Building an online presence will open a whole new door for your business. But the words ‘Online Business’ sounds too daunting to many business owners.
Let’s do not blame them. It may be because they do not have enough knowledge about it and most importantly they do not know what is a key benefit of having an online presence for a business.
And you may be one of those who are great businessmen but are afraid of the online market. Or you may be someone who is an absolute beginner and looking to start an online business.
So today we are going to talk about everything related to online presence, its key benefit, and risk. If you are looking to build an online presence or you are just here for knowledge, then you are at the right place. Read till the end of this guide, we are sure that you will not regret reading this post.
What is an Online Presence means for a Business
Online presence means having an online identity. So, an online presence for your business means your business’ identity on the internet. It includes your contents, interactions, online marketing strategies, transactions, your business’ information, etc.
In simple words, your brand should be visible when people search for a business that falls into the same industry.
By taking your offline business to the Internet, you create a place for your business in the online world. There you share various information about your new products, services, and business process and sell products directly to the customers and build your brand image.
When people search for a business or any products from your niche, your products will be shown to them. All these come in the online presence of your business where people know about the business and the brand that you own.
What is a key benefit of having an Online Presence for a Business?
Although there are various benefits of having an online presence for a business, the key benefit is visibility. With a brick-and-mortar store, you can only reach a limited audience.
But with an online presence, your business and products are more visible when people search it even in other states and countries as well.
Why does your Business need an Online Presence?
Technologies are developing every day. Every day we hear news of new technologies. The world is rapidly moving towards the online age. So to get success in today’s world you need to adapt yourself to the digital world.
There is no doubt that the traditional markets are still doing well but this is not enough to compete with your peers. So digital marketing will help give you competitive advantages.
Additionally, as you can see now everyone loves the internet. Before making any purchase, people first go to the internet either to get information or to compare prices.
So when your target audience will see your products or services on Google they may end up purchasing your business. So it is very important for your business to have an online presence if you want to operate it for the long run and get success.
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What are the Key Benefits of Having an Online Presence for a Business
1. Wider Market
With a traditional business, you can only sell your products or services to an audience that is physically around that area.
But the online world is not limited to a certain region or city. With an online presence for a business, you can reach a comparatively wider audience. Sitting in one country, you can also sell to customers of other countries.
Digital marketing also benefits over various other problems. For example, you may have some problems in selling certain products to the customers of your state or country.
But you can sell them in other countries where there is no such problem. Which is not possible with traditional business stores. So with an online presence for a business, you get a wider market and a larger audience.
Digital marketing is convenient for both customers and merchants. Your customers can find information about any product, compare prices, shop, talk to business owners and get items delivered to their doorstep.
On the other hand, as a merchant, you can help customers find new products of their choice, provide them with all the necessary information, receive payments online and get valuable feedback from the comfort of your home. So taking your business online is very convenient.
3. Maintain Customer Records
When you operate an offline business, it becomes very difficult to keep proper customer records. Because it is not possible to remember every person who visits your shop. But with an online presence, you can easily do that very easily.
With analytical reports, you can easily know the behavior of your customers, who are your regular customers, who buy often, and who never buy anything.
So by keeping a proper record of each customer you can provide them better services which will help you to make more money. And this is only possible with an online business presence and digital marketing.
4. Develop Trust and brand Reputation
When you have a customer database, you can easily track your new customers, your long-term customers, your loyal customers, and your potential customers. Generating these data will help you to strategize according to the type of customers.
For example, you can offer new customers promotional discounts and many other offers so that they can become your loyal customers. When your customers are satisfied with your products and services, they will build a trust factor for your business which will eventually lead to a greater brand reputation.
5. Greater Customer Satisfaction
Providing good customer service becomes easy with an online presence. Because most of the functions in the online system are automated. When you build your website with a good web service developer everything from sending users emails to making payments is easy.
With an online presence for a business, you can also provide 24*7 customer support. All these lead to more users satisfaction.
