In this day and age where there is a dependence on the web for information, not having an online presence could hinder your business’ growth. Your business may be doing great with word-of-mouth driving more customers to your business, but it can only do so much. If you are looking to tap into a larger market, you will have to build your online presence.

Building your online presence isn’t as daunting as it primarily looks. Sure, it may take some work, especially if you haven’t established it yet, but the results can be rewarding in the long run. Similar to a billboard or a business card, your online presence will serve as your business’ identification all over the internet. How else are your prospects going to know about your business online if you’re nowhere to be found online, right?

In this article, we will discuss the importance of establishing your online presence, why it’s important, the benefits of having an online presence and how you can do it.

Let’s get started.

Why you need an online presence

If you want to expand your reach outside your community and yield more than the traffic word-of-mouth gets you, then you should consider building your online presence - if you haven’t already started. If you already have started, however, be it a website or a business page on a social media platform, then it’s high time you optimise them to gain more traffic.

Here’s why it’s important to have an online presence:

  • Your business is accessible 24/7
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    Improved customer service by interacting with them through livechat, social media and help desk
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    It’s an easy way to get reviews and testimonials
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    You can gain business from feedbacks, reviews and testimonials placed on your fb page
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    A website or a Facebook page enables you to be seen by more than those that follow you
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    An online presence is an inexpensive alternative to print flyers, pamphlets and advertising 

Benefits of having an online presence

Building your online presence does require work, to be honest, but having an online presence has pros that far outweigh the cons.

1. Having an online presence promotes brand awareness

Your business may provide a stellar array of products and services, but if your prospects have never heard of your brand before then chances are they will opt to buy from your competitors they are more familiar with.

Most often than not, it is your brand that will make a difference. It’s how you present your brand, the language you speak, the tone of voice, the principles you uphold, the community you foster and the beliefs you stand for are what makes up your brand and what will make an impact to your market.

2. An online presence increases credibility

Nowadays, with the help of the internet, customers are more tech-savvy in a way that they primarily do research about the product or service before deciding to buy. Having an online presence helps your prospects go through the buyer journey by providing the information they need. If you don’t have a social media presence or a website, then chances are your prospect will bypass you for a business that does have an online presence. Or worse still not find you at all.

Small businesses looking to have a share in the market with existing bigger and established business should look into getting their own websites to bridge the gap and move towards levelling the playing field.

3. An online presence provides cost-efficient marketing for the business

If you’re looking to market to your prospects over the internet then social media and email is your best bet. In fact, if you want the best bang for your buck, then it’s always good to nurture your leads by way of email marketing. Not only are you reaching out to them actively, but you are consciously giving them information they need in the decision-making process of their buyer journey.

4. An online presence provides a wider reach to more people

Did you know that there are more than 3.5B users of internet globally from last year alone? In Australia alone, 88% of the total population are active users of the internet.[1] Whether you are looking to reach out to a global market or a local market, tapping into the internet-using population is a must if you are looking to widen your market reach.

Something to consider

Another thing to consider when you’re looking to increase your market reach is the capacity of customers in which your business can accommodate. You may experience an increase in traffic to your business, but if you can’t accommodate the volume then it will only result in either increased work hours, additional staff or location expansion unless you want to gain negative feedback from disgruntled customers that you fail to serve because of the sheer volume.

​Best practices to build your online presence

Branding

Your branding is what differentiates your business from your competitors. It will serve as your identity. Your brand should distinguish you from the rest and should answer the following:

  • Why is your brand different?
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    What sets you apart from similar businesses?
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    Why should they choose you over other bookkeepers?
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    Why do your prospects need you?
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    What are their pain points and what solutions you offer?

Your branding includes the logo you are associated with, your business name, the colour of your branding, the language you speak, the tone of voice in which you communicate with your prospects over social media, email, etc.

Website

Your website will serve as your “home” on the web. It will be one of the first things your prospects will be looking for when they research about your brand.

Tips:

  • Include detailed information about your business, products or service
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    Provide information about your brand (mission, vision, etc.)
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    Include contact details
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    Include social media buttons
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    Make sure the content in your website is up-to-date.
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    Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

Blog

Your blog will come hand-in-hand with your website. If you’re looking to tap into content marketing, then blogging is one of your best bets. Providing valuable and relevant content to your market will help you establish your online presence and build your credibility and authority as a thought leader in your industry.

Social Media

Having a presence in all major sites is another way for you to expand your reach. Create a network of followers across all major social networking platforms, share relevant and informative content to build your reputation and credibility as a thought leader.

Tips:

  • Make social media buttons accessible from your website
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    Include information such as your website URL available in your social media profiles
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    Include social media buttons in your email signature
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    Include social share buttons in your blog

Email

Another great way to do content marketing is to do it via email marketing. Build an email list of targeted prospects, build relationships and nurture leads by sharing valuable content and promotions through email marketing and email sequence.

Summary

Building an online presence takes effort and time, especially if you want to build your reputation as an authority in your industry and establish your credibility among your market and competition. While it does take a significant amount of work, the results it will yield is beneficial to your business.

If you’re not as tech-savvy or if you do not have the sufficient knowledge to build your online presence, then it’s not a problem. There are many resources found online if you’re willing to learn the basics and start from scratch. However, if you do have the budget, you can look into outsourcing the tasks needed.

A word of caution though: building an online presence, while beneficial to your business should be planned carefully. If you’re looking to have a wider market reach, you have to be sure that your business can accommodate that increase to avoid getting negative reviews and feedbacks. Of course, if you’re looking to widen your reach as a thought leader, then having an online presence is a must.

Sources:

[1] Australia - internet penetration 2018 | Statistic. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/680142/australia-internet-penetration/