The first place potential customers will learn about your business is most likely from your social media profiles or website. What they see there will either engage them and make them want to learn more or turn them away. If your online presence is weak, you're putting your company at a huge disadvantage and missing out on business opportunities. Here are a few stats that show why it's critical to invest in your online presence:
- 72% of adult internet users use Facebook. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
- 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. (Retailing Today, 2014)
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of online content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
- 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
- Learn more: The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics
You might also be interested in reading this article: Example of How Your Online Presence Directly Impacts Sales.
Online Presence Defined
Your business's online presence is analogous to a physical building or store. It's the way it looks and makes people feel when they get there (think of walking into a clean, well-organized store vs. a cluttered, dirty mess). But it's more than just the look of it - it's what's inside.
The focus should be customer-centric: giving prospective customers the information they want vs. the information you want to give. We all love talking about our company, products, and services, but prospects could care less about that. They want to know how we can solve their problems and make their life easier or better.
The best online presence is an experience focused on superior customer service. Prospects can quickly find their way around to the information they're looking for and easily understand what you do and the value of your offering. It encompasses your social profiles, social posts, website, web navigation, web copy, blogs, emails and all the information you provide online.
Signs of a Weak Online Presence
Simply speaking, a dated, poorly designed and uninformative website, non-mobile responsive technology, no blog or a boring blog, and company-centric social media posts weaken your company.
But sometimes, people building the online presence are too close: they can't see the forest through the trees. Or, they don't have the right mind set or expertise. Doing user studies or getting feedback from an impartial outside resource is critical to making sure you're providing the information and level of service your prospects expect online.
Time is of the Essence
Developing a strong online presence is a big change from the way many companies normally approach business growth, and it doesn't happen overnight. It takes innovative thinking, constant analysis to understand what users want, and time for people (and search engines!) to get to know and trust you. The longer you wait, the longer it will take before you start seeing results. So that means it's time to get busy - now.
Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson