Ever since companies started creating online presences we have been starting our product searches online, and then a majority of us would use the knowledge gained from our research to finish the purchasing experience offline at a brick-and-mortar retailer. We felt we had to touch, feel and see the product before we forked over the cash to complete the transactions. Nowadays, we are more accustomed to relying on our trusted online shopping brands and finishing the transaction online as well. In both scenarios though, the product researching phase is being done online. This is why companies need to have websites and learn to use them effectively.
It is well known that it takes many touchpoints (around 7ish) to gain the trust of the prospects. So if your product and/or brand is not front and center during the product research phase of the buying process, you are already at a loss. The companies that have built a web presence and are using it to educate their prospective customers will already have had two or three opportunities to introduce themselves and their products way before the customers even come across your product. So, yes it is worth building an online presence, and it is worth having a good strategy in place.
What exactly is an online presence?
An online presence for your business is a website and all the interactions a company has online stemming from it and their social media profiles. Having an online presence not only helps with building your company brand but also could lead your prospects down the path into your funnel and help with bringing in most of your sales whether they are online or offline.
If all your marketing is offline, or maybe you haven’t truly been marketing… the idea of creating an online presence for your business will seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by creating an outline of your company, which contains information about your business:
- Start with your business details like company name, when it was established, where it is located and your companies contact details.
- Then, continue with the basics by explaining what the company aims to accomplish. This is where you talk about the company’s mission or vision. Describe what products and services are provided.
- You also want to talk about your company history, achievements, and company growth it has experienced.
- Move on to any goals that your company is striving to achieve and what you are doing to make them happen. This will give your prospects and current customers a clear idea about your company and whether they can and want to align themselves with you.
Think of it as creating a company profile, just a little more friendly (marketing), and less business like. You are asking your future and current customers to get to know you, like you, and trust you. This information will be used on your website and the various social media channels you target and help you maintain a unified presence.
Before you decide if an online business profile is a right fit for you, you need to be aware of the pros and cons. Although in today’s world, the disadvantage of not having an online presence is to slowly but surely disappear and be beaten by your more adept competition. Yet, not every company measures success with the same measuring stick, so is important to align your decisions with goals.
Some Advantages of Creating an Online Presence for Your Business
A Much Larger audience
Going public with your company website gives you the ability to reach a larger audience. Millions of online users can now reach your website. This does not happen overnight, but the potential is higher and faster than spreading the word offline. This one factor alone is usually enough motivation for creating an online presence for your company.
It is important for customers to know that they can easily reach you. Having contact information online helps potential customers reach your offices. Not many people use the phone book anymore, so it can be frustrating for potential customers if you have no contact information online. A small business website easily solves this problem. Make sure to update this information if any changes take place. It’s equally frustrating for your prospect when they find outdated contact details.
It Creates More Trust
Having a commanding online presence makes consumers feel more comfortable about dealing with your company. Many prospects will do a quick online search to see if your company is legitimate. When they find nothing, they might assume that you aren’t a professional business. The time spent maintaining a web presence is never wasted.
This is not to say that having an online presence will cost you nothing, but it adds more value than it takes away. You now have the ability to promote and advertise your company in an organic, professional manner.
Your company brand is vital to success and your company’s online presence is one aspect of brand building. Delivering on the promises made within your total web presence helps in building your brand. Only promise what you can deliver, or over-deliver for that matter, and you will be on your way to building a solid reputation and brand.