The Internet Age is upon us. In this era of convenience technology, consumers are turning to their digital devices to find out everything they need to know about local businesses. Every successful business needs a smart website, social media presence, and an online reputation. In the current market landscape, neglecting your online presence is a big mistake.
For most people, the internet functions as a gateway to your business. Over 90% of consumers use the internet when researching local products and services. Though the internet may not be the only avenue used to gather information about your business, it is the most convenient and widely-used channel. Nearly all smart-phone users have used their devices to look for local information. Your internet presence should be tacit; you should only be asking yourself how you can distinguish your business from the other options that local searches will provide.
Effective internet marketing is essential, but also cost-effective. Consider that phone book advertising can cost business owners thousands of dollars each month, and yet over 50% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books when conducting their research.
The value of internet and local search options is only increasing. In 2014, 140-billion local searches will occur on desktop and mobile devices. As the years go by, these searches will overtake all other forms of business research.
Existing customers also rely on your website. Managing your online presence is not only a long-term adaptation strategy. The number 1 reason for conducting an online search is to find the location of a known business, which means that even existing client bases depend on your business’s online presence.
Your online presence boosts your business’s credibility. Over one-third of survey respondents claimed that a clean and smart-looking website was a significant factor when gauging the credibility of a business. Furthermore, over 30% of consumers said they were more likely to contact a business if they had a website. You can also boost your website’s credibility by being mindful of your online reputation. 9 out of 10 consumers consult online reviews before they purchase local services. The growing importance of online reviews accurately reflects the favorable social shift towards internet technologies. Most consumers now trust the credibility of online reviews at the same level that they value personal recommendations.
Websites are crucial, but even the most compelling content and innovative layout is useless if you can’t quickly get eyes on it. Your website must be prominent, and highly visible. Over 90% of searchers will not go beyond the first page of search results. Consumers seems to attach a value judgment to search result prominence and ordering, especially as public expectations for Google’s smart search engines continue to rise. In this fast-paced world, contemporary consumers are making quick business decisions, with nearly two-thirds of mobile users visiting the business on the same day that they located its local information online.
Your business’s social media identity is a vital piece of your overall online presence. Social media’s popularity is a powerful resource to tap into to increase your business’s visibility. Over 70% of your business competitors are using social media to promote their businesses, engaging these enormous (and expanding) markets. Social media offers you a chance for indirect product placement, while also boosting your credibility and making your business information more accessible. 7/10 consumers indicated that they were more likely to use a local business that has information available on social media.
A successful business requires a professional online identity. Investing in your website, social media presence, and local search options is a cost-effective way to engage new and old customers, boost your credibility, and allow you to remain relevant by adapting to an increasingly digital market.