When it comes to business, online presence is absolutely crucial. Even if you’re a local business that sells from a physical store and don’t sell online at all, you still need that online presence as people will still be searching for businesses like yours (and your information!)
With no online presence, you’re simply handing customers over to your competitors. If you sell online then it goes without saying that you need to be present and giving a good impression about your business to customers and potential customers. If you’re a new company looking for ways to improve your online presence, or you’re already established but looking to boost business – here are a few ideas for how you can go about it.
Invest in your website
Your site is your company’s main ‘base’ with all of your other links and information coming from this one page. Essentially it’s an online representation of your business, and with it being the first thing customers and clients will see in many cases, it needs to make a good impression.
A good website means you’re much more likely to be discovered by customers, your information is accessible all hours of the day and it’s generally much more convenient for anyone who is interested in your services. Research has shown time and time again that a well-built website generates more sales and better customer traffic, and can all help to make a business more successful.
Use a web design company who will be able to create something just for your business, making you look professional while standing out from your competitors. While lots of web hosting sites offer a DIY builder, if you try this yourself and your is likely to amateur and you could be putting people off before they’re even properly looked. It should be visually pleasing and not cluttered with ads which can look spammy. It should have beautiful graphics designed and a company logo. It’s something to leave to the professionals for the best finish.
Have a smartphone app created
A smartphone app is an fantastic way that you as a small or medium-sized business can get ahead of your opposition. When a customer downloads your app, it gives you the opportunity to have all of your information, products and contact information at the touch of a button. It makes you appear like a dependable and trustworthy company, and this is beneficial if you are new to business.
One of the things an app will do for your company is increasing brand awareness. This is very important, especially for a newer business as customers can be wary of shopping from places that they don’t know. People trust brands which is why they spend more on them, they know they’re not just buying a product but a promise of good quality from the business. As well as a smartphone app helping to boost your brand, it also shows you’re not a fraudulent company, since scams aren’t going to go to go through the hassle and cost of creating, paying for and verifying an app.
Right now, you have a chance to get ahead by having a smartphone app created, it will set you apart from your competitors. At present, it’s still something many smaller businesses are yet to get on board with. In future, apps will be just as integral to businesses as websites are today, so in the mean time you have the chance to get ahead and get established with your app.
Be active on social media
If there’s one thing that’s really shaped and moulded the world as well as the business world in the last decade or so, it’s social media. As well as social media sites being a great place to stay in contact with loved ones, it also provides awesome opportunities for businesses.
Since social media is so widely used it makes it easy to reach your customers and potential customers. A good following, quick response rates and well run business social pages can give potential customers confidence when it comes to ordering from you. They can see that you’re a professional business who deals with things well and aren’t just a scam site who will take their money and disappear.
It also allows you to communicate marketing materials, deals, discounts and much more without it costing you a penny. From a completely practical point of view, social media marketing has higher conversion rates than most other kinds of marketing which is useful to know, especially when social media accounts are free to set up.
Use a professional marketing company
You could have the best business idea in the world, but without being marketed and promoted correctly, you will never get your name out there to your clients and customers and therefore won’t make sales.
There are lots of ways you can advertise these days, from affiliate marketing and Adsense to banner ads and guest posts from bloggers amongst other things. A surprisingly large part of your budget as a business will need to go on promoting your business and getting it out there, so don’t underestimate this. Especially if this is your first business venture, you will need to know what you need to spend and make sure your finances allow for for it.
The thing with marketing is it can be tricky if you’re not knowledgeable about it, Google changes their rules and regulations all the time which can render some marketing methods obsolete, or even damage your reputation. For this reason, hiring a professional marketing agency who knows what they’re doing is a good use of your budget.
Write a business blog
Blogging is something that can do wonders for your business, and is something you should definitely consider getting on board with if you haven’t not already. There are so many ways it can help to both build your reputation as well as help you gain a loyal following and can also be used as a promotional tool. This is because blog posts encourage social shares, which is essentially free advertising.
Every piece of content you produce and put out there gives another way for your blog to be found in organic search. Because websites are generally quite static, they don’t attract too much attention from search engines crawlers. When you publish regular blog posts this also gives your site more indexed pages to be crawled which in turn can boost your rank in search engines. The closer your business ranks to the top of searches, the more sales and profits you’re likely to make – in fact, the top hit on Google actually accounts for thirty-three percent of all clicks. This means it’s really not something you can afford to overlook, as the lower down in listings you get (and especially after page two) those clicks drop off to nothing.
It’s fantastic for your business’s online presence, as well as helping to grow your audience, getting more organic traffic and showing your customers you’re a legitimate business. You could write the content yourself or work this into one of your staff members jobs. Or you could work with a talented freelance writer there are plenty of sites online which can connect you.
Build up excellent reviews
Finally, one of the things customers will be looking into when they’re deciding whether to buy from your store is what kinds of reviews people have written. While it’s illegal to provide compensation of any kind for a positive review, you can simply ask nicely. If customers have had a good experience with you, in most cases they will be happy to write about it.
You could send a follow up email a week after their purchase, or send out a tweet or status on social media asking if people would write you a review. Facebook business pages give you the option of adding a review tab, or you could use a third party site like Reevoo or Trustpilot.
When people can see that other, real people have shopped with you and had a smooth transaction then they’re more likely to take the chance and order with you too. As a rule, people prefer to shop with larger companies and people they’ve used before in the worry that something might go wrong with a smaller company. So getting that first order from them is so important.
Another option you have to get reviews of your company out on the web would be to work with bloggers. This way you have full reviews complete with pictures and more information. You could provide a product or service to a couple of good bloggers free of charge in exchange for an honest review which will also get you backlinks on high-quality sites. Again you can’t ask for a positive review, but if the blogger reviewing has any issues you can always work to sort these out and ensure they have a pleasant transaction with your business. If you’re selling good quality items and services, the price is right and delivery is swift then most people are going to have no complaints.