Your business online presence is the sum of all the places your business can be found on the internet. Your business online presence strategy matters because it determines a lot about how consumers perceive your business.
Whether you manage your business online presence or not, people are still talking about your business online. Because people are talking about your business whether you like it or not is why your business online presence strategy matters.
You can craft your story and message the way you want it seen or people will craft it for you. You might not like the organically crafted version either. It’s better that you craft your own story rather than leave it up to chance.
7 Reasons To Manage Your Business Online Presence
These 7 reasons your business online presence strategy matters are the reason you need to go out there and start managing your online presence. You either need to get out there and do it or hire a digital marketing agency to help you do it.
Your online presence matters to whether you get new leads all the way to sealing the deal and turning them into a customer.
1) Easy To Find
Part of a business online presence strategy is managing the many ways consumers find your business.
If you’re a local business wanting local customers to come in then there are different places you’ll be found than if you’re an online-only eCommerce store.
Every business has a different target audience which means different methods of making your business easy to find.
If your business is hard to find online then a large percentage of customers will never find you. Nobody’s going on a mad hunt to try to find your business.
Being easy to find could just mean you’re in every relevant directory possible with a working phone number that you answer. The business who answers their phone has a significantly higher chance of getting business than someone who doesn’t answer their phone.
I did a bit of research on how many people won’t call back but I didn’t find any well-cited research. I did see the number 85% thrown around a lot. That is, 85% of people who call a business and don’t receive an answer won’t call back. Take that number with a grain of salt though.
Your potential customers will either find your business online or they’ll find your competitor. You want them to find you, so be easy to find.
2) First Impression
The customer journey begins somewhere. That’s where the customer’s first impression is made and managing your online presence helps form that the way you want.
Brand awareness only comes with time so every touch point consumers have with your business is an opportunity to build your brand online.First impressions make a lasting impression on an entire business relationship. Click To Tweet
A first impression is an important step in whether a customer has a positive or negative experience with your business.
Your business first impression often begins not on your website but another. That doesn’t mean your website isn’t important though. It does mean your business online presence strategy does need to cover other websites and profiles where customers can find you.
After consumers find you and you’ve made the first impression on another website, consistency in how you’re presented is important.
Every step of the customer’s journey should be recognizably yours.
That means your logo should be consistent, any visuals you use should be consistent (that doesn’t mean identical though), and your copy should be obviously written with similar personality.Everything from your domain name to your email address should be branded and consistent.
Everything from your domain name to your email address should be branded and consistent.
Consistency is a driving factor in making your brand recognizable and build brand awareness. Without consistency, it will be easy for consumers to have a fragmented view of your business.
4) Social Proof
People seek what others like. We’re all social beings and we all want to be part of the party.
Not too long ago my wife and I went to a restaurant because we always noticed it was extremely busy. Lots of people going there (and good reviews) was the social proof and it convinced us to go. Well, it wasn’t good at all but it did get us to go once.
We want to know that others like the business we’re looking at. Managing your online presence means you need to provide social proof for others to see.
Part of the job of managing your business online presence means asking for reviews (or at least encouraging them) and answering those who have left you reviews (depending on the review site).
If you’re not managing your reviews online then bad stuff could be said and you’ll have no way of correcting it.
Directories like Yelp will put your business in their directory without you asking. That means people could be finding your business on Yelp, visiting you, and then leaving a review. If they had a negative experience and aren’t managing your online presence then a negative review could be out there somewhere.
A negative review needs to be managed or else it could end your business (if you get enough of them). Make sure you gather positive reviews and mitigate the best you can the negative reviews.
Many of the best companies manage their online presence to the point where it’s hard to find negative sentiments from consumers. That means they push the bad out of search results by managing their online presence and making sure positive and neutral experiences get priority.
5) Builds Authority
Social proof helps build a small amount of authority but true authority comes from you. Your online presence is partially based off how trustworthy you are and how much of an expert you are.
Nobody is going to hire you if people can’t vouch for you or you can’t show your authority. It depends on your industry how you’ll show your authority.
If you’re a CPA then you might have to write on the subject or get featured in industry publications. Your current clients will vouch for you a bit but more is often needed if people are going to trust you.
For construction, you’ll want to show a lot of pictures and even show some videos about how to do something.
Authority can be built with blog posts, answering questions, or showing in any way your expertise.
Social proof is all about other people saying how great your business is but building authority proves you’re knowledgeable and skilled.
The more people can learn about your business the more authority you will have. People trust businesses more when they’re transparent. The more you show the better off you are.
6) Clear Path
A business online presence strategy should go beyond accounting for the first impression. It should also account for the entire path consumers take from discovery to purchase.
Managing this means consumers will have a clear and simple path to spending money with your business. You’ll take into account that you need to provide an easy path to contact all the way to convincing consumers you’re the right choice.Don't overlook any step of the customer journey from discovery to purchase. Click To Tweet
Consumers need to see what’s important to them so make sure you put it in their path. Planning a clear path from discovery to purchase will help you put the necessary information in front of your customer when they need it most.
If you don’t plan your online presence then it’ll be left to chance. That’s never good. Your business information will be inconsistent and inaccurate.
7) Customer Service
Customer service is the most underrated part of an excellent online presence. Just as consumers expect to find someone to help answer their questions in a store, that’s still an expectation online.
No matter how well you think you did at answering questions on FAQ pages and in discussions there will always be more. A good business online presence strategy accounts for making it easy for consumers to get the help they need and in a timely manner too.
If you created a social media profile for your business but never use it or worse don’t monitor it you could be asking for trouble. Wherever your business is online it should be fully branded and actively monitored so questions never go unanswered.
There’s nothing worse than sending a company a question and never getting an answer. That’s bad business.
Manage Your Online Presence
Every business relies on the internet in some way to grow and find new customers. Without managing your online presence then there’s a good chance your business isn’t doing as well as it could online.
You can find a lot of resources on The Online Presence Blog to help manage your business online presence strategy easier. Exprance is also a great resource and we’ll talk with you about your business anytime with a free 30-minute online presence consultation.