“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” – Bill Gates
Does your organization have a website? More importantly does your business have an effective website? What about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the other social media programs du jour?
Your online presence is your opportunity to make a good first impression. If you are in the business to business world, one study found that 94% of business buyers do some form of online search before contacting a business.* When it comes to individual consumers – they visit 10.4 online sources before making a purchase!*
While an online presence is important for securing a good first impression, it also plays a fundamental role in supporting your entire marketing program. An online presence provides your potential customer the ability to find out more about your product and services. Make it easy for your prospects to find out who you are and what you can do for them.
Whether you hand a potential customer a business card or conduct a billboard campaign in your market, it is vital to include information on how that potential customer can find out more.
In many instances, if your business cannot be found from a simple Google search; you simply do not exist. You can’t compete if you don’t show up for the game. Make sure your online strategy allows you to compete.
Did Steve have an online presence? Not really. Steve’s 15 year-old nephew, Roy, built Steve’s website for a high-school project. Roy is now 20 and is studying to be a doctor. The website has not been updated for 5 years. Steve doesn’t really care for computers and hasn’t visited his website since Roy showed it to him 5 years ago. Furthermore, Steve’s Auto Repair cannot be found on a Google search, but Steve’s competitors show up consistently. When Steve’s potential customers finally do stumble across his website, they are not impressed. Steve does not get a chance to make a second impression with these potential clients.
What’s the best online strategy for your business? Unfortunately, that is not a one-size fits all answer. Here are some basics:
- Get a website. Unless you are a seasoned pro at website design, hire a professional. Hiring a pro to build your website doesn’t have to be expensive. Get a few quotes from different companies. Keep in mind – the cheapest quote isn’t necessarily the lowest quality – and the highest quote isn’t necessarily the best quality.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization). When someone searches for your business on Google or any other search engine, your name should appear on the first page of results. Ideally it will be #1 on the search results. This is the other key element to a website. It’s one thing to have a website, but if no one can find your website – what is the point? The company that builds your website should know a lot about SEO. If they don’t, find another company to build your website.
- Social Media. Whether you love it or hate it, you need to do it. Don’t know much about Social Media? There are many companies that will manage your social media for you. Many of these companies just charge a small monthly fee.
There is a lot more that can be said on this topic. This guidebook is meant to give you the fundamentals. If you just implement the 3 steps above, you will already be head and shoulders above your competition.