The world has dramatically pivoted online in the last two years and now more than ever, you need to maximize the professional online presence of your business to ensure success.
COVID-19 has redefined how we do business permanently. If you’ve been neglecting your digital presence, here are 3 reasons to boost your motivation for making improvements.
1. Most consumers conduct research online before buying
(photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash)
No matter where customers are finally making a buying decision (online or in a physical store), their buying journey likely starts online. 81% of consumers conduct research online before buying. If your business doesn’t appear online, you’re losing customers to competitors.
Today’s consumers are intelligent and tech-savvy. In order to choose your business over the competition, they will look for not only your product information, but also reviews, photos, and videos of your brand.
By having a professional website and active social media presence, you can enable new customers to learn about your business instantly, thus increasing brand awareness and trust.
2. Positive online interactions increase referrals
(photo by Crablinks Interactive on Unsplash)
Word of mouth has always been a huge driver for new customers. But did you know that your online presence can significantly impact the number of referrals you receive?
Your social media activities help to convert not only existing followers into customers but also their network. 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with your brand on social media are likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family.
Similarly, your website experience can determine your number of referrals. For example, 57% of people say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
3. Online sales will increase even after the pandemic
(photo by Pickawood on Unsplash)
Whereas brick and mortar stores are limited by opening hours, the Internet never closes. With a website, you can allow worldwide customers to find information and buy products from your website at any time without incurring extra resources.
With the pandemic, the number of consumers buying online has increased significantly. Moreover, this number has continued to rise even after restaurants and stores started to reopen. Studies show that about 36% of small businesses are making sales over the internet and over 50% are expecting an increase in online sales after the pandemic.
This trend shows that a company’s investment in professional websites can bring positive results in both the short and long term. Meanwhile, companies with confusing, outdated websites will be outperformed by their more digitally savvy competitors.
How to Build an Online Presence
The good news is building an online presence has never been easier! Even with a small budget, you can set up a professional online presence and start engaging with your potential customers.
It takes less than a minute and costs nothing to start a social media account. The most popular platforms for small businesses are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Depending on your target audiences and the content type you feel comfortable creating, you can choose 1 to 2 platforms to start building followers.
If you don’t have a website yet, you can create one by yourself using a drag-and-drop website builder. The most popular website builders for small businesses are Squarespace and Wix, both are budget-friendly and easy to use.
Don’t forget to register an account with Google, Yelp, and similar review site so you can start receiving and responding to customers’ reviews.
While it might seem like a lot of work initially, the time and effort spent on building a professional online presence will benefit your business for years to come.
Contributing Author: Taylor Nguyen is a Squarespace website designer in Toronto. Working with clients around the globe, she helps personal and small businesses elevate their online presence and attract new customers on autopilot. If you need assistance in getting your website created or improved please contact Taylor directly. Her work can be viewed at taylornguyen.ca.