Most local businesses underestimate the importance of building and maintaining an active online presence. According to recent studies, more than 80 percent of online searchers are likely to visit the store. Therefore, if your local business lacks a compelling online presence, you risk losing business to competitors located in the same area. When trying to attract new customers, it is important to create an active online presence and control the way your customers perceive your brand.
Think about it: Why do we have so many online directories that are focused on helping users find local small businesses? This is because an active online presence means a lot to the long-term success of local businesses.
If you are a local business owner, here are some of the biggest reasons why an active online presence is so important for you:
- Greater visibility: With the majority of customers using search engines to find local businesses, getting listed in local online directories is essential for the growth of your business. Getting your business listed in an online directory helps you expand your customer base and obtain leads. However, you must implement a process to audit your business listings across all online directories to ensure consistency and accuracy. This is because if a potential customer gets the wrong address from an online local business listing, they will waste time trying to find you, and such negative experiences are likely to damage your brand image.
- Makes you accessible: Your business website will showcase your products and services to your potential customers all day long. With a few clicks, your customers will see what your business is all about. If you have a retail business, having an online store will allow your customers to buy instantly.
- Fosters customer relationships: Social media is all about building and maintaining relationships. Social media will give your brand an identity – it makes your business more significant. Customers will be able to relate to your business on a more personal level. Social media is one of the most simple and efficient ways to get people interested in your business and to form long-term relationships.
- Enhances customer service: If you have a strong online presence, you will see customers coming to your business website and social media profiles with their requirements. This may give you a great opportunity to provide excellent customer service and inspire more customers to connect with you. Responding to their questions will result in increased customer satisfaction and encourage them to convert from regular customers to brand ambassadors. They may even spread the good word and tell their friends and family about your brand.
- Improves brand image: Building an online presence will not give a customer access to your business and products, but will also provide a way for the customer to know more about your organization. Online reviews, social media updates and sharing information with other customers will help form a positive image of your business in the minds of potential customers. The more positive the perception, the more likely your customers will buy from you. A strong online presence will allow you to gain credibility, which will help you to attract more customers.