If you own a brick-and-mortar business, don’t be fooled into thinking that a company website is unnecessary. Anymore, it’s essential for all businesses to have an online presence regardless of what type of business it is. Your business’ digital presence can play a large part in its continued success. One of the common refrains we’ve heard from business owners is that their current customers don’t really use the internet, so there’s no need for them to have a website. And while part of that statement regarding their current customers might be true, it fails to take into account how their future customers will find them. If you’re still on the fence about creating or expanding your brick-and-mortar business’ online presence, we’ve put together a list of some of the best and most compelling reasons to get your company online.
Your Company May Already Be Online
Have you ever taken the time to search for your company on the internet? If not, there’s always the possibility that there are already listings or other accounts set up for it. That’s not to say that someone else has hijacked your business name and/or reputation. But many people will take it upon themselves to go online to add local businesses to maps or review sites so they can share their opinions.
As such, it’s important that you have a good handle on your online reputation. (This is especially true if your business has received any negative reviews.) Search for your business online and take note of which, if any, online listings/directory sites include your company. Some of the more popular sites include Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, and Facebook and all of these have processes in place that make it easy for you to claim your business listing.
Claiming your listing on these sites will help you to manage your online reputation and ensure that you can quickly and easily address any unflattering reviews before permanent damage is done. In addition, the better able you are to take advantage of these types of sites, the easier it will be for potential customers to find you.
Increased Credibility and Trustworthiness
Anymore, the fact of the matter is that customers trust businesses with websites more than those without websites. Most likely, you’ve experienced this preference yourself. After all, what’s more appealing: A restaurant with a well-designed website, social media accounts, and hundreds of positive online reviews or a restaurant that has no website but an unclaimed Yelp listing with a handful of reviews? You can think of your business’ online presence and appearance much like you would its physical presence and appearance. If potential customers see a run-down, poorly kept brick-and-mortar establishment, this is neither enticing nor appealing. The same goes for poorly designed websites and unmaintained social media or business listing accounts – they’re liable to turn away customers before they even get through that virtual front door.
Whether your customers are primarily local or global, being online makes reaching more customers that much easier. A strong online presence combined with search engine optimization can help to ensure that your business consistently ranks high in search results. The top three organic listings get the lion’s share of clicks. Similarly, local businesses that show up in Google’s local-pack (the top three map listings), are more likely to get clicks than those ranked lower. Search engine rankings depend on a number of different factors and optimization does take time and effort. But put simply, the higher your business ranks in search results, the more people you’ll be able to reach.
Cost-Effective Marketing & Easier Selling
Digital marketing is far more cost-effective than print marketing. With it, more means are available to you and in addition, it’s easier than ever before to target your ideal audience. You’ll have a variety of online marketing options to choose from, including video, email, content, and social media marketing. Again, these will take some time and effort, but the rewards are far more long-lasting than a direct mail piece, for example. Things like pay-per-click and retargeting advertisements or even sponsored Facebook posts will increase your audience and your website traffic. In many cases, you can see significant results with an investment of just $1 – $5 a day. With regard to selling your brand or your products, this is where your online presence can really shine. Potential customers love having the ability to peruse your products or services without someone selling to them. Over 80% of shoppers engage in online research prior to making a purchase. When your business has a solid presence online, potential customers can easily investigate your products or services and things like customer reviews to get a better idea of whether they’d like to do business with you. Your business can easily sell itself thanks to a positive and impressive online reputation.
Improved Customer Engagement & Interactions
One of the most notable advantages of establishing an online presence for your business is the ability to quickly develop a brand identity. Typically, this is best accomplished through social media accounts as these offer the most possibilities for freedom and creativity. There are all sorts of business social media profiles out there that run the gamut from snarky and clever to sweet and artistic. These profiles make companies seem more unique – in essence, they provide a personality with which customers can engage and develop a deeper connection.
The potential for customers to establish a more personal connection with a business is becoming more and more crucial. As the internet continues to evolve, it’s eliminating the ability for companies to be nameless, faceless identities. All businesses online need to have the capacity to communicate and engage directly with their customers. If that one-on-one interaction is lacking, it will impact the public’s perception of said company.
When you establish an online presence for your brick-and-mortar business, your customers and future customers can easily learn about what you have to offer even if you’re not open for business at that particular time. Further, tools like Google Analytics can make it incredibly simple for you to gauge which of your products or services are the most popular, which web pages people spend the most time on, and much more. This, in turn, can dictate future marketing avenues, product series, or coupon offerings, all of which can serve to expand your customer base.
Additional Revenue Streams
If your brick-and-mortar business sells products, being online will provide you with even more revenue streams. Not only will you have the ability to sell your products on your website, but there are countless other online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, among others. Additional revenue streams can provide a nice cushion, especially should the economy slow down. Again, the greater your online presence, the larger your reach, and the more likely you’ll be able to sell your products.
Are You Ready to Get Online?
If you’re interested in getting a website for your brick-and-mortar business and/or expanding your online presence, but you’re not sure where to start – feel free to give us a call! Green Monkey Marketing can help you out with a full-service marketing package, a website, or just some SEO services. We want your business to thrive. So please give us a call at (720) 389-0564 and we’ll be more than happy to give you a free consultation!