Most people know it’s important for a business to have an online presence if they want to be successful in the new decade. Business owners are well-aware of the importance of having a website to represent them along with a Facebook page to engage with their existing and potential customers. What many people don’t know is the importance of establishing and managing the online presence of a business.
Online Presence – What Does it Mean?
Online presence doesn’t mean just having a website. It is a broad phrase that includes all aspects of internet marketing; websites, blogs, social media profiles, business listings, and client testimonials with regard to the products and services being offered.
In order to gain maximum benefits from all the aforementioned, it is important to address them all carefully.
- A well-designed website – This is, in fact, the most basic requirement for any business. The website acts as constant representative where potential customers can gain first-hand information about the products and services they need. It should have a professional look, user friendly interface, and a search engine friendly website structure and navigation. It should also incorporate advanced marketing methods and should always have a strong call to action combined with relevancy to the targeted clients for the business. Hiring a web design company can help in getting things right the first time. It is also important to focus on search engine friendliness from the design phase. This will reduce unnecessary work that may arise in the future while further optimizing the site.
- A well-planned online marketing campaign – A well designed website, full of original and relevant content and the best user interface is not enough to attract customers. The website needs to rank well on all major search engines for any given set of keywords matching the industry. To achieve this goal, the online marketing campaign must include the perfect blend of organic SEO practices and paid placement of ads highlighting the products or services offered. The website should also incorporate a blog, with content that is updated frequently. Blog articles are the central hub of an effective internet marketing campaign.
- Social media presence – Gone are the days when Facebook was only a way to catch up with high-school friends and distant relatives. It is now a platform with more than 800 million people who can be target customers for any business. Therefore, having strong social media presence is essential. Facebook business pages are a great way to engage customers directly. It provides the option to communicate in real time. Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google + can also result in tremendous return on investment if used strategically.
- Positive online reputation – The online reputation of a business plays a very important role in the conversion of business leads into sales. Today’s customer is informed and prefers to research the products and services they are going to buy online before they purchase. They put a great deal of stock in what people are saying about those products, services and their offers. With this said, it is very important to watch the testimonials published online by customers (or business rivals in some cases). Negative feedback and reviews can directly affect overall sales. On the other hand, encouraging positive reviews will have the opposite effect.
The business owner who is willing to take advantage of what online marketing has to offer will gain the competitive edge over their competition. Keep in mind that in addition to the above, there are other industry specific factors that can affect the online presence of a business. Hiring an experienced team in the field of web design, online marketing, and social media optimization will offer a tremendous advantage.