Consumers may walk right past your business and on to the next one if your name does not pop up in the ‘near me’ section on their mobile search. Enticing windows and facades are not enough to keep your business competitive in today’s digital age. Small businesses also need to have a strong online presence and paint a pretty digital picture to stand out in front of the competitors and to be heard in the sea of constant noise.
What is Online Presence?
An online presence for any business or a community includes a website, online listing in directories, social media profiles, and any other place on the internet where current or potential customers will find you.
Most small businesses are hesitant to get online as it seems like exploring an unknown terrain. Why rock the boat, right? Especially if the business is still doing well without it. But businesses and communities must understand the difference between ‘simply getting by’ and ‘thriving.’ Creating a comprehensive digital presence can help small businesses thrive and connect with customers as never before. Here is why an online presence is crucial for your small business:
Through your website or social media, consumers can easily find you, browse your products, prices, business hours, and compare you to competitors with simple clicks. If a customer is searching for your business and it is nowhere to be found online, the customer will most likely move on to the competition instead of seeking you offline. Hence, an online presence is vital for increased accessibility to customers.
Builds Credibility and Improves Sales
A recent study by Weebly suggested that about 56% of consumers do not trust a business that does not have a website. Online presence is not just about making your business more appealing. It also gives you the leverage to create a trusting and long-lasting relationship with your customers.
An online presence can help you reach a much wider audience, right from people in your community to consumers worldwide. This can open multiple avenues to market or sell your products to a much wider customer base. A recent report from Forrester indicates that more than $500 billion of retail sales in the US take place online. This means a digital presence has a huge potential to bolster your business sales.
Gives your Business a Voice
Even if your business does not have a website, it doesn’t mean that there is no online presence. You may not be aware, but your business could be listed on review websites such as Yelp that allow consumers to voice their opinions, which can heavily influence other consumers’ purchase decisions. If you are absent from this conversation, you may miss out on a huge opportunity. A digital presence can allow you to have an online voice and effectively communicate your brand. It can also provide a platform to understand if your customers are unhappy and make amends before it is too late.
In conclusion, an online presence is not just beneficial; it is absolutely essential for small businesses. With so much at stake, it is crucial that small businesses get online, maintain their websites, build their blogs, and remain active on social media.
Hope that this article has inspired you to take your first digital step. You can also get online and build a strong online presence all on Your Street today!