Online Presence – What’s in it for you?
Let’s get to it. If you read my last post, No More Excuses – Why You Can’t Afford Not to Use Social Media – you found out that your customers are online, and if a few of them aren’t yet, they will be. So let’s layout what you get out of being online.
Having an online “store front” (online presence) legitimizes your business. More than 85% of customers use the internet to find local businesses, so if you are thinking – I’m local, so this doesn’t apply to me – WRONG!
Add to this that your business is likely already online. What? What can I possibly mean by that? Have you done a search on your business lately? Go do it. I’ll wait…. Done?
Did your business come up on Facebook? Yelp? If not, you’re in luck, because it will, and you can control how your business is presented. If it did, you’re not out of luck, but we have some work to do, because guess what?
You aren’t in control of how your business is being presented. That’s the equivalent of leaving your door unlocked when you go home at night!
You aren’t in control of how your business is being presented.
Being online in the right place allows you to specifically target potential customers. Unlike a newspaper that goes to anyone that subscribes, or a mailing that goes to everyone in a particular area, marketing online gets you in front of YOUR customers and done correctly can get you in front of your customers’ friends, and their friends, and so on, and so on… remember that commercial?
With social media marketing that can happen in a matter of hours or even minutes, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing! Try doing a mailing for free…it won’t happen.
As I just pointed out, marketing online can be inexpensive, even free. Unlike traditional marketing where you most always have to pay or trade services or products, online marketing can be free and can grow based on your budget.
Paying for online marketing is not required to effectively market your company online.
There are certainly opportunities to pay for marketing, and as you identify where your customers hang out, you might decide that’s a valid use of your marketing budget. You can certainly get in front of a very specific audience this way. Much more target than traditional marketing, and therefore much more of a return per dollar spent. However, it’s very important to know, paying for online marketing is not required to effectively market your company online.
This is one of the things that I personally enjoy most about online marketing. Online marketing gives you the opportunity to create relationships, and as a small business you likely have already discovered relationships leads to trust with leads to loyalty. A loyal customer is not only a repeat customer, but is one of your strongest referral sources!
A loyal customer is not only a repeat customer, but is one of your strongest referral sources!
While creating online relationships is slightly different than real life relationships, it boils down to the same thing. Customers want to feel like you care about their individual needs and that you have their best interests at heart.
Finally, an online presence expands your audience, which translates into – expands your potential customers. Whether you are local or global, unless your target market consists of 100 people living on an island, you want to expand your audience (customers!).
Being online allows you to get in front of those who don’t drive by your storefront, don’t find you in the yellow pages (do those even still exist?), or don’t hear about you from their neighbor. Being online limits your customer reach only as much as you decide you want it to, otherwise, it’s limitless.
Recap of What You Get from Having an Online Presence
An online presence gives your business:
- Target Marketing
- Inexpensive Marketing
- Customer Loyalty
- Expanded Customer Base
Are you already online? If so, what advantages have you found from being online? Has anything surprised you? If you’re not online, what’s stopping you? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.
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