More than ever before, the current lockdown of several countries, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, clearly endorses how quintessential it is for any business to have an online presence (not that it was any less important earlier). Whatever the line of business, having a website or an online directory listing, LinkedIn page, an e-commerce platform or any other social media presence (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) is going to showcase your business to several different audiences.
Your business will certainly gain from such online presence – either by way of generating brand awareness or better still by increasing sales. Not just online businesses but companies who are into manufacturing and services (other than digital) equally need an online presence.
Swapnil Devre, a digital marketing consultant, shares the benefits of an online presence.
- Get Discovered by Potential Customers Swapnil Devre asks “How would you hunt for a car repair shop, salon, or pharmacy today? But obviously with your laptop or mobile phone, through the internet!” Considering that 8 out of 10 customers hop on to the internet to scout for anything and everything, it makes business sense to have your business online versus not having an online presence at all.
The biggest advantage of having an online presence is customers can hunt for your specific product by name, get requisite information, and even reach out to you easily. Let’s just say that a personal secretary has been asked to arrange for some stationery items by her boss and as far as her knowledge goes, there's no stationery shop nearby.
What do you think she’ll do? She’ll Google search ‘stationery shops near me’ and the names of shops that turn up on the first one or two pages are the most likely ones to receive her call. Now, if one of these was your stationery shop, you could have gotten that order – plus, a new customer!
- Showcase/Spell out your Products/Service well
‘Seeing is believing’ they say, and rightly so. A good business establishes an online presence and ensures that their potential customers and existing patrons can easily view their products on their website or social media pages so that they have a fair idea of what to expect.
Just imagine without the internet and the multitude of online platforms available today, it would be so challenging to showcase your products and services to prospects.
So, ensure that you display your products well – whether it is about a recent event you conducted, or a hairstyle that you gave a customer, or probably designer apparel, or a kindergarten centre, ensures you have good resolution and attractive images so that they influence your online visitors to try out your products.
- Reach out to prospects and potential Customers
With social media, you get plenty of leverage. Besides showcasing your products/services, you can also keep avenues open where customers can ask you queries, give their opinion, and leave feedback for you.
Social media and digital presence breathe life into any brand giving it a human touch, where prospects and customers can interact and feel confident about their decision to buy. Imagine when you post new product launches with a discount on your website or social platforms, you are sure to get customers inquiries and even deals eventually.
Customer inquiries (contact forms) and feedback (customer reviews and ratings) are two very important digital avenues that can sustain and grow your business exponentially. On the other hand, if you weren’t present online, then your launches or any other updates would get restricted to an existing database of customers and people who already know your brand.
- Cost-effectively promote your Business and Brand
With a digital reach, your potential to promote your products is far more cost-effective and less time-consuming than traditional methods of marketing and promotions. Imagine you are a food products company launching a new line of organic juices amongst existing products.
Rather than printing thousands of flyers which can get distributed in close by neighborhoods and even publishing paper ads (which will cost you a bomb) or even eye-catching hoardings, attractive digital pictures with catchy tag lines, and benefits of each type of juice is probably not only cost-effective but has the power to reach millions overnight, all thanks to digital outreach.
Roll out an offer for existing customers and new ones too and watch how your customers will be a part of your product launch journey, using the ‘Share’ feature digital media facilitates.
Swapnil Devre is confident when he consults businesses about bringing their presence online that this is a multi-fold and dynamically promising avenue for any business to create awareness in new markets and to keep growing. Whether a new business or not, you need to ensure you are searchable online because of the potential of creating brand awareness, prospect engagement, and new acquisitions. As Swapnil Devre rightly quips “As a part of your strategic business investments, establishing an online presence is most crucial. You just can’t do without it."
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