Why is it Important to Build Your Online Presence?
There are 3.7 billion internet users worldwide – and it’s growing. That’s a lot of potential customers for your business.
The importance of building your online presence cannot be overstated. The changes to business and marketing due to the development of the internet, search engines and social media cannot be ignored by any business.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small, medium or large business. For many customers, if you’re not online, you simply don’t exist.
In order to connect with your customers you need to have an effective online strategy to survive and flourish in the modern business world. Let’s take a closer look at why an online presence matters.
What Does Building Your Online Presence Mean?
Building your online presence is much more than just setting up a website and sitting back to let the customers come to you.
An online presence is defined as anything that can be searched for online. This includes anything from a Facebook page to a telephone directory.
The days of searching through the phonebook for a local business and relying exclusively on word of mouth are over.
In the internet age, people are increasingly using the internet to search for the products and services that they’re looking for. You’d have to be crazy to miss out on the endless possibilities for marketing online.
Your Customers Are Online
Whatever your business sells, you can be sure that a huge chunk of your target audience uses the internet. In fact, who doesn’t use the internet nowadays?
People use the internet for a variety of reasons, from staying in touch with their friends and family and to keeping up to date with current affairs. And yet, shopping is increasingly one of the most popular uses of the internet.
For many customers, your online presence is the first impression they will have of your company. That means you need to make it count!
Creating A Beautiful Website
In order to make your website stand out, it’s important for you to spend time on the design and functionality of your website.
Does your current website reflect your company and the products you sell?
You need to make sure you have an effective and professional website that attracts customers. Two of the most popular options to build your website are Squarespace and WordPress.
However, if you are a large business, then hiring a web designer may be your best bet as they can help you create a site which draws in customers.
Always remember, whether you have a physical or online store, or both, customers are likely to check you out on the internet before they purchase anything from you. If you are not making the most of marketing opportunities online, you are seriously missing out and risking the future of your business.
Building And Marketing Your Brand
Your online presence is a great way to build and market your brand. If you make improvements to your online strategy effectively, you’ll also ensure greater brand awareness.
The internet provides you with the opportunity to reach out to thousands of potential customers.
If you use social media effectively, you could develop great “shareable” media that allows customers to use their own social media accounts to spread the word about your business for you. With over 1 billion users alone, Youtube is an excellent example of how to market your brand through video marketing.
However, don’t make the rookie mistake of attempting to cover all your bases at once. In fact, you could do more damage than good by having multiple social media accounts which aren’t being kept up to date.
Instead, a better idea is to focus on your social media campaign and work on just one account at a time. Engage with your customers by creating freebies which they can download by subscribing to your email list or even offer contests!
Accessible And Available
While the internet allows you to reach out to potential customers in increasingly effective ways, it has also provided customers with the ability to access you easily.
Operating your small business 24 hours, 7 days a week in the real world is expensive and unrealistic. However, that’s exactly what your online presence provides for your customers.
Customers are able to search for and purchase your products and services on your online store whenever they wish. This could even be, and often is, in the middle of the night.
The ability for customers to shop online has benefitted many companies, such as Amazon, so make sure it can also benefit you.
Of course, if customers don’t find that you’re available online, then they are likely to find your competitors instead. Avoid driving your customers to your competition!
Today’s businesses have to adapt to the current circumstances to compete with the coming generation of Millennials that grew up with a cell phone in their pocket and a computer on their lap.
If every time your audience searches for a product or service similar to yours and they simply find your competition, you’ll lose out on a lot of money.
By developing your social media campaigns, creating a memorable logo and working on an effective SEO campaign, you can attract customers instead.
Make Connections And Grow Your Audience
Developing your online presence is central to growing your audience and customer base. Through the internet, you have the opportunity to reach out to new customers around the world.
In contrast to the formal corporate image presented by your website, social media allows you to connect with and relate to your audience in a different way.
Choosing your social media platforms carefully, to reflect your customer base, is important. Facebook is an option which the majority of people will know. If in doubt, choose to market yourself on Facebook.
Twitter is another way in which you can connect and build relationships, but offers a more business based clientele, unlike Facebook where everyone and their grandmother is online.
In fact, by using social media, you can connect and build relationships with your customers in unprecedented ways.
Social media allows you to get to know who your customers are, which products they are interested in and why they want to buy from you.
Because of this, social media represents an excellent tool for getting feedback on your products and services from your audience. Social media allows you to conduct market research in a more efficient and cost-effective way. You can even conduct your own polls and surveys on Facebook and Twitter.
While people still buy products based on word of mouth, the nature of referral marketing has changed in recent times.
In many cases, this has taken the form of online reviews on a variety of reviewing websites and online stores such as Amazon.
Even if a friend or family member recommends a particular product to someone, they’re still likely to search the product online for further information. This is why online reviews can often be a source of concern for many businesses.
For every hundred fantastic reviews from customers, one negative review could have very damaging consequences for the future of a business. In some cases, the negative reviews are unfair.
And yet, nowadays there is no avoiding online reviews. They are an inevitable feature of marketing your business in the age of the internet. Ninety-two percent of customers read online reviews.
Your online presence also includes online reviews of your products or services from customers. If potential customers see that other customers have been satisfied with the product or service they have received, they are more likely to trust you to deliver.