Having an online presence is now more important than ever. Even before Covid-19 had brought the world to a standstill, most businesses have realised that a good online presence is essential.
The emergence of new technology as well as a general shift in the way people buy and use products and services has changed drastically. More than three billion people use smartphones today and by 2021, more than two billion people are expected to buy goods and services online. That is a staggering number!
Every problem comes with a solution. Sometimes, it takes more time to figure out the solution but it is always there waiting for someone to find it. The pandemic may have forced us to stay at our homes but one thing that has ended up saving billions of people and also small and medium businesses is the internet.
Thanks to the online services being offered by numerous companies; people all over the world have had the freedom to meet their needs from home. If you want to survive in a post Covid landscape, it is now more important than ever to be as accessible as you can on the internet.
How Can You Create an Online Presence that Yields Effective Results?
There are many different components that go into creating an effective online presence. Each one of them contributes in their own way to not only making your services more accessible but also in reaching out to the huge online user pool out there.
This isn’t just for small businesses that don’t have an online presence. Even big businesses that have an online footprint can refine and modernise their existing methods to vastly improve customer acquisition and retention.
Here are some of the most important components that any business can utilise to create a great online presence:
Today, for any business out there, having a great website is extremely important. You may ask why!
A website, much similar to a brick and mortar store, is the face of any brand or company in today’s digital world.
The first thing a person does when he/she has to buy something is to check online whether their needs will be met or not. With the help of the internet, people can research and look at reviews before they buy anything and not having a website will alienate a lot of potential customers. It would also mean losing potential business as well.
Website design isn’t just about looks. It covers every aspect, right from how the site looks, how easy it will be for customers to go through your products and services and how convenient it will be for them to leave you feedback and make their purchases.
Every great website will always have a great flow where customers can go from one section to another without any hassles. The design should be simple, easy to navigate and visually interesting to make a great impression on potential customers.
It also allows you to directly interact with your customers and keep them abreast of any potential sales, gather testimonials and so much more. A personalized experience can go a long way in ensuring that a customer stays loyal to your business.
With billions of people using smartphones, it’s also very important that the content on your website can be easily read not just on computers but also smartphones and tablets of all shapes and sizes.
SEO is what brings customers to your website in the first place. The first thing people do after they go online is to use search engines. A typical consumer will perhaps check out three to four pages on an online search engine before they decide to call it quits.
Therefore, it’s imperative that your business is there on either on the first or second page to ensure a healthy rate of customer acquisition. The higher ranked your business is on search engines, the higher the chance of attracting new customers.
This also acts as a great promotional tool too. If your website comes up high in relevant searches, the name of your business will be imbedded into the mind of the customer who may visit your website later.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is perhaps one of the most powerful tools out there on the internet. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. have a massive amount of people visiting them every day.
It is a completely different beast and reinvents itself every now and then as people find more unique ways of using these platforms. Video content consumption is soaring through the roof these days as more and more people are staying indoors.
Creating effective video content, working with influencers and creating an active presence in social media sites can greatly increase the intake of customers.
Social media marketing is not easy by any means and requires a good amount of research in terms of your brand, the products you sell and other vital bits of information. However, once it’s effectively done, it will open the floodgates as far as customer acquisition is concerned.
It also allows you to communicate directly with your customer base and get important feedback from them. You can also offer a personalised experience to your customers and engage with them in effective ways to retain and increase your brand loyalty.
Pay Per Click
One of the time tested ways to attract customers is through pay per click advertisements. It essentially leads people from other sites towards yours once they click on your ads. It might sound simple at first but it comes with heavy consequences when done in the wrong way.
SEO is great for the long term but it takes time to get results. Pay per click advertising, on the other hand, gets results much faster. While Google Adwords is well known for being one of the premier pay per click platforms, there are plenty of others too.
By having simultaneous advertising campaigns through different avenues, you can greatly increase web traffic to your website. The best aspect of this form of marketing is the information you receive back in terms of what helped in converting people to your customers.
In the long run, it can also help you build greater brand awareness and ensure that your business won’t suffer even when the market is down a little.
How Can Online Presence Help You Now and Beyond?
Whether you are a small business or a reasonably big one, having a robust online presence has no downsides. It only helps you grow and build a stronger brand. So how exactly can an online presence help you?
Better Customer Engagement
In today’s difficult times, communication between a business and its customers is of vital importance. Maintaining an active and engaging relationship with a customer can ensure that they stay loyal to the brand and inspire others to visit you for the products or services you provide.
You can do so by:
- Communicate new store policies by keeping them updated with any changes that come about. For instance, what steps has your business taken to prevent possible infection amongst your staff and how safe it is for customers to use your products and services.
- Inform them if your business will be closed for any number of days and if so, when it will be back again. The pandemic has made it quite difficult for some people to meet their needs and so every bit of information about the availability of your business must be communicated clearly and consistently.
- Let them know about any new products or services you are providing to make the customer’s life more convenient. Are you doing deliveries? What types of payment will you accept since social distancing is very important these days?
Great Customer Interaction
Very few people are visiting businesses and stores during this pandemic. So when it comes to marketing, you need to interact and communicate with them frequently. With people preferring to be inside their homes than venturing out, they are utilizing their phones, tablets and computers.
You need to make sure that you are promoting your business to them through these platforms. Start a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account to interact directly with your customers. How businesses respond in these troubling times will be remembered for decades to come because, despite so much difficulty, you can help people meet their needs.
Get Authentic Feedback
One of the benefits of having an online presence is that you can get authentic feedback directly from your customers. There is no need to rummage through data collected by third parties and get filtered data.
At any point in time, you can interact with your customers and get real feedback regarding your products or services. The advantage of digital data is that you can always collect them for future reference and build on the feedback given by customers to make your brand much stronger.
Covid-19 is having disastrous results on our world, economy and our daily lives as well but it has shown us how delicate we are. It has also highlighted the importance of having an online presence, especially in such dire times. Long after it passes, internet usage is only going to grow. Every year, millions of new people will gain access to it and become internet users.
Whether you sell products online or not, it is still vital to have an online presence. The only way to not just survive but thrive is to adapt to changing times and control your fate rather than have it control yours. With the right online marketing service, you can future proof your business and ensure that it keeps on growing no matter what obstacle comes your way.