If you’re not very internet or computer savvy then you may be wondering what the importance is of having an online presence for your business. In this digital age everyone is using technology more than ever and more than likely, they are using it to search for companies just like yours. Problem is, if you can’t be found online then your potential customers won’t know you exist. You could be losing vital revenue.
Being online isn’t as scary as it sounds anymore. There are several tools and platforms readily at your disposal to create websites with ease, even for those with no technical knowledge, as well as plenty of social platforms where you can quickly market your products, communicate with prospective clients and answer your customers queries in real time. If time is really of the essence and the entire process is far too overwhelming, you can hire the likes of a digital agency to take full control of your online activities, create and design a website for you and help increase your online presence with expert knowledge.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of an online presence for your small business.
The importance of a professional website
You'll actually exist! It’s no secret that we’re moving into a more technological and digital age where we rely on the internet more than ever. It’s made our lives so much easier. No matter what your business is, it’s likely that the majority of your modern customer base will be searching for your services online using Google. Being online can improve your small business and it's essential nowadays. In order to be found online you need to exist online. First things first is a discoverable website that looks professional, is regularly updated and provides all the information a customer needs to make an informed decision of whether to buy your services.
A professional website is a crucial component of an online presence for small businesses. A website serves as the foundation for your online presence and can be a powerful tool for attracting new customers and building brand awareness. Once you have it set up, you can then begin to add value to your business website. It should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and provide all the information a customer needs to make an informed decision about your business. It should also be mobile-friendly, as more and more customers are accessing the internet on their smartphones and tablets.
Having a professional website can also help establish credibility and trust with potential customers. A poorly designed or outdated website can give the impression that your business is not serious or is not keeping up with industry standards. A professional website with great business design, on the other hand, can convey a sense of professionalism, reliability, and expertise.
In addition, a professional website can also help improve your search engine rankings, making it easier for customers to find your business online. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use various factors to determine a website's ranking, including its design, content, and user experience. A well-designed and optimised website can help increase your visibility in search results, making it more likely that customers will find your business.
If you have a brick and mortar store, then you can use a website to reach customers nationally or even globally!
Once you've got your website up and running and successful, you may with to look into the benefits of an app for your business.
You’ll also want a presence on some of the most popular social media sites. Some people will prefer to contact you and locate you from their favourite social networking websites, preferring to see what your business is up to in real time and contacting you in what feels like a more personal manner. Make sure your website links to your social media sites and you are found on the most obvious ones such as Twitter and Facebook. Social media gives your business a personal feel and lets customers know they are able to follow you and contact you in a variety of ways. You can also use social media for sales campaigns and to find customers and clients yourself, such as through networking groups on networking hours on Twitter.
Customers can easily contact you
As a disgruntled customer or a customer with an important query, there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to contact a business. A website gives you somewhere to display your contact details and opening times. You can even create a form so customers can easily contact you with a few clicks of a mouse. No-one wants to be lugging a Yellow Pages round and flicking through it to find contact details anymore. Being online means customers can find you 24/7 wherever they are and on whatever device they have in their pocket.
Reach new clients and customers
An online presence is vital if you want to get ahead in business. People will rarely just buy from anyone nowadays, even based on trusty word of mouth. Almost everyone will undertake their own research and check out online reviews or recommendations before committing to a purchase. In order to outshine your competitors and generate new business you need to be visible online and have plenty of good reviews for your customers to read.
Building a strong online reputation with reviews and recommendations
Building a strong online reputation with reviews and recommendations is an important aspect of having an online presence for your small business. Online reviews and recommendations can have a significant impact on a customer's decision to purchase from your business, and they also serve as a powerful form of word-of-mouth advertising.
One of the best ways to build a strong online reputation is by encouraging your customers to leave reviews on popular review sites such as Yelp, Google, Trust Pilot and TripAdvisor (if that's relevant to your business). These sites are often among the first places customers look when researching a business, and positive reviews can help increase your visibility and credibility.
Another way to build a strong online reputation is by utilising recommendations on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. These platforms allow customers to recommend your business to their friends and followers, which can increase visibility and drive new business helping you to expand your customer base. If you have a Facebook business page, you can request customers leave reviews directly on your page.
It's also important to respond to reviews in a timely and professional manner, whether they are positive or negative. This shows that you value your customers' feedback and are dedicated to improving your business.
In addition, you can also use online tools like Reputation Management Software that can help you monitor and manage your online reviews and reputation. This can help you stay on top of what customers are saying about your business and respond quickly to any negative feedback.
In summary, building a strong online reputation with reviews and recommendations is essential for small businesses looking to establish an online presence. By encouraging customers to leave reviews, utilising recommendations on social media, and managing your online reputation with tools, you can increase visibility, credibility, and drive more business.
The cost-effectiveness of an online presence
An online presence can be a cost-effective way for small businesses to market themselves and reach new customers. A lot of businesses spend more than they need to, but being online can be more affordable than some other traditional methods of advertising.
Compared to traditional forms of advertising, such as print or television ads, an online presence can be much more cost-effective. Setting up a website, creating social media accounts, and other online marketing efforts can be done at a relatively low cost. Additionally, many online marketing tools and platforms are free to use, such as creating a business page on Facebook or setting up a Google My Business listing.
Furthermore, online marketing efforts can be highly targeted, which means that you can reach the exact audience you want to reach, rather than wasting money on advertising to people who are not interested in your business. With online advertising, you can also track the success of your campaigns and make adjustments as needed, which can help you get the most out of your marketing budget.
An online presence also allows small businesses to be open 24/7 without extra cost, customers can find you whenever they want, and it will be very useful for small business that have a small physical location or that operate in specific hours.
Being online is a no brainer for all successful small businesses. Without an online presence you could be seriously stunting your business growth and losing valuable income. Take your business to the next level with these tips and get online!