4 Main Factors to Create a Robust Online Presence for Your Business
I still remember the day I was looking for a salon that could give a good haircut for an upcoming important event scheduled for the same day. One of my friends recommended a place that could satisfy my needs. Much to my dismay, the salon was closed for the day. I was left puzzled and one question kept bothering me: “What was I to do now,” I asked myself.
I decided to use a specific search term on Google to find a solution to my query. I was hoping for some helpful results to pop up in the search engine results pages. The first result was the salon I had already approached, but the second result I had never heard of before.
I visited the website of the second salon, checked the prices and quickly booked an appointment. As soon as I received a verification email, I headed out to find the salon. It turned out finding the place was more difficult than I anticipated, so I used Google Maps to help me reach my destination.
The salon was located in an unusual location, so I double-checked and found I was at the correct destination. Even the owner curiously asked me, “How did you find us so quickly?” I replied, “I just Googled you.”
That day I understood clearly how Google search acts as a springboard for small businesses, entrepreneurs and other creative professional. It can effectively help you draw and lock in new customers.
Proof Online Presence Is Vital for Businesses
According to findings from a Google study, “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.”
The study shows more customers are searching for businesses online. You need to have a strong presence online to attract and win the customers.
But what does an online presence mean for small businesses, entrepreneurs and creative professionals? Is it simply building up a small website with the company’s name and address?
The answer is a big NO.
An online presence of your business is virtually attracting your targeted customer with an appealing and informative website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and any other appropriate online communication platform.
In today’s digital world, most people avoid using the phonebook to get desired services; instead, they rely on searching it online. If you ignore this fact, it could denote that you are not interested in running a successful business.
Diagram showing why online presence is vital.
Factors to Build a Strong Online Presence
The following are the few important parameters that can result in a robust online presence for your business.
1. A good domain name for your business.
Your website domain name provides a home for your business’s online presence. A good one should represent your business appropriately and give it a distinctive identity. For example, the domain name microsoft.com is short, easy to remember and instantly recognizable.
There are also websites like Yelp and Google pages that allow you to set up a free business profile. This acts as an alternative channel through which you can attract your targeted audience with continuous and productive interaction. You can find many other free directories that specialize in a variety of industries, such as restaurants, salons, and home services.
Everything has to be done strategically to achieve desired results. Do not rush into anything or do everything at once. Slow and steady wins the race, and helps you avoid costly mistakes. Start with a good domain name that represents your business, a branded email and move on from there.
2. Good use of social media sites to generate traffic.
Social media is not only about likes, comments, and sharing. Social media networks can also help with marketing your products in the most effective manner. You can generate an enormous amount of web and foot traffic from social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Target potential customers and your desired audience by joining social media groups and pages. Share your content and useful messages on these platforms. For instance, you can create and announce events on Facebook.
Channel your time, money and efforts to design and promote social media events that are worth people’s investment, such as webinars, meetups and product giveaways. High returns are almost guaranteed if you use this method.
A whooping 35M people view a public event on Facebook each day, according to the giant social networking site. Events are a popular medium for connecting with your targeted customers and providing them with an experience that appeals to their hearts and makes them love your brand.
3. Search engine optimization to boost rankings.
You have built an effective and informative website for your business, but what is the point if it is not found by customers using search engines. You may be surprised to know that 89% of consumers use search engines to research a product, service or business before making a buying decision.
To reach and convert these consumers into your loyal customers, take full advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) for your website.
Apixel IT, an IT maintenance service provide, for example, improved their target keywords’ ranking in search engines when the business strategically deployed SEO. The results were as shown in the diagram below:
4. Good ratings on review sites to build trust.
Review sites are also vital when building a robust online presence, because they provide feedback from real customer about your products, services, and business. Potential customer in need of honest feedback about your business turn to the review sites before buying from you.
Go one up on your competitors by not only making yourself available on various review sites, but also managing your business’ reviews. To manage customer reviews and build trust, respond to customer queries and misgivings on the sites, offering remedies when necessary. No doubt, this will improve your online review ratings, online presence and general perception in the minds of customers.
Review sites also often add the product maker’s details to serve users, hence you can get in touch with your targeted audience directly.
Note that online reviews can be difficult to obtain from customers. But, just like creating a robust online presence, it is no longer an option. Reports indicate 92% of consumers now read online reviews before buying.