Online presence for businesses has become increasingly necessary as more and more people utilize the internet to find the products and services they need. Even more so now, with the popularity and convenience of mobile technology, it is absolutely essential that you build your business with a focus on online presence in mind.
It’s estimated that 97% of consumers use the internet to find information on businesses, be it products and services, customer reviews, business hours, or contact details. This percentage alone is enough to warrant a strong, impactful digital presence for your business. Your prospects are going to be online whether your business is or not. If you don’t adjust to that, you miss out on a huge opportunity to get your business in front of your potential customers.
Think of the last time you did a Google search for a product or service that you were interested in. It could have been finding a new area rug for your living room or a company to repair your leaking roof. Were you familiar with every company that showed up in your search results? Most likely not, which is a testament to companies that have built an exceptional, impactful online presence.
I did a general search for “TVs near me” just the other day, and there, at the bottom of the first page below the Walmart, Target, Costco, and BestBuy powerhouses, was a small, family-owned electronics shop I’d never heard of that was just three miles away. Had I not found them through my search, I would not have known they were even there, hidden in a strip mall down the street between a Subway and a drug store. The online presence of that company helped them to be seen. Sometimes, it is just that straightforward.
What Is Online Presence?
In simple terms, online presence is the ability of businesses to be found on the internet through search engines. It applies to websites, social media channels, e-commerce platforms, blogs, ads, directories, memberships to associations listed online, and any other online source that a search engine can find.
A simple term, yet possibly complex and time-consuming in practice, online presence is just one of the many marketing strategies that a business must conquer to maximize its lead generation and conversion rates. The power of online presence is unmatched – if your business can’t be found online, you are missing out on opportunities now that a staggering majority of people search for products and services online – more so than by any other means in today’s digital world.
Importance of an Online Presence for Your Website
First and foremost, the main goal of online presence is to bring business to a company digitally, collecting leads and converting them into customers. Your business gets the critical visibility and exposure it needs to expand and grow by having an impactful online presence. As outlined below, there are quite a few benefits of an online presence and how it can help your company gain new customers and succeed through a website.
Reach A Wider Audience
With an easily accessible and navigational website, your customers can effortlessly view and learn more about your products and services, even during off-hours. By ensuring that your website is easy to find, your audience will be unlimited; you will be able to reach those that cannot visit during regular business hours for whatever reason, be it overlapping working hours, lack of transportation, etc. Make it easy for your customers to come to you!
Ease of Access
Now that phone books are generally a thing of the past, having an online presence through a website is now crucial for current and potential customers alike to be able to find your business, learn more about it, and contact you for your products and services through search engines. Most importantly, if you do not perfect your website’s online presence, you can bet your competitors will, and there goes your chance of getting those quality leads.
Showcase Products & Services
By building your website and having it easily accessible through search engines, you showcase the products and services you have available for potential customers. Speak to your audience in a way that shows how you can help them, not how they can help you. This customer-centric content will create value and help turn your leads into conversions.
Potential customers will find it difficult to put faith and trust in a company they know nothing about. Given a strong website with a powerful online presence, companies can familiarize themselves through brand-building to get their names in front of the right audience at the right time in a way that creates credibility and legitimizes them as reputable.
Feature Customer Reviews
Prospects rely on customer reviews to get a feel for your business and the quality of products and services you provide, and the degree of customer service and satisfaction that they can expect. Feature these positive reviews on your website to help make their buying decisions easier by backing up your business with satisfied customers.
Tips On Enhancing Your Website’s Online Presence
Enhancing your online presence starts with your website. From simply getting your business name out there to cultivating a truly exceptional, user-friendly, customer-centric website, you must be realistic about your starting point to improve it effectively and impactfully. Following these four tips will get you on the right track!
Modern, Updated Website Design
A fresh, modern, updated website is key when it comes to enhancing your online presence. Old, hard-to-use websites, or worse, websites that are not mobile-friendly, will quickly turn your audience off, even if you have an acceptable online presence. If your website is hard to use or navigate, your potential customers will quickly find one that isn’t.
Current, Accurate Website Content
What is the purpose of building your website’s online presence if the information you have published is inaccurate? What if you have the correct information about your products or services but have the wrong contact details posted? At the very least, this will frustrate your audience. At worst, you’ve lost your chance – they will contact your competitors that they have learned they can trust or can at least contact.
Let your current and potential customers know what they are missing out on if they decide not to go with your company and choose a competitor instead. What value do you bring to the table that they do not? Find your strengths and make them shine.
I’ve Optimized My Website – What Else Can I Do?
Having optimized your website’s content, it is time to get the most out of your online presence by introducing efficient SEO practices. By utilizing keywords, publishing blogs, creating backlinks, and other practices, you will start showing up higher in Google search results and reaping the benefits.
Be Active Online
Whether answering questions through contact forms on your website, replying to reviews on Yelp, or posting on social media, it is increasingly important to be active online. Customers want to be heard, and you want your company to be seen as often as possible. Build your brand, build your customer base and satisfaction rates, and build your online presence!
Social Media Platforms
Another important piece of building your online presence includes using social media platforms to get in front of your target audience. Is your customer base active on Facebook and Instagram? LinkedIn or YouTube? Whatever the platform may be, you must do your research and reach your customers and prospects where they are most likely to see your comments, posts, blogs, ads, and updates.
Google Map Listing
Google My Business map listings are now an essential piece to building your online presence. Your verified, up-to-date listing will be the first place your potential customers will look to find crucial information about your company: contact details, business and holiday hours, customer reviews, and much more.
In addition to GMB, the use of other directories is vital to the online presence of your business. In the simplest of terms, the more places you show up online, the better. Including Bing Places, Yahoo, Yelp, BBB, and Nextdoor, there is a multitude of options right at the fingertips of your prospective customers, so it is imperative to show up in as many of those places as you can so they find your business first and not your competitor’s.
As more and more people are utilizing the internet, be it through websites, social media platforms, directories, or otherwise, an impactful, effective strategy is essential to improving the online presence of any business. Start with your website, and build up. Now get out there and be seen!