Each day, our lives move more and more online. The ‘new normals’ brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed us even further into online spheres as we struggle to remain connected with each other beyond physical spaces. Indeed, Google analytics show that 97% of consumers turn to the web to search for local businesses. In addition, nowadays, ‘web browsing’ on a personal computer has become old news. Most people conduct searches on their smartphones – the amount of growth in smartphone traffic on the mobile web in the past few years is astounding – in 2008, it constituted 22% of total traffic, whereas in 2017 it rose to nearly 50%. Nearly 70% of Amazon’s customers purchased items from a mobile device.
In 2021, it is absolutely essential that your business has a functioning, intuitive, and well-designed website. If you don’t have a strong online presence, your business could be missing out on hundreds of potential conversions. Here are some reasons why you should establish an online presence for your business today:
At This Point, It’s Expected.
In this day and age, if your business does not have an online presence, it will put you in a severely disadvantaged position in comparison to your competitors. In order to stay competitive in our digital age, the Internet is the main source of information for potential customers, and your business runs the risk of never becoming discovered if you rely on pure word of mouth and traditional reference methods. From consumers looking for new dog sitters, to the perfect new pair of shoes, to dry cleaners in their area, consumers nowadays conduct google searches when searching for new products and services. Without an online presence, you could entirely miss this potential source of new customers!
24 Hour Availability
The Internet allows for you to offer 24 hour availability to your customers and showcase your brand all day and all night, in comparison to more traditional brick-and-mortar store hours. This will ensure that you do not have any mixed conversions due to time constraints, like store hours. If you are a retail provider, customers will be able to make purchases at any time of the day, be it 10 in the morning or 2am in the night. If you provide services, a website will allow potential customers to make appointments at any hour of the day, instead of waiting for your operating hours to open again to set up an appointment over the phone.
There is probably no better sphere to conduct simple and effective marketing than the wide-reaching, free forum of the Internet. You can utilize various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more to communicate with your audience and expand your consumer base through advertisements. Most importantly, a website is your most important tool in your marketing toolkit. An online presence makes it easier for you to market your services and / or products. A very well-designed website can be very persuasive in converting clicks to purchases!
Increasing your online presence increases your accessibility to untapped markets. The Internet provides increased opportunity for you to reach a pool of potential customers who may have not simply walked into your brick-and-mortar store, or heard about your services through family or friends. Increased accessibility = increased conversions!
The Internet and a strong online presence allows for a means for you to engage directly with your customer base. Social media has made communicating even easier on digital spaces. Through social media, you can answer questions customers may have directly through Instagram stories, Facebook live streams, or by optimizing your Google My Business. Establishing a social media presence will cultivate a stronger bond between you and your consumers, making them feel special and connected to you through the very personal avenue of social media communication.
Easily Update Information
You can update information about your business – for example, store hours, holidays, new deals, etc. easily on your website. Dedicate a portion of your site to important updates and announcements to keep your customers up to date on recent events surrounding your business. Your information should be fresh and constantly updated in order to keep your customers engaged and aware of changing information.
Communicating Brand Image
Cultivating your online presence means that you can establish a strong brand image and allows you to gain the credibility needed in order to attract new customers and maintain your already established customer base. Your online image is also a great opportunity to consider how you want to market yourself. Do you want to communicate an elegant, poised corporate image? Something more fun and expressive? Something in between? You are able to accomplish that with the aesthetic and copy you integrate into your website. It’s incredibly important that your website accurately reflects your brand and is professional and well-designed. Nowadays, as the volume of internet usage increases, the expectation of quality for websites does too!
Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash