In today’s technology-driven world, having an online presence is critical to establishing visibility for your business. In fact, Google reports that a whopping “97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online.” Here, we are offering insight into the tools you’ll need to create an awesome online presence for your business.
Whether yours is an online or brick-and-mortar establishment, the very simple truth is this–a website offers your businesses an extra layer of credibility in the minds of consumers. Most domain names can be obtained for less than the cost of lunch via sites like GoDaddy or HostGator and can be used to direct customers to social media sites or company blogs. Beyond that, your website is the perfect avenue for both building your brand and educating consumers about your product or service. Increasingly more consumers access company websites on their smartphones, so be sure yours is mobile-optimized.
With 72 percent of all internet users on social media today, any business desiring to build a relationship with customers must be there. Facebook is still the biggest player on the field with 1.5 billion users, but Google+ is not far behind with 1 billion and Twitter is steadily increasing its numbers of 550 million registrations. Still, you’ll have to determine which platform works best for your company, and then commit to updating regularly. And before you say it’s too time-consuming, enlist the help of social media management sites like HootSuite which can be used to schedule future posts on five or fewer social media sites for free.
Creating relevant and engaging content for your consumers is a great way to establish relationships, and blogs have become wildly popular because of it. There are a number of platforms available, with WordPress being the leader in this space. With WordPress, there is both the free, company-hosted site as well as a self-hosting site which many businesses utilize as a platform for their website. Other top sites in this space include Google-owned Blogger and Yahoo!-acquired Tumblr.
Local Advertising Sites
According to a Dimensional Research study, “90 percent of [survey] respondents claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions.” That’s proof-positive that your brick-and-mortar company (or local service business) needs a presence on local advertising review sites like Yelp or Google Places. According to a study by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Luca, positive reviews on these local advertising sites leads to a five to nine percent bump in revenues.
A final thought: Spend a little time planning your strategy and finding the right platforms for your business. In this relationship-driven marketplace, it will be time well-spent.