The amount of time people spend on the internet has reached an all-time high, with reports showing that in 2022 the average global user will be online for nearly seven hours a day. Compared to the less than seven hours of nightly sleep the average person gets, it really puts things in perspective.
There is a whole world happening in cyberspace and business is a big part of it. More and more consumers are turning to the internet not only to physically make their purchases but to research who they want to purchase from. In fact, 81% of consumers do online research before making a purchase.
You might think that simply having a website means your business is an active participant in the internet realm, but today truly creating an online presence for your business requires more than that. If you’re not sure what to do, you’ve come to the right place. This article will explain how to create a strong online business presence and some of the benefits of doing so.
What is an online presence?
In this day and age, it is pretty rare to be completely offline. You can Google just about anyone or anything and you are likely to find at least a little bit of information. The existence of your business in the various online search engines is essentially your online presence. In other words, it is the way your business is represented on the internet via social networks, email, ecommerce, and any other web presence.
For this reason, an extremely important element of your business presence online is people’s ability to find you. It’s hard to be perceived if you aren’t being seen in the first place. To ensure that your business is visible you’ll need to learn about where you rank in search engines and social media algorithms.
While having a full-blown website is a good idea for many businesses, it might not be necessary or possible for everyone. That said, even if your business doesn’t have a website, having an online presence of some kind is still very important for small businesses.
You can have a business webpage, which is a one page minisite that does not require any development or design. At vcita, you can set up your business page where leads and clients can go to learn more about your business, contact you, book a call and much more. This ensures you are building an online presence even if you don’t have time to build an intricate website.
Why build an online presence for your small business?
There are a number of reasons why building an online presence for your business is so important for success. Let’s review some of the main benefits.
You want to minimize as many friction points as possible between customers and your products or services. The easier it is for a customer to find your business and work with you, the more likely they are to do so. We already mentioned how many consumers do online research before making a purchase, so if your business doesn’t come up during the search, chances are they won’t choose you.
Expand your reach
One of the beauties of the internet is that it removes certain physical and geographical constraints. By building an online presence for your small business, you will be discoverable by a virtually endless pool of people, aka potential customers. Unlike a billboard or a sign outside your storefront, people on the internet won’t have to be in one place to be exposed to your business.
Get the word out about your services
Having an online presence is especially key for small businesses that need extra exposure. You want to make accessing information about your services as easy as possible so that new customers can find you and learn about you. Make sure the process of purchasing or booking is easy, and include contact information.
Build trust and stronger client relationships
One of the main goals of building an online presence for small businesses is communicating with both existing and potential customers. This is your chance to build client relationships by showing clients that you are present and part of the conversation.
Consumers also learn from each other online, so if you have good customer reviews that is always a plus. Even bad reviews can be turned into positive ones if handled correctly. Customers appreciate transparency and authenticity, which is reflected in how your business deals with unhappy clients.
Sell your brand
Through posts on social media, you will create a voice for your brand that people can relate to and over time feel more connected to. A business’s presence online should feel personal and not robotic! The more people get to know your brand, the more likely they are to want to work with you.
Understand what works for your business
Another benefit of building an online presence is that you will be able to quite literally track your progress. Data and metrics make it possible to see if and how people are responding to what you’re putting out. Getting to know your customers’ needs is readily available online, all you have to do is pay attention.
How to improve your online presence
Have a strong website
Customers will often encounter a business’s website before anything else. Just as with any first impression, your website can make or break the future of the relationship. A great website will drive sales, while a lacking website can cost you clients. We detailed some of the elements every strong website should have in this post.
Utilize social media
There are multiple social media channels out there, but you don’t have to be active on all of them. Pinpoint which platforms your customers use most, and work on curating your content there. You want to post often, but not spam your followers. Quality over quantity.
Show off your expertise
Establishing your business as an expert in your field is another great way to create a strong online business presence. Some ideas for showing off your expertise are:
Optimize for SEO
Nothing says, “online business presence” like showing up at the top of a Google search. To boost SEO you will need to do keyword research and create content based on this info. It may take time to see the results, but it is definitely worth pursuing.
Communicate with your clients via email
Improving your business’s online presence can be done also be done via email. The average person checks their email at least 15 times a day, so shooting clients an email is a great way to get their attention.
Invest in your marketing
You can also improve your business’s online presence by investing in different marketing channels. There are more ways to market your business than posting on social media, like Google ads, guest posting blogs, and many more.
Start a YouTube channel
YouTube is the second most popular online platform, with 2.2 billion users. So hop on the bandwagon and expand your online business presence into the world of video.
Partner with other businesses
Sharing is caring and by partnering with like-minded businesses, you can benefit by exposure to the audience each of you has cultivated via your online presence. Not only that, but having a co-branded partnership can also build trust with your audience and theirs.
Get listed on other sites
Make sure you are searchable and that your information is updated on big sites, like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and Bing.
Don’t wait to build your online presence
The internet is an amazing tool for small businesses, but in order to take advantage of its benefits, you need to learn how to leverage your online presence. Building an online presence is crucial to getting your business, well, more business! With the help of our tips, you should be well on your way to building a strong online presence.