Helen Cartwright, Negosentro | Many small businesses are not maximizing all of the benefits that come from an online presence. Other small businesses are utilizing their online presence to pull ahead of the competition.
If you look around, you will see a vast majority of the people around you are utilizing the web in some fashion. In almost every setting, you will find laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
You should be capitalizing on this trend by creating and marking an online presence. This article will provide the needed information to get you started on your journey of marking your online presence.
What Does an Online Presence Include?
When an online presence is mentioned, many people only think about a company’s website, but it entails much more. An online presence is the entirety of all of the identities that have been created online. These identities include all social media profiles, memberships in online directories, and any other online area where your customers and potential customers can locate you and your business.
When a company uses a single URL address as its only online presence, it is limiting its online potential because a new customer can only locate the company through this one URL address.
Why Do You Need an Online Presence?
A variety of businesses such as restaurants, hair salons, etc., are required to have a physical presence. However, these same companies are missing out if they don’t mark an online presence, also.
In a March 2015 Entrepreneur interview, Steve Goedeker, who is the owner of a more traditional brick and mortar business in Ballwin, Missouri, said he decided to take his company online during the 2008 recession to help the business survive during the hard times.
With an online presence, his company grew, and now 92% of his revenue comes from his website. It is believed that an online presence is essential for a brick and mortar business for four reasons.
- Credibility and Trust
The research shows that 56% of consumers say they don’t trust a company without a website. However, this statement does not mean they prefer a group with a site. Without trust between a business and a potential customer, it is unlikely that the potential customer will become a permanent customer.
If an online presence is created, it can be used to develop a relationship of trust and credibility with potential customers. With online reviews and comments about your company, a potential customer will know your business is a reputable company. Another idea to build trust and credibility is to develop a content strategy while utilizing the web. Let it be a graphical or video content, any source that provides information will help in building the trust.
- A Voice for Your Business
Clients of companies have an opportunity to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a particular company by utilizing online reviews. They can provide this information to review sites similar to Yelp. If your business is not a part of this conversation, then you are missing out on a massive opportunity.
With a website, your business has an online voice. A brand that is communicated efficiently can use a site to say a lot about the company and product. An online presence also allows you to be involved in the conversations by responding to customer’s reviews.
- Provides an Excellent Customer Experience
A great website can be an ambassador for your customers when you are not available. With excellent tools available on your website, it is possible to give a customer an unforgettable experience. Some businesses utilize a Live Chat feature which sends a message directly to the owner’s phone. With this technology, a small business owner has the opportunity to fix issues before they become negative experiences.
- Growing E-Commerce
The final reason you should have an online presence is the growth of E-commerce in the last few years. Forrester predicts a growth more than $500 billion by the end of 2020. With this massive potential for new business, marking your online presence is a vital step to having a thriving business.
This type of growth is not predicted for any other retail sales except for online. You can quickly tap into this market by creating an online presence which can be done in a few steps.
How to Plan Your Online Presence
You can use three steps to mark your online presence.
- Strategy for Building Branding
The first step in creating an online presence is to have a strategy for branding. A branding strategy should be centered on clarity, commitment, and consistency. Clarity involves knowing your business. If you have a clear vision of your business, you can easily communicate your identity.
It is also important to have consistency with your branding. If a customer visits your company online or in-store, he or she should receive the same message about your brand. When building a brand, commitment is required. You have to allow the necessary time for the customer to embrace your brand.
Once you have considered commitment, clarity, and consistency, the next step is to build a website based on these features. A site will increase the customers’ trust and loyalty.
A variety of sites online will help you create the best website for your business, or you can pay someone to create your website. Either way, it is vital to get your own domain name because it allows you to remain continuously at one URL name.
3.Social Media Presence
The final step in marking an online presence is to build or establish a social media presence for your company. Social media can become free advertising which will decrease the cost of marketing for your company while increasing brand loyalty and recognition.
Hopefully, all of the information provided in this article allows you to mark your online presence. Marking your presence allows you to take advantage of all of the associated benefits of an online presence. Remember it is okay to ask for help to strategies and ensure and this presence is secure and successful. Good Luck!