If you have a small business, the benefits to be gained from being online go far beyond being listed as a result of a Web search.
Do you know that 91 percent of consumers look online for local goods and services?1 And 56 percent do not trust a business without a website?2
As a small business owner in today’s Web-reliant world, creating an “online presence” is essential to the overall success of your company. And this holds true even if you’re operating a brick and mortar business. Surprised? Recent studies show that online research is critical for driving traffic to physical stores – a predicted $1.409 trillion dollars in sales for 2014.3 And this figure doesn’t even include direct e-commerce sales!
Whether your company offers products and services in the traditional manner or not, one point stands evidently clear - not having an online presence can prove disadvantageous to a small business’ overall brand, reputation and revenue. Statistics show that businesses that actively engage customers online can expect to grow 40 percent faster than if they did not.4
There are five major benefits of establishing an online presence:
If your company has an e-commerce website, your business is essentially open 24 hours a day, allowing existing and prospective customers to shop and make purchases any time of day.
Recent surveys reveal that consumers and small business owners believe a website makes a company more credible. Additionally, online reviews on popular review sites and blogs lead to brand reinforcement, which promotes your firm as a trusted professional player.
With the Internet, you instantly widen your marketplace with an infinite number of consumers. And you’re able to do so in a more cost-effective manner than traditional means.
You don’t need to make phone calls, mail out a formal letter or print a glossy brochure to update the world about your company’s latest product release. You can tell your audience about new offers and relevant company news immediately when you’re online.
Getting answers to questions and quick resolutions to issues are paramount to a client’s experience with a company. For example, consumers can easily access pertinent information about your business, retrieve answers from FAQ, or email/contact customer service at any time. Being online allows you to effectively keep in touch with existing customers, which leads to higher client retention.
And contrary to what you may believe, creating an online presence is actually simpler than you may realize. There are several different options that your company can utilize at any time, like branding your company email, redirecting to a social media page, or developing a website. Certainly, this flexibility is of great benefit since it allows you to build your business’ online presence at your own pace.
You can get started building your online presence immediately…read our article Options to Creating an Online Presence.
1 2013 Verisign small business survey
2 TechCrunch. With Over 15M Sites Built, Weebly Launches New Planner And Mobile Editor, Brings Website Creation Service To Android, (May 3, 2013).
3 Forrester Research, U.S. Online Retail Forecast, 2009 To 2014, (Nov. 2010)
4 2012 BCG Study