Updated: May 3
The world is digital now. That’s just a fact. The old way of doing business is slowly dying away and being replaced with scrolling, typing and clicking.
You may not want or even think that your business needs an online presence, but we can assure you that it does. (And not just because it is our job.) If you want your business to succeed in all areas, you need to be online.
The type of online presence your business should have will vary based on the business. Social media isn’t essential for everyone, but it is a good idea for most businesses - especially those who have a brick and mortar storefront, sell something or provide a service.
But even more than having your business on social media, having a website is essential to every business. Yes, EVERY business. Even those businesses that have been thriving on word of mouth business for years or those that are established in a community. Every business needs a website. If you don’t, you are doing your business a disservice.
Here are four reasons why it is essential for your business to be online.
When anyone wants to find out about just about anything, where do they go first? Online of course! Because everyone, (and we mean everyone) is online. More than 96 percent of all age demographics are online. So when they have any type of question, any information that is needed is typed into the search bar, then a millisecond later, hundred or thousands of responses arrive. And 99 times out of 100 you believe what you read right? This is the same reason your business needs an online presence. It makes your business more credible. If someone can find your business online, they will believe it exists. Without one, potential customers may question the legitimacy of your business. And in addition to seeing your business online, customers will see other businesses like yours online. Seeing your business among others also increases your business's credibility.
2. More potential business
When customers can search for your type of business and then find your company online, it makes them more likely to seek out your products and services. In fact, 88 percent of consumers research online before making a purchase. So no matter what you are selling, or what type of service you provide, more than two-thirds of the population look online first before picking up the phone and calling your business or stopping by. While a huge part of that number is millennials and Gen Zers, more and more of those 40 and older rely on digital devices. In fact, 83 percent of those aged 53-64 own a smartphone.
3. Save time
Having your business online not only is a help for your customers and potential customers, it can help you, too. A business website or social media page gives out important standard information, like your business hours and phone number, plus can explain a little about who you are and what you do. This is good customer service. How many times a day did you used to get called just to ask when you were open? In addition, with an online presence you can reach potential customers outside of your business hours. Customers do their research in the evenings. If they have a question about something, having an online presence can help them get the answer immediately instead of waiting to call or stop in the next day. Since we live in an instant gratification society, that is important. If your business does not have a website or social media page, potential customers will move on to a business like yours that does have one.
Plus you can use your website or social media page to inform customers of upcoming sales, new services you provide or new products you will be selling or promoting. This can be done instantaneously instead of creating signs or brochures. If you have an online presence, use it to your advantage and do some digital marketing.
4. More likely to be found
Even if your business does not have a website or a social media page, that is still a chance that you will be found online. You will probably be just a name and possibly a phone number, but you could be listed. However, if your business is similar to others in the area or you are in a competitive market, no website or any online presence, will get your business buried to page 15, 20 or even 100 in a web search. An online presence will help increase the likelihood of a customer finding your business organically online. An organic search means that if someone types in “mechanic near me” or “florist” your repair shop or flower shop will come up in the top searches. It is also important that your business use the right keywords on your website to help increase your business being a top result in an organic search. Search engine optimization is important to making sure your business is the first customers see when they search for your business or even your type of business. This can take time and effort, but if you want your business seen, (and especially if your business has competition) it is important that you take the time to do it.
With everyone and everything online, it is important that your business be there, too. Yes, you can try to deny it and dig your heels in against it, but at some point you are going to have to do it. Then your business is going to be far behind your competition and it could potentially cost you more time and money to just catch up. So start now. If you don’t have a website, get one. Make the investment in your business.
Take the time to get more digitally savvy. Provide that online level of customer service. The world has gone in this direction whether you like it or not. Embrace it. Help your business and yourself. Have a website, update it regularly and in most cases, have a social media presence as well.
It’s a digital world, and we are just living in it.
HMG / HWD
"I want to tell your story!"