6. More Visibility
Your visibility also increases to the maximum amount when you reach a larger audience. With social media presence, SEO content paid ads, and promotional campaigns you can reach the maximum audience.
And when your visibility increases, so do your chances of attracting more customers. You can even get customers through social media.
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What are the Risks of Maintaining an Online Presence
The online world is full of possibilities. Having an online presence for your business can be beneficial but it also comes with some risks that you should be aware of. You may have heard of online scams and frauds which can do great harm to your business if you do not take appropriate measures.
Let’s know some of the dangers or risks associated with an online presence in the following points.
1. Loss of Sensitive Data
The Internet is a very interesting place. Digital marketing may prove to be the best marketing strategy for your business but it is also loaded with malware and viruses. These are a threat to your sensitive data. They can completely damage your data and harm your business.
There are a lot of security measures you need to take to keep your business data safe and secure from this malware. A proper web security service will help you to keep your business data safe.
Apart from this, there are also a large number of hackers on the internet waiting to get their next target. Your data is very valuable and can comprise your entire business strategy.
Therefore, these hackers steal the sensitive data of the business and sell them in the black market at very high rates. That’s why it is so important to stay updated with the latest technology and take proper security measures.
2. Risk to Brand Reputation
If your data gets leaked or hacked it will greatly affect your business reputation. First of all, you will lose your customer’s trust due to the data breach. They will feel insecure while transacting on your website. The trust factor is very important to retain customers on your website or online store.
They will stop visiting your online store if they don’t feel safe and secure. So your brand reputation will lose all goodwill which will have a great impact on business revenue.
3. Online Laws and Regulations
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Although certain rules apply for both online stores and brick-and-mortar businesses. But online businesses have to comply with some additional online laws and regulations that are designed to keep online transactions completely secure.
Some of these laws are – Data Privacy, Copyright Protection, International Sales Laws and Regulations, Age Restrictions, Shipping Restrictions, etc.
Your business may be at risk if you violate any of these laws and regulations. Hence your website needs to comply with these laws to run smoothly.
4. eCommerce Fraud
If your website lacks security and up-to-date technology, you may face an e-commerce scam. Ecommerce scams are dishonest transactions done on your online platform through stolen payment methods.
Some of the most popular types of e-commerce scams are – account takeover fraud, friendly fraud, credit card fraud, refund fraud, card test fraud, etc.
These scams can completely or partially destroy your business. E-commerce scams can happen due to the fault of both the customer and the merchant. But most of the time the trader has to bear the loss.
It is therefore your responsibility to take appropriate security measures, keep your clients updated with important information and adopt appropriate strategies to protect your business from these scams.
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5. Monetary Loss
You already know about e-commerce frauds that can harm your business. In most of these cases, it leads to monetary loss of the trader.
Fraudsters always do scams for financial gain. And they can do it directly to you as well as your customers. When they do this to your customers, your customers can claim a chargeback and demand a full refund. So the final loss is borne by the trader. Again this also leads to lost customers, bad brand image, etc.
6. Complex Setup
Starting an online presence can seem daunting as it involves some technical know-how that needs to be understood thoroughly. In addition,
You will have to run different types of marketing campaigns to market your new products and services, learn to analyze data to learn more about your customer’s behavior,
Learn basic online laws and regulations, etc. Achieving all of these can seem challenging at the same time.
But you can do all these easily with the help of Dream Developer. They are experts who can help with building a great online presence. They have years of experience so you do not have to worry about anything.
How to Build a Strong Online Presence
There are a lot of processes involved in building an online presence. But having an online presence alone without any proper strategy will not lead to success in your business.
Your ultimate goal of having an online presence is to increase sales and therefore increase business revenue. It needs to be strong enough to help you achieve your goal. Here are a few steps to develop your online presence –
1. Create a Solid Website
This is the first step towards building an online presence. Like every other business, you will need a platform where your customer will land and make the final purchase.
A website is where they will learn about your business, about you, your products and services, and gain insight into your brand’s reputation. So you should have a solid website where you will have information about the business page, contact page, reviews from your existing customers, your old and new products lists, and so on.
Remember that it takes a while for a customer to make a purchase decision from a brand. Before that, they browse your website to check everything.
Your customers should be satisfied browsing your website. The website should be technically sound and easy to use the navigation to streamline their browsing process. A qualified web developer will help you make a strong website setup.
2. Build Social Media Platforms
Social media is the strongest way to spread brand awareness these days. People now use social media platforms not only to connect and socialize but also to build a strong online brand and achieve increased sales.
There are many platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Linked In, etc. But we personally suggest having only 2-3 social media accounts and maintaining them properly.
Because having a social media platform also involves a lot of work like creating valuable content, engaging with followers, strategy content, etc.
So it is better to actively maintain 2 or 3 accounts rather than being present everywhere but dormant with content. Customers through social media are more loyal because they have seen all sides of your business.
3. Build an Email List
An email list is a list of potential or existing customers who have subscribed to your weekly or monthly newsletter. Creating an email list is very important for any business. Unlike social media which is owned by someone else, an email list is your own marketing channel.
An email list can spread brand awareness, news of your new products arrivals, provide valuable information, market new products and services, offer new customers promotional discounts, etc.
But why would people subscribe to your newsletter? You can use several strategies to build this list but one of the most effective ways is to create some free, highly valuable content that people can only access if they subscribe to your newsletter.
4. Produce value
Along with being online, you also need to focus on creating valuable content for potential customers. You need to constantly educate and inform the target audience about things to come in the same industry. By creating quality content you will create brand awareness as well as provide value to your audience.
With increasing competition, people now have more options to choose the right type of brand for their purchase. Even on social media, they will follow those brands that continue to add value to their feeds.
Moreover, visual gratification is now highly dominated by these platforms. So don’t forget to create high-quality and visually appealing content.
5. Learn SEO
SEO means Search Engine Optimization. This means using techniques to create content that will appear on the first page in Google. Nowadays anyone who wants to buy anything turns to Google for help and knowledge. They may even search for a business.
And when a person searches something on google, he is impressed from the first page itself. This applies to you and us as well.
In almost all cases we click on the websites that appear on the first page. So you have to make your website and other platforms SEO friendly. The content you create on your website, blog and social media platforms must follow SEO techniques so that they appear on the first page of Google.
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Online advertising such as social media promotions, Google ads, etc. are ways to market your brand that help bring your products and services to people who may not even know that your brand exists.
It is important to run paid ads on various platforms to spread awareness about the existence of your brand and to drive targeted people to your sales page.
Today’s digital ads are far more affordable than traditional TV commercials. Plus, with these paid ads you can choose who you want to show ads to according to their demographics so that the full cost of the ads can be utilized properly.
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How to Improve your Online Presence
Along with building a web presence, you have to maintain it and improve it with changing times and strategies.
Some online businesses do not bring the expected revenues because they lack some improvement in their online presence. Here are some tips to improve to do that –
1. Make a Strategy
The first step in improving your web presence involves creating a strategy to follow. To achieve any kind of goal, you need to maintain a proper strategy that includes your long-term and short-term goal, the process you will follow, techniques you will adopt, etc.
Any work done without a strategy will not bring any result. And what’s the use of growing online if you don’t get any results?
A well-planned strategy can take you from level zero to level hundred. So make sure you have a pre-planned strategy to make it work.
2. Review Periodically
No one is perfect in this world. Everyone fails and learns from their mistakes. So why do you think your strategy should be right, especially when the digital world is evolving every day? Sometimes things may not work as they should and some changes may be needed in your pre-planned strategy.
So every month optimize and review your content, social media insights, customer analytics, etc. to find out what’s not working and what changes you need to make to improve them.
Reviewing your strategies from time to time will help you better understand the techniques and increase your