Picture this – you’re in need of an emergency dental appointment, but you’re nowhere near your normal practitioner, and are in a whole lot of pain. What do you do? Most of us would simply whip out our phone, hop onto Google and type in the appropriate search terms and start going through the numerous results until we find somewhere that can fit us in.
Here’s the point: having an online presence can make or break a business, especially for small business owners. While it’s true that many small businesses don’t have a ton of resources or a lot of time to spend building an online presence, having no time is no problem. The actual website can be quite simple, and all it needs is a little sprucing up every now and again, including the aesthetics and the actual content. Setting up a few social media sites will help you to alert your clients and customers about updates, and even if you can only post once every couple of weeks, you’ll soon build a name for yourself online.
The time dedicated to building an online presence for your business is time well spent. Here are five reasons why it’s so important to build an online presence, especially if you’re a small business owner:
1. An Online Presence Enhances Accessibility
Having an online presence increases accessibility for your clients or consumers. It’s an effortless way for them to browse prices and hours and compare all these factors with your competition with a simple click. And it’s important that it’s effortless—nothing should take too long to load, and nothing should be difficult to find. Any questions they may need answered should be readily available on the site itself, and if they’re not, then you should really be sure that your contact information is displayed in an obvious way.
2. An Online Presence Reaches a Wider Audience
An online presence also allows the customer to come to you. Even when you’re closed, customers will be able to purchase goods and services online. You’ll be able to reach a wider audience, such as people who are unable to make it to your physical shop for whatever reason, be it disabilities, lack of transportation, or even because they’re in another country. The best part? When customers like what they see, they’re willing to share the news of your products and services with others. Allowing these secondary customers to see that your site is up-to-date will ensure that you come across as professional.
3. An Online Presence Builds Customer Relationships and Trust
The beauty of having a website and social media accounts is that they enable reviews and comments about your products. As an expert in your business, you’ll be able to answer any queries quickly and thoroughly. Any glowing praise that is publicly available will build your online presence and show even brand-new customers that you’re a reputable business.
Even where there are less-than-kind reviews or comments, you can reach out to unhappy customers and resolve the issue so that your good name stays intact. Being able to right wrongs only helps to build customer loyalty. If you’re not forgiven, at least other clients and customers can see that you tried and that you’re willing to do everything in your power to keep customers happy.
4. An Online Presence Enables Effortless Marketing
Selling your products and services becomes an effortless process thanks to your online presence. Consumers will be able to browse your products and ensure that they’re happy with their choice without feeling pressured by sales associates. And, as we said, you don’t have to be there for this entire process to take place.
Marketing yourself online can cost as much or as little as you decide. You don’t have to mail out coupons or flyers; you can simply share them with the click of a button. You can advertise your products and services for free across your social media sites and on your blog. And, if you focus on improving your SEO (or rely on a professional team like Linkeo Ltd to do so for you), then the search engines will work in your favor.
5. An Online Presence Shows You What Works – And What Doesn’t
Finally, an online presence allows you to see the effects of all these efforts. Tracking the metrics of your site and social media accounts is quite simple. You’ll be able to see numerical proof of what works and what doesn’t. If you share a new blog post and see a huge spike in visits, then you’ll know you’ve hit on some content that your audience likes to see. Being able to see the results of your efforts will allow you to make improvements in every aspect of your business.
Building an online presence isn’t just beneficial to growing a small business—it’s absolutely essential. By creating a blog, maintaining your site, and becoming active in social media, you’ll be more accessible to a wider audience. You’ll also build consumer trust and be able to market effortlessly. Best of all, you’ll always be able to make improvements in all these areas.