Why local businesses must engage with digital

Plymouth is a great place to do business. From Plymouth Market on Cornwall Street to shopping centres like the Armada, there are all sorts of business hubs here. But in the modern digital age, relying on traditional business techniques like getting out and about in the town centre and showing up at local fairs and trade shows simply isn’t enough. Now, it’s essential for those who want to build a strong customer base to get themselves on the internet. Here’s why.

Digital first

Today, it’s very common for consumers to look to the internet first and foremost when they want the answer to a question. For local businesses, that means it’s essential to publish major pieces of information online – such as opening hours, location, and contact details. If you don’t, it’s possible that you will simply get passed over by customers in favour of another business that publishes the information.

Local portals

One of the benefits of the internet is that it helps promote a community spirit, and part of that involves the creation of directories and reviews which allow people to come together to discover and comment on products and services. That’s how major websites like Airbnb and Amazon work, and it’s also how local portals here in the Plymouth area work too. Signing up to sites like the Plymouth Herald's online business directory, then, is a great way to get business – and with more and more people becoming internet consumers each day, to do so may soon be a necessity.

Some businesses are scared away from doing this, primarily because of the risk of bad press that the commenting and review functions on some of these sites can bring. But if you’re a hardworking business owner with a happy customer base, there’s little risk involved – and even if the occasional negative review appears, it will be far outweighed by the positive ones.

Cut costs

Perhaps one of the main drawbacks many local businesses which are looking to build a digital presence face is the high cost of getting online. Hiring a website design agency seems pretty much essential if you want a pleasant, functioning site for your firm, but the cost can be prohibitive. Luckily, there’s an alternative. Many web designers, graphics whizz kids, copywriters and more work on a contract basis, which means you can hire them as individuals for a specific project period – so you don’t have to think about retainers. And if you’re concerned about the procedure and legalities of contractor pay, there are umbrella companies available which can take the tax administration burden off you and deal with it on your behalf.

Being online is essential in the modern age – especially if you’re a fledgling business looking to attract more customers. While Plymouth might have a number of distinct benefits to those who like to shop in person, it’s also vital to remember that the internet is a great additional tool for connecting people – and with web design and marketing contractors readily available, you shouldn’t need to worry about the costs involved with taking advantage of the web.