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Why your business needs an online presence and how to build it

These days, traditional word-of-mouth referrals and marketing channels are no longer enough to allow a business to survive – much less thrive and grow. With the Internet of Things, social media hubs, changing search algorithms, and many other factors, business owners need expert help to make sure customers can find them online.


Do

Do understand the changing nature of referral marketing

Businesses without an online presence simply don’t exist in today’s marketplace. Even if you run an established business that has been thriving for many years, you need to adapt to changes in referral marketing to make sure your company continues to grow. A recent survey found that four out of five consumers use search engines to get information on businesses, products and services. The Internet is an indispensable source of information now, so not being online is no longer an option.

Do recognize the level of competition

A new generation of business owners is bringing fresh levels of competition to the marketplace. Millennials grew up on the Internet and understand the importance of online marketing. They know that a basic web presence is a necessity, but beyond that, they understand how to leverage social media and search engines to get the word out about their products and services. It’s important to recognize their skills and make sure you can compete effectively against a new generation of competitors.

Do make sure your online listings are accurate

It’s crucial to remember that search engines don’t process information the same way humans do – a discrepancy in listings such as entering the word “Street” on one business listing site and using the abbreviation “St.” on another can result in a search algorithm processing it as a listing for two separate companies. That means customers might not get a complete picture when they conduct an online search for your business.

Do effectively categorize your business

Subtle differences in business categories can make a huge difference in search engine results. For example, if you manage a pool service, you’d want to optimize your search results by using specific keywords. Potential customers might conduct a search for “non-saline pools” or “salt water pools,” depending on their specific needs. If you also do pool repair and offer other services, it’s important to list them effectively online so that the right customers find your business when they conduct a specific search.

Do get expert help so you can focus on your business

Unless you are a technophile with a lot of time on your hands, you’re probably more focused on running your company than keeping up with the latest algorithms, finding out which social media hubs are popular with specific target demographics and understanding the latest search engine protocols. That’s why it makes sense to hire a professional to ensure your online presence is driving the maximum possible traffic to your site.


Don't

Do not overlook the changes in how consumers find businesses

The Internet has evolved considerably over the last several years, and niche communities and information sharing hubs are changing the way people find the goods and services they need. According to a Nielsen report, 70 percent of consumers trust the user reviews they read online, and Edelman Trust Barometer says that 92 percent of consumers trust opinions they read on social media. You can leverage these opportunities to ensure customers continue to find you.

Do not think past success means future success

Too many business owners believe that their excellent products or services are enough to drive success since traditional word-of-mouth marketing has always worked for them in the past. But today, even if a customer refers a friend to your company, the friend will almost certainly conduct an online search to find out more about your business. That means you need an effective online profile, including a social media presence.

Do not ignore the opportunities you have to define your company online

It’s important to remember that the Internet isn’t a static place – it constantly changes as trends come and go. If you’ve paid a developer to build a great website, optimize your search engine results and set up social media accounts, that’s terrific, but you’ll need to regularly update your online marketing strategy to make it truly effective. New online resources and social media hubs gain favor and lose momentum every day, so it pays to be up to date.

Do not underestimate your competitors

Some business owners – particularly those who have enjoyed success in the past – don’t think their customer base can be poached by newcomers. But it’s a mistake to underestimate competitors. In a changing marketplace, tech-savvy newcomers can outperform established peers by anticipating new online trends and making sure their company reaches the most potential customers. Keep in mind that if new customers don’t know about your business, it’s not possible to continue to thrive and grow.

Do not try to go it alone

There’s no question that you need online visibility to find customers and keep your business going. But constantly updating and fine-tuning your online presence is time consuming. Does it make sense to handle it all yourself? Keep in mind that all of the time you spend updating your site and optimizing your search results is time you can’t spend focusing on your business and satisfying customers.


Summary
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In today’s rapidly changing marketplace, businesses that don’t establish and maintain an effective online presence are invisible. It’s essential to develop a site to showcase your products and services and expand your visibility on social media hubs, and it’s crucial to handle your online categorization and search strategies consistently so that your business gets maximum exposure. That can quickly turn into a full-time job, so your best bet is to turn it over to an expert so that you can focus on what you do best.


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Russell WallaceCEO

Russell Wallace, founder and CEO of 29 Prime, Inc., has more than 10 years’ experience directing as many as 1300 employees/contractors in companies with revenues in excess of $30 million yearly. Russell has led these companies from concept, star...

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