In the world that we currently live in, it is vital for all businesses to have a strong online presence. In order to stay relevant, build the brand and gain more customers, an internet profile is vital. Whether you are a firm of lawyers, a fashion retailer or a clinic offering treatment for varicose veins, a strong presence online is going to be vital to your success and here are just a few reasons why.
For any company doing business today, a website is far more than a way to promote products and services. With a consumer market that heavily relies on the internet for everything from directions to reviews, any small business that has not yet set up an online presence could be missing out on a gold mine of potential customers. In fact, Shop.org projects online holiday sales to increase between 13 and 15 percent to as much as $82 billion during the months of November and December this year, and the U.S. Commerce Department reported that final Q4 (October – December) e-commerce sales in 2012 increased 15.7 percent.
Perhaps most important of all, a website gives a small business credibility. According to the Verisign-commissioned research, two-thirds (65 percent) of small businesses with an online presence said they elected to create a company website because it makes their company look more credible.
A web presence can boost a business’s reputation, providing exposure beyond its storefront. By ensuring that presence includes a professional, informative website with established credentials – such as your BBB accreditation – small businesses can capture online audiences and answer the questions consumers have about the products or services they’re offering. This will help establish your business as a serious force in your local community.
In today’s competitive search environment, content is everything. Google has revamped its algorithms to meet the way users search today, including setting up better voice search responsiveness and placing an emphasis on location search. If a tourist is traveling five miles from your business, will your business show up if they search for “nearby restaurants?” If a local resident tries to access your phone number by asking Google for it, will that customer receive the most accurate phone number for your business?
Every business has competition. The good news is, although 85 percent of customers use the internet to find local businesses, according to Search Engine Land, most small businesses still didn’t have a website as of February 2012. In fact, a recent survey from Yodle found that 52 percent of small businesses don’t have a website. This is good news for those with a website and presents a prime opportunity for those without, as a local business with a website that readily answers customer questions is at an advantage when trying to win over the aforementioned 85 percent of customers on the internet.
The Internet is always available, which enables your potential customers to find your business website at any time of the day and from any location. If you run a retail business, your online store will be available around the clock and customers can make their purchases whenever they want to. This is a key advantage over offline shopping where customers have to wait until business hours. Online presence is critical for all businesses as it has a significant influence on the way customers make buying decisions. Customers are likely to look at businesses in a negative light if they cannot find them online. Using the Internet for promoting your brand and building your online reputation allows you to overcome distance barriers.
With more than three-quarters of adults buying products online, it is not difficult to imagine how a small business can benefit from a strong online presence. Just do not try to do it all at once or to get overwhelmed by the scale of the project. You can start by creating a website to act as an online extension of your brick-and-mortar store. Build your online presence from there, and expand as you feel comfortable with the new strategies and skills.
So, what do you need to do?
Plan your branding strategy
Before you start building your online presence, you need to know what you want to present to the world first. Essentially, you should do a thorough analysis of your niche and business, so that you can make all the necessary decisions before you actually delve into creating a recognizable digital mark.
Build your website
It’s important that you know how your business website should look like. You need to know the main branding elements that were mentioned in the previous paragraph. Brainstorm and use your ideas to craft effective and informative About and FAQ pages as well as other details and pages you want on your site. Basically, you should know what you want and what will work for making your business more unique and stronger, so that you can work with professional companies such as TechBear in order to get the best possible results in the fastest way.
SEO for good online presence
Once you have your website, it is essential that search engines can find your page. Basically, 89% of consumers use search engines to search for information about products, services, or companies before making a decision. In order to take advantage of this data, you need to make sure that your website is prepared and optimized. This is what is commonly known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The purpose of SEO is to make it easier for search engines to find your website; and to generate organic traffic to your site. For a good online presence, you should boost your SEO and search engine ranks properly since people don’t tend to check Google results pages too much after the page 2-3. SEO is not an objective in itself, or something you can do once and then forget about it. It is rather an optimization process that never ends.
Create social media profiles
You don’t have to jump on every social media platform available today, but the most popular ones such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn should definitely be a must. Each platform shares some similarities but has plenty of differences as well. You should make sure to address the analytics for every social media channel in order to devise the best strategy. Moreover, the most important thing here is to start posting relevant content for your audience consistently. Remember, when crafting your strong business online presence you should always keep your target audience in mind. In that respect, the design of your website, the choice of colors, the visual content and everything else that will serve the purpose of creating your presence has to be chosen in regards to the ideal consumer.