36% of small businesses don’t have an online presence. By contrast, 97% of potential customers research a company online before they engage with them.
That’s why it’s crucial to build your online presence. Your online presence encompasses your website, social channels, reviews, and other digital mediums.
Some companies are struggling to catch up, though. Maybe they’re an established mom-and-pop store and have always relied on local customers and word of mouth.
Buying patterns were changing before COVID, and continue to drastically slant in the direction of online buying. To adapt and conquer current buying patterns, it’s crucial to start creating a professional online presence.
Why Is an Online Presence Important?
Customers know what they need. For instance, they might need some pet food before they take a new kitten home with them.
So, they turn to the Internet and start researching. They aren’t looking for your brand, because they might not know it exists yet.
Online presence definition is this: when a customer needs something or asks a question, how does your company swoop in to save the day? How do you stand in the gap to fill their need?
Most customers won’t look beyond the first page of Google, though. To rank that high, you need to put in the work to rise to the top and position your brand. To do that, you’ll need to start building your presence.
Embrace Social Media
It’s where all the kids are at these days. It’s a great way to define your brand voice, engage with customers, offer giveaways, and let people know what you’re ‘all about’.
It’s also a great place to position funny, creative ads. If people run across an entertaining ad during their daily dose of social media scrolling, they’re likely to remember you.
In today’s world, it’s also a way to build trust. Especially if you’re trying to appeal to a younger demographic, they may think: “who doesn’t have a presence on social media”?
If you don’t have an above-board presence, people are more likely to think you’re a scam, lurking in the shadows of the Internet and unwilling to come out into the light.
This ties into the above recommendation—don’t be afraid to get out there on social media!
Follow other brands, comment on their posts, and engage with your customers. This will help build followers for you, too. But it also helps you craft relationships within the industry.
If you dive in headfirst, people will remember seeing you around. Seeing your brand comment on a post, or respond to their comment on their story, starts cementing your brand name in the head.
The best part? When you comment on another brand’s posts, you’re actually helping boost them on social media. You’re giving a fellow business a hand on social media, and they’re likely to reciprocate when you need help.
Build Out a Website
In today’s day and age, you really need it. Most consumers don’t want to dial a phone number and hand over their credit card number.
Instead, they want to leisurely stroll through your site offerings. It also lets them do a gut check: do they actually trust your company?
This can be dictated by a few things as customers run through a subconscious checklist.
Is your shopping process set up securely? Does your site look modern and clean, or does it look like a 1998 hacker threw it together from a middle school coding class?
A website is a chance to win customer trust, of course. But it’s also a golden opportunity for your brand to really take the floor and shine.
On social media, your platform is limited because you don’t want to come across as cheesy or sales-y. In emails, you’re limited by what the customer signed up for.
On your own website, the floor is all yours. You can demonstrate how deeply you understand customer pain points, how your product is the solution, and how it makes someone’s life easier.
It’s also a chance to define your brand’s values. In today’s value-driven shopping patterns, this can make the difference between a sale or not.
Start Using SEO
This acronym stands for search engine optimization, and it dictates how people follow the trail of Internet crumbs. From their search term to your site, the journey could be very long or very short.
This is another reason why you need a website. Your site is your playground to include keywords, link to other sites, and implement other strategies that will increase your SEO ranking.
What’s the benefit of ranking high with SEO? It drives your result higher up in Google’s landmine of search terms. As we discussed before, many people won’t glance beyond the first page of Google.
The higher you are, the better chance you have of someone clicking on your site.
To do this, you need to dive deep into optimization and get a good idea of what your customers are searching for. What keywords are they using, and what mindset is driving them to search for products similar to yours?
This will allow you to create content that fills those needs. With the right keywords, Google will recognize this content is valuable, and promote it to users that you want to attract.
Creating Value for Your Customers
The point of your online presence is to give customers what they want and need. It is a game of decisions: how much should you give away, and when should you do it?
For instance, a great way to build your email list is to offer a free educational PDF. Providing a valuable asset establishes your company as a helper, and allows them to experience your content in a risk-free environment.
However, you can’t give all of your content away for free. That’s where online presence management comes in.
When building your online presence, as the old cliche goes, slow and steady wins the race. Implement one technique at a time, and make sure they complement each other. This helps drive traffic to your site.
If you’re interested in more articles, check out our other articles today!