I don’t know about you, but every time I come across a new business, my first instinct is to look it up online. And I’m not alone. Almost 75% of consumers choose brands that have made a good impression on them, whether that’s through their content or their user experience.
That’s the importance of an online presence in this day and age.
And if we don’t find you online in some capacity? Well, unless you’re the rare kind of business that can thrive offline, we’ll probably forget about you. Or worse, we might start doubting if you’re the real deal.
In fact, 46% of people (just under half!) consider a website the biggest factor in whether they trust a business or not, and 30% won’t even consider you worth their time without one.
A website is pretty much the digital era’s version of a business card. I stand by that notion. But if a website isn’t in the cards for you, fear not. There’s still plenty of ways to make yourself known online. Social media platforms like Instagram or YouTube, guest posting on reputable publications or on Medium, building an email list, and so on.
But you have to start somewhere. With so many different voices fighting for attention, it’s imperative that you establish an online presence, and a good one. It might be a lot of work, and you might not see results overnight, but I promise, the returns for your business are invaluable.
Here’s 5 benefits you’ll start seeing if you build your online presence right:
1. An Online Presence Helps You Build Relationships
Networking is essential to generating leads and building up your business, but having an online presence takes it to a whole other level.
An online presence helps you attract leads to your business, yes, but it’s also a way for you to interact with your prospects (and your current clients), and build a sustained relationship with them.
It doesn’t matter if they’ve already done business with you or not, people love buying from those they trust. And the way you build that trust is through demonstrating that you care about their success, that you get them and that you can wave their problems away.
You can do this in a lot of different ways, but my absolute favourite is through content. Juicy, valuable content. You can entertain people on your socials, educate them via your blog or build credibility with robust case studies. Or all three, if that suits your brand.
There’s no one way to go about this, but you absolutely NEED to understand what’s relevant to your target audience. What questions are they asking? What experiences do they share? What objections do they have about your business?
Answer those questions, and focus your content around them.
2. An Online Presence Helps You Build Your Brand
Your brand is what people talk about when you’re not in the room.
Now imagine that room was the internet.
A strong online presence is key to building a strong brand. And a strong brand is key to building a strong community of loyal clients and customers who wouldn’t think twice about buying from you, sharing your content and engaging with you.
A brand isn’t just a logo. It’s a result. And taking things digital gives you A LOT of ways to achieve that result.
If you have a website, you can leverage your design to create a lasting first impression. On your socials, a cohesive feed and a quirky brand voice. In your content, a certain style that makes people go, “yes! That’s it!”
A strong web presence gives you more options. And who doesn’t love more options?
3. An Online Presence Gets More Eyes on Your Business
This probably goes without saying, but showing up online means there’s going to be more eyeballs on your business. When you’re searchable on the internet, it means you have access to a far larger pool of prospects than off the internet, who are actually coming to you and not the other way around.
Not to mention, your competition is probably online too. You’ll definitely want to be found first instead of them.
This gets even better when your business is in multiple platforms. When you’ve got a solid strategy in place to funnel your audience from each of your platforms to wherever you need them to be to make a purchase, your lead gen will shoot through the roof.
4. An Online Presence Gives You More Options
Ah, the beautiful, beautiful land of social media ads, content marketing, email sequences and landing pages.
When you have an established online presence, your marketing toolset expands immensely. And you’ll be able to reap immediate benefits from investing in marketing online as opposed to more traditional channels.
But since there’s so many options, it can be super easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why, even before you start thinking about getting a website, you have to draw up a proper plan and strategy first.
Pick up a notepad, or set up a whiteboard, whatever gets your gears turning, and actually draw out how you want your different online channels to work for you. Where is your target audience? Where do you want them to go? Your blog? Your landing page? In your email list? How will you nurture that relationship instead of going straight for the sell?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know exactly how to leverage each and every one of your options.
5. An Online Presence Speaks For You (Even When You’re Away)
As a business owner, you’ve got a bajillion things to do on a daily basis. What if you could let people know exactly what it is you do, how you do it and who you serve without having to constantly be on the phone answering queries?
If you’ve got an online presence, that doesn’t need to happen. When you have your business on the internet, you have your products and services on display 24/7. A website or social media page doesn’t sleep. It’s always there, ready to inform and ready to persuade.
That also means closing and selling 24/7.
If you present it all in the right way, you’ll be able to communicate to your visitors exactly what you can provide for them, why they should choose you and sometimes, make a sale all without you lifting a finger.
That’s exactly what a great online presence does for your business. It’s your own personal assistant, customer service officer and salesperson all in one.