Why your small business needs an online presence

Being well represented online is necessary to grow your small business and customer base.

photo by pexels.com
written by Aleksandar Debeljak
    

When searching for your company, does your website show up in the top spot? When searching for your industry in your city, does your company name show up on the first page? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, then take a coffee break to read this post. Being online in today’s social climate is extremely important for your business but you also need to understand your customer and how they spend their time online. Did you know that 71% of purchase decisions start with research being conducted on a search engine? [Source: ConversionXL]

People today have constant access to the internet through their smartphones and it in turn affects how they consume a product. Today’s customers do not make their purchasing decisions in the store, they decide online! An example of this is that 70% of car buyers search online before they decide to buy a car offline. Since 90% use the internet daily and 77% say they use a search engine as their source, it is no wonder that more companies want to appear online. In Sweden we use the internet on average 21 hours a week, so it is essential that you think about how people see your company on the web. Because online is were your first interaction with the majority of your new customers is going to occur. [Source: Orvesto, 2015]

For your business to be seen and to give customers a positive image of your company online, it is important that you know how the various digital channels work. Another example is if you have started a hairdressing salon. Your hairdressing salon has a website where your macro goal is to increase the number of online bookings. To make this happen, it is important to know how to use the appropriate digital channels, it starts by knowing how to sell, inspire and inform:

  • Sell means that your presence on the channels of your website or webshop, advertisement, and search engines show that you are a credible source.
  • Inspire utilizes social media such as Facebook and Instagram to keep your customers staying engaged with your business.
  • Inform is giving tailored information to your customers through blogs or newsletters.

Through these channels you want to get more customers, increase the number of online bookings and inspire customers to get a haircut or buy a product, for example through pre- and post pictures. To achieve these goals, it is important that you analyze your market, have clear goals, create a strategy to achieve your goals and ultimately find a budget that suits you.

To easier understand your market, it is important to understand the customer’s perspective:

  • Know your target audience.
  • Understand their challenges.
  • Understand their language.
  • Show your characteristics.
  • Create trust.

As I mentioned before customers judge businesses according to their website. Therefore, it is very important to have a website that meets your customers’ expectations. If we take the hairdressing salon as an example again, it is important to:

  • Use a clear picture that describes your business.
  • Have clear text and keep it short and sweet.
  • Provide relevant content updates on the website.
  • Be friendly and answer the customer’s questions and concerns in a timely manner.

It is also important that your customers feel safe on your website. So make sure your website is “humane”, and it shows who you are and what you are great at.

Lastly, if you want to make it easier for customers to find your business and communicate with you, Google My Business is a solid tool to utilize. It is a free tool that allows you to appear on the world’s largest search engine.

To understand the customer and their needs is an important step to succeed in the digital world. Your website is the most important channel to show your credibility and have you stand out from your competition. Knowing how to sell, inspire and inform your market is fundamental to your business success. If you want to know more about how the digital market works or have questions about the topic, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment.

This blog is my summary of my first lesson in the Digitalakademin’s class about how the digital marketing looks like today.

About Aleksandar Debeljak

Aleksandar Debeljak is the Head of Content at DLE Solutions who helps clients align marketing communications with business goals. He enjoys crafting content that delivers meaningful experiences to connect consumers and brands. Follow him on Twitter at @aleksdebeljak.