Right now, as we navigate COVID-19 with many consumers sheltering in place or quarantining, your business’s web presence is more important than ever. But what exactly makes up your business’s web presence? Here’s a hint: It’s a lot more than just your website.
What Makes Up Your Web Presence?
Your business’s web presence is anything and everything about your business that lives online. This can be things that you create, like your website or social media profiles, or it can be things that others say about you, like user-generated content on social media or reviews on local listings sites.
No matter what type of content it is or who created it, it’s important that you have a handle on the full scope of your business’s web presence, especially now when people are spending more time online. When you take the reins on how your business is presented online, you have the ability to influence consumer behavior positively.
Let’s take a closer look at your business’s web presence, why it matters, and how to create one that works for you.
Why Do You Need a Web Presence?
Even without the stats to back it up, you can probably envision all on your own why it’s so important to have a web presence these days. Think about the last product or service you considered buying. What’s the first thing you did when looking for a solution to your problem?
Maybe you went onto Google and typed in a query, asking where you could find the item you need at a store nearby. Perhaps you turned to Facebook to ask friends for recommendations of their favorite local service provider. Or you might have visited Yelp to read through reviews from strangers.
No matter what approach you took, it’s likely that at least some of your research happened online. And the numbers bear that out. In fact, 88% of today’s consumers do research online before making a purchase, either online or in-person. And that percentage may even be higher right now when fewer people are able to make in-person purchases.
If your business doesn’t have a sizable footprint online, allowing you to appear on platforms where consumers may be searching, you’re missing out on the opportunity to capture consumer attention, build trust, and ultimately make the sale.
Your Web Presence Serves You Throughout the Customer Journey
A great business web presence isn’t just about getting discovered. It’s about making sure you’re present for consumers throughout their customer journey.
Different facets of your web presence can help you achieve different marketing goals. Your website, for example, is the heart of your web presence. It’s the place where you should have information that suits consumers across the customer journey “ from basic information on your homepage for those who are just discovering you, to content that builds trust and authority, to a seamless way for people to contact your sales team or make a purchase online when they’re ready.
Online advertising, like paid search and social ads, allow you to reach a new audience and stay top-of-mind with those who are already familiar with your brand. Through the use of targeted audiences, you can direct your advertising spend at new consumers who are most similar to your existing customers as a way to reach a demographic that’s most likely to be interested in your products or services. Similarly, you can choose to target existing customers with specific messaging that invites them back, encourages them to complete their purchase, or otherwise keeps you top-of-mind as they contemplate their purchase decision.
Social media pages are a great place to build relationships with your customers. By engaging with followers, responding to comments, and sharing user-generated content, you build a community around your brand. These one-on-one relationships keep people coming back to you, rather than drifting to your competition.
Finally, online reviews empower you to generate social proof. When you encourage happy customers to post reviews and respond appropriately to any negative comments that may come your way, you prove to onlookers that you’re a brand that cares about your customers and does the work to make things right.
How to Create an Effective Web Presence
The process of creating a complete web presence for your business might feel daunting. Establishing a presence on multiple platforms can feel like a lot of work, and in truth, it’s not something you can accomplish overnight.
But if you set out clear goals to develop your web presence, it’s possible to do so in a systematic way. Once you begin ticking things off your to-do list, you’ll feel a lot better about the progress you’re making!
A strong web presence starts with a well-designed, mobile-friendly site. Of course you want to have helpful content, snazzy visuals, and compelling storytelling, but you also need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Google and other search engines consider mobile-friendliness a major factor when determining how to show sites, and if your site is clunky on mobile devices, you’ll lose out on SEO.
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’re present where your audience hangs out online. Target the social media platforms that make the most sense for you.
For example, a B2B brand should definitely be on LinkedIn, whereas an Instagram presence might not be as vital. Once you’re there, build out a profile with consistent branding, so people can clearly make the connection between your profile page and your brand’s larger online footprint.
Establish a presence on local listings sites. Just about every business should be on the big ones “ like Yelp and Google My Business “ but depending on your field or industry, there might be additional directories specific to your niche that you should consider. Many consumers beeline right to local listings sites to find local solutions, bypassing search or social media, so it’s important you’re present on these platforms.
Finally, make sure you’re creating shareable content. This content can help you bridge the gap between the various facets of your online presence. For example, you post a video on your YouTube channel, embed it on your website, and share it across your social channels. This encourages consumers to move across the various sides of your online presence to learn even more about you.
Any local business hoping to continue operating in today’s climate must establish a strong web presence, which goes beyond your website. A strong web presence includes things like reviews, user-generated social content, and paid advertising. At LOCALiQ, we’re here to help you through this challenging time and establish a robust web presence to help your business not just survive but thrive. Reach out today to learn more.