small business owners. It’s free and easy to use once you learn how to use the program.
Where Should Small Business Owners Start With Customer-Driven Local Business Websites?
Here at OMG, we understand as a local business owners or leader, you have a lot on your plate. We want to help you make the most of your time and money.
All of the steps listed above can help you create a more customer-driven local business website. But there are a few that need to take priority to ensure your business will benefit from your hard work.
First, ensure that your website is responsive. As we said earlier, this can be done quickly and easily by using a pre-designed theme. All you have to do is customize it to match your branding, and you’re on your way to helping mobile users learn about your business.
Second, have a strong local SEO strategy that includes local keyword usage and link-building. You also need to regularly evaluate your SEO strategy and make changes as needed.
Finally, let OMG handle everything for you. OMG provides done-for-you local business website optimization and maintenance that includes: reliable hosting and backup, local SEO practices at no additional cost or ongoing fees, unlimited website changes, and an above-average turnaround time.
Let’s talk in-depth about your local business website. Complete the form below and we’ll schedule a time to chat.
About O’Rourke Media Group
O’Rourke Media Group operates in six states with a full-service digital agency and 24 publications and hyperlocal websites. Our team of marketing experts specialize in providing customized digital marketing strategies and solutions for any size business and budget. We’re also a hyper-local community news publisher with an engaged audience of print subscribers, digital subscribers, website page views, social media followers, and email newsletters.