According to Google, 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses. As the latest numbers also show, a lot of this is through increased mobile usage (see here). If the vast majority of your potential customers are online, you should really consider that you should be too. Creating and keeping a maintained online presence is a vital part of modern marketing strategy. Not having that presence means that an integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy is non-existent, to the distinct advantage of business rivals.
Giving your business a digital presence involves not just putting up a little static website slapped with your business address and phone number. Your website locations should be an up to date reflection of you and your enterprise.
With a regular up to date, interesting and informative website, a Facebook page, Twitter account and more, your business is 24 hours a day communicating with your client base already established and welcoming others as well.
For the majority of buyers, the days of searching through a phone book for an item or location, are long since passed. Staying with past methods only, just relying on foot-traffic and newspaper advertisements to maintain a presence, is not only ignoring an important growth potential ability - it is a business stating that it 'doesn't need to grow any further' or that 'the public will just come' regardless if no further effort is made!
- You want to stand out amid others.
- You wish to let others know you exist.
- You want to inform others of updates.
- You wish to hear back from customers.
- You would like to gain some insights.
There are many reason why you might wish to gain or improve your online presence. They could be for self-gain, business, social or even political. Those that don't take advantage today of the marketing potentials available online, are disadvantaging themselves.
24 Hour A Day Access.
Whatever your reasons for wishing to connect better with others, the truth is, with the internet always available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the opportunity is always there to use to your advantage. To deny oneself such an ability, is to handicap oneself from the start. Others of course, step in to take advantage where some decline to act.
If you are selling products or yourself, the advantage of 24 hour access can be distinct advantage. Cross-communication allows faster interaction, advantage and ability to gain market insights - often before many others.
Building your 'brand' means giving people an idea not just of what you are, what you are selling but to your advantage, just how much you can be relied upon in quality of service and more. When people are online, it is to one's advantage to give them some insight as to how good a person, product or service is.
This building of 'trust' is a step towards strong brand creation and a step towards convincing an online public toward one direction over another, where there is lesser or no knowledge of similar abilities possible online.
Creating a genuine positive impression and building of trust, also means that return customer visits are also increasingly possible. Public accessibility to regular communication, updates and more helps increase the likelihood of sales and later repeat ones also.
The World Is Your Oyster.
The internet is potentially limitless in regards to numbers that can be a potential sales point or place where others are, to be informed of what you have to say. Your local store or enterprise over night has the potential to go global, all year, twentyfour-seven! It would be business or social message madness to turn down this open advantage.
Potential customers are out there already, searching for similar businesses to your own. By not being there, when others are, is denying a buying public a virtual doorstep which could be accessed to a sellers advantage also. Lose any chains of 'holdback' and allow your business, your service or yourself, to be far greater available to many.
In previous times advertising to a public was generally limited to print, TV or radio means. The occasional localised trade stand or sponsored event, was also a rare opportunity to create exposure. Even when any of these opportunities presented themselves, there was always a potentially high cost factor.
There was also a limitation on the amount of feedback that could be gained from such expenditure. Low percentages of return communication in ratio to outward publicity cost expenditure, was an expected outcome.
Today, through a created and enhanced online presence, it's easier to gain feedback. This can happen even if a potential customer just browses or later doesn't complete a sale. There is still distinct data to be mined where as previously, the seller was left more in the dark as to why such occurrences was happening.
The more information a business or person has at their fingertips, can later be used to correct market, segmentation areas or items which needs adjustment. Advantageous analytical reviews with more accurate data, can help increase later sales to greater numbers. The message that needs to 'get out there', can be put out better. The digital tools are available today, to better correct that which might be causing loss of attention or sale. An online presence in this sense then, is an additional cost effective way to steer in a corrected direction.
When comparing traditional advertising expenditure, sometimes literally 'throwing something out there' in hope that it 'strikes a cord' with some customers, a more definite and predefined method used through an online presence, can here too be waiting to everyone's advantage. It would be poor judgement to turn down such an opportunity.
Reviews were previously considered as something as a potential hazard for individuals and businesses alike. There is now greater ability online to note where such reviews come from and just as equally, counter those that try to falsely undermine. An online presence also allows all through their locations, to again 24/7 immediate communicate an explanations of events and updates to address any arisen situations. More people can be reached online in one hour than any newspaper can in any one week day.
You also have the ability to offer up countless testimonies from satisfied clients, to counter any underhand attempts to besmirch and degenerate. Provided you are attempting to operate at an honest level and having regular interaction with the public, many of those same public also have a greater ability to come to your defence or be asked to. False negative reviews can be greater and quicker countered - for all to see faster and judge upon.
The bottom line is that it's imperative to have an online presence if you are thinking of moving forward in message and in sales. The advantages are there to be gained. "He who hesitates, is lost." Don't be him!