Why Your Digital Presence is Crucial as a Business Owner
When you’re looking to purchase something new or important, how do you do that? Take a moment to think about the process you go through. I assume you ask your trusted contacts for recommendations and hit Google to see what’s available online and in your local area, right? You might then check the social media platforms, use a website like Trustpilot to see reviews and generally do your research before parting with your money.
By doing this, you’re assessing the digital presence of businesses that can help you to answer the questions you need to know before buying. It’s so much easier to read what’s online and what other people have to say than relying on sales agents to give you accurate information or pick up the phone to ask a question.
This is why your digital presence is crucial as a business owner – the presence of your business itself, but also you, the individual behind the business. What impression do people find of you when searching on Google right now?
What is a “digital presence”?
Basically, any and all information about your business that can be found online. This will be the information on your website and social media, the reviews on third party websites, recommendations and links from other websites to yours, directory listings, news articles if you’ve been mentioned, etc.
All of this information adds up to build a picture of your business and how trustworthy it may be.
Ideally, you want a strong online presence with good testimonials/reviews, signs of happy customers and a clear and cohesive message about what you have to offer. This gives the information your audience needs to become paying customers. It’s about instilling trust, rapport and credibility in what you do and have to offer, so your audience is comfortable taking the plunge to buy from you.
A good digital presence will help you reach a wider audience
You might prefer networking, events, direct marketing and referrals to get new customers but there’s one thing they can’t do that a digital presence can, be there 24/7.
An online presence allows your audience and customers to come to you when it’s convenient for them (we’ve all scrolled through our phones at 3am in the morning when unable to sleep, right?). So, even if you’re happily tucked up in bed, what you have online can still be working hard for you and triggering those initial steps in your sales funnel or making sales directly.
Remember that accessibility is important and there may be many reasons why you don’t encounter a chunk of your target audience at those networking meetings and marketing events. Disabled and chronically ill individuals (of which there are approximately 25% in the UK, many of whom are business owners and/or work from home) may do everything they can online but there are other issues that might be stopping your audience from finding you too; like lack of transportation for those who don’t drive, childcare arrangements for those breakfast meetings and even prospective customers living in a different country.
Your online presence provides the foundation for your digital marketing
It doesn’t matter how amazing your social media posts are and the offers you’re putting out in your digital marketing if your online presence contradicts it. For example, if you say you pride yourself on customer service but the reviews on your Google My Business listing say that your customers never feel listened to, your audience is going to believe those reviews over you every single time.
This is why you need to be aware of what’s being said and address concerns straight away (you’ll notice how hot big brands are on Twitter when people complain about things, it’s because they understand the damage it can do to their digital presence).
Using what your customers say about you is a great way to create a cohesive marketing message that’s in sync with what your digital presence is telling your target audience. By using the language they use in reviews, case studies, and admitting where mistakes were made and how you corrected them, you can be sure that trust and credibility aren’t lost when your marketing is saying one thing and your customers another.
To me, it’s all about authenticity. Being your authentic self online and ensuring that your branding and marketing is aligned with what you truly believe and want to say, rather than what you think your audience wants to hear. Because people are savvy, we can always tell when something doesn’t feel ‘quite right’ and your digital presence can be your best friend in business, or your worst enemy if you’re not taking care of it.
I hope you’ve found this blog useful in understanding what we mean by digital presence and why it’s important. Look out for my next blog which will be talking about ways you can improve your business’s digital presence.