A recent survey found that only 1 in 5 small businesses had a website, with only a tiny percentage of those having a Facebook business page.
If you are one of the many small businesses that don’t have a website or Facebook business page, you could already be behind both the times and your competition. Not having an online presence could be a real misstep in the marketing strategy for your business.
As of October 2020, nearly 60% of the world’s population is online. You are missing out on a massive market share by not having a place for people to find you online.
If you are still unsure about the benefits, then this guide will guide you through some of the reasons you need to be looking at taking your business online sooner rather than later.
Customers Will Look for You Online
Most people will look for your business online before they try elsewhere.
Research trends indicate that customers are moving towards researching online first and then doing their shopping offline, especially in retail. If they can not find the business or products they want to research online, they go to somebody else.
By not having a website or any social media accounts, you could be damaging your chances of being found by new customers and keeping existing customers informed.
Engage With Your Customers
Offline, you are limited to a few traditional advertising routes to reach your customer base. Online, there are many ways to reach out to your customers and find them wherever they may be.
First, there is your website, which acts like your shopfront, whether or not you sell products. It is your online portal that customers will come to visit you through on their own.
By applying some simple SEO tips and tricks to your site, clients will find you online easily. If you have what they need, they will seek you out.
Inbound marketing will enable you to drive people to your online doorstep. Website ranking tips will increase this further still.
Social Media enables you to reach out and speak straight to your customers. Most of us have our phones glued to our hands 24/7. You can engage customers through this device, and often, they won’t even realize they are being advertised to.
Offline you can speak to one or two customers at a time, or maybe a small number of them at an exhibition or event. Online, you can reach all your customers whenever you need to, no matter the hour of the day.
If people like your brand, or your message, they will follow you online. Once they do, you can engage them daily through your social media channels. This keeps your brand at the forefront of their minds and increases your reach.
Show Off Your Products and Services
Building a website will give you a permanent showcase for your products and services. It will also be something that you can update often and easily to highlight your key products.
You can use your social media to promote special offers and discounts to your customers. You can also communicate good-news stories or use visual tools such as Instagram to show off some of your best-looking products.
An Online Presence Builds Consumer Trust
Customers expect you to have some online presence these days. In fact, they are less likely to trust you and your brand if they cannot find you online.
As we said earlier, consumers like to research you online before they purchase. If they find nothing online about your brand at all, this raises a red flag.
Customers like to be reassured by others, so reading about your business and reviews of your services is important to build trust.
You Can Control Your Message
If you are not monitoring what people are saying about you online, how will you know how and when to respond? This is most true in social media, where reputations can go south very quickly.
Being online allows you to monitor and control the messages being circulated about your business. You can counter any bad press your brand may be experiencing. You can get your responses straight into your customer’s pockets via their phones.
Crisis management without social media can have a devastating impact as your customers and competitors will be talking about you online without your knowledge.
In a crisis, if you can not communicate with customers to help douse the flames or reassure people, you will have a difficult PR job on your hands.
It Keeps People Updated
Things move fast in business. You may be making changes and updates to products and services at a rapid pace. If you do not have an outlet online, how are you going to keep your customers informed?
Build an online presence to keep those interested in your products updated. Again, you can control the message to stop people from becoming misinformed or confused by any updates.
If you need a message out to your customers quickly, online is the quickest way to reach the largest number of people. As most people are using online through their mobiles, you can spread the word to them anywhere and anytime.
Customer Engagement Is Cheaper Online
Offline advertising is an expensive business. It will cost you much more offline to reach the same number of people you can via social media. Social media accounts are free, and if you push your message organically, you need not spend anything.
Save your money on your direct advertising budget and look for ways to increase online presence instead. You may be surprised at the results and how much you can save for the same impact.
Start Building Your Online Presence Today
It is time to be online. You need to have an online presence. You can start small with a website before experimenting with all that social media advertising has to offer.
In this modern world where everyone has the ability to have your business website in the palm of their hand, can you afford not to have a presence online?
If you found this article useful, please read some of the others on our blog.