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All businesses need an Internet presence, regardless of how large or small the company is. We live in a world in which the majority of the public use the Internet to get the bulk of their information. If you are not marketing your business online, you are missing out on valuable visibility and possibly damaging your bottom line. Here are five reasons it is important to have an online presence.
1. It gets your company’s name out there. Many people won’t even know you exist if they don’t see you online. The days of looking for businesses in the Yellow Pages of the phonebook are long over. If most people are looking for an Italian restaurant, shoe repair shop or housecleaning service, they search online.
2. It allows you company’s basic information to be visible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People aren’t available to answer calls at your office all the time, but the information that is available online can be accessed at any hour of the day. Potential customers can quickly and easily find your address, phone number and hours of operation. Basic information about the services your provide should also be part of your online profile.
3. Creating a presence on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, helps you create name recognition, build your brand and gain the public’s trust. You can easily interact with your customers and raise their interest. Post information about upcoming sales and promotions, industry tips or simple conversation starters to keep people checking back to see what you have to say. Satisfied customers can simply post a link to your website or repost your most recent status update as a way of recommending your services. They can share your information with those in their social networks, which is the modern equivalent of “word of mouth” advertising.
4. An Internet presence will allow you the opportunity to reach people all over the world. There is no way a small business could afford anywhere near that level of saturation through print advertising! It opens up the possibilities for expanding your potential customer base by the millions.
5. Competing with other companies in your industry is almost impossible without an Internet presence. Small businesses are almost always competing with a large corporation or chain who is more well known and can afford big advertising campaigns and to run appealing promotions. However, they often lack the attention to detail, quality service and high level of customer appreciation most small business owners pride themselves in maintaining. Fight back online by posting comparisons of your services. Show the public the benefits of going with your services instead of the big guy.
So how do begin building an online presence? The first thing you need is a website. It is well worth the cost of paying a professional to handle this for you. Then set up accounts on social networking sites and start getting the word out.