Times have changed since the days of finding a company in the yellow pages, on bulletin boards, and in-person referals. It was both easier and more difficult to find a good company. Doing business online has changed things, though.
Understanding why people visit your business online is an important step towards setting goals. Before you spend time putting your business online, your goals need to be clear and you should have an understanding of where your customers are and where they’re looking for you.
People look for businesses online in a lot of different ways. It may be that they’re looking for your business specifically or they’re looking for a service in general. In either case, you want to be found in the easiest way possible.
Understanding the where and the why will help you build your businesses online presence, find new leads, and turn those leads into customers. The Internet is a big place so knowing where your customers look isn’t an easy task.
Where They Look
Customers look for a business online in many places. Some places customers look are so vast that it’s a challenge to be found even on one online platform. Facebook is one of those platforms that’s as vast as the Internet itself.
Facebook is probably one of the least popular places to look for a type of business, though. If a customer is looking for a business on Facebook, they know exactly who they’re looking for.
Have you ever tried looking for a type of business on Facebook? It doesn’t work so well. Facebook does work well to find people and connect with people, though.If your business isn't online, it doesn't exist. Click To Tweet
A lot of customers use Yelp because it’s easy to find a type of business, unlike Facebook. Yelp is also good because customers can get instant validation on a company whether they are good or bad. Personally, I won’t do business with a company that isn’t accountable in some way to their customers such as reviews on Yelp.
There are many variations of platforms like Yelp and everyone has their preference. There are specialty platforms like Angie’s List which cater to contractors and construction and there are numerous others. You’ll have to figure out exactly where your target audience is going to look for your business. In other words, be where your customers are.
Whether you’re on Facebook or Yelp, Angie’s List or Foursquare, most people are also looking for your business and businesses in general on search engines.
If a customer uses a search engine for finding a business, they could be searching for your business or a type of business.
Now that a customer has found you after their search they’re going to visit your business profile or website, right? That’s the goal but it’s important to look closer to find out why they are looking for you in the first place.
Why They Visit
Every day customers are doing business with a company and then losing their contact information, want to know more, or aren’t sure if the company is to be trusted. Have you ever done business with a company and lost their information but still remember their name?Reasons for customers looking for you online are as varied as much as the customer. Click To Tweet
We’ll start there with why a customer visits your profile or website.
Find You Again
If you’ve lost contact information for a company then you’re not alone. Making it easy for a customer to find your business again and contact you is important because customer will lose your contact information. I can’t count the number of time I’ve had to hunt down a company I’ve done business with in the past
Anywhere you’ve determined your ideal customer is going to look for you, you’ll want to have a complete profile and make it easy to contact you. Not only that but your website needs to have clear and easy to find contact information.
Learn About You
Customers want to know who they’re doing business with before handing over their money. They need to trust you and know exactly what your business does and how well you do it.
A lot of platforms like Facebook and Yelp give you many places to tell about your business. Make sure you take advantage of that space and tell about your business as much as you can. The more you write the more customers can learn about you. You’ll also get the added benefit of better search optimization the more information you provide.
Customers want to know they’re doing business with a reputable company who does what they say and will do a good job. Many platforms allow customers to rate your business and leave reviews. Embrace these platforms and the reviews. For good or bad, the reviews will always prove more helpful than not and you can always reply and resolve bad reviews diplomatically.Embrace customer reviews of your business, it's the only way to prove and improve. Click To Tweet
Not only are customers interested in reviews, they may also be interested in seeing your past work or accomplishments. They could be looking for a portfolio, white-paper, or just testimonials. All three of these can be shown on a website easily, especially testimonials.
To be sure you have what people are looking for, make sure you have provided legitimacy of your business online.
Everyone has their own goal when looking for a business online. When you’re a business trying to be found online, the best idea is to stay transparent. Make everything about your business known to visitors on all the platforms you’re on.
Transparency of your business online also means opening the lines of communication between yourself, your customers, and between your customers. If your business isn’t online or your online presence isn’t vast enough, customers either won’t find you and they’ll move on, or you won’t gain their trust.