Exposing your small business to the online community means more than just setting up a website with your business address and contact information. It means creating a virtual version of your business, with an attractive, informative website and a social media presence. In this digital era, people use online search engines for almost everything they need. For many, Google search is the first place they go when they have a question or want to know more about something. Given the reliance on the internet today, not maintaining an active online presence can be potentially fatal for small businesses. If you are wondering how to get online, or how to take your business online, this post will explain why and how to establish a strong online presence.
Why Your Small Business Needs a Strong Online Presence:
- Visibility & Accessibility - Customers are more likely to turn to the web for research when they need information. They may either be looking for specific information on your business, services/products your business offers, or general information about your industry. Going online will give you the upper hand over your competition. The easier it is for your potential customers to find you, the more likely they will invest in your products and services.
- Build trust & confidence - A quality website, active social media, and an updated blog immediately give your business credibility to potential customers. It reassures clients that your business is established and trust-worthy. Open communication and quality customer service, through your website or social media, can help increase customer confidence and brand loyalty.
- Marketing & Ecommerce - In this new online era, the internet allows you to market to anyone, anywhere in the world. There are a number of online marketing and advertising avenues which can help extend your reach and increase both online and offline sales. Whether you’re displaying testimonials from clients or photos of your newest products, it’s never been easier to show the world what your business offers. Displaying your products or services on your website allows customers to easily learn about what your business offers.
How to Establish a Strong Online Presence:
- Website - A website serves a primary source of information about your business. The importance of local search is growing as we evolve. Most customers access the Internet, and use search engines to research everything, from entertainment to professional services. Having a website is the first step to interacting with your existing customers and attracting new customers to your business. Building an attractive, easily navigable website is a great first step to securing your online presence.
- Blog - Blogging significantly increases SEO and lands your business higher in Google search results. The more quality content on your website and the more often that content is updated, the more Google will favour your website over others. This is easily achievable with consistent, quality blog posts, relevant to your industry and business. A blog can also help establish your business as knowledgable and a go-to source of information for customers.
- Social presence - Having your small business on recognized online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest is essential in expanding your client base. Through these platforms, customers can learn more about you and your business. Webware offers its customers a Facebook Store, where a business can sell products directly from the business Facebook page. All your social platforms should display your expertise in your industry and maintain open communication with your customers.
- Webstore - If your business sells products, adding ecommerce to your website can increase your visibility online. Online shopping is a growing force in the retail market and can help you reach a new customer base, outside your local area.
- Reviews - People often check reviews to help them decide between products or services. People generally trust their peers so good online reviews can be a gold-mine for your business. Reviews also help increase your business’s ranking on the Google Search Results page. Again, the more quality content that links back to your website, the more Google will favour it. Install a Review widget (like Yotpo) on your website and encourage customers to write reviews about your products and their experience with your business.
The Bottom Line
In today’s Internet-focused world, a business that doesn’t maintain an active online presence will go unnoticed by Google and potential customers. To avoid being lost in the internet clutter, ensure your business is easily accessible both locally and across the globe.
Your website and social media presence are opportunities to make a great first impression. Inspire trust and confidence in your clients from day one with a well designed and comprehensive digital strategy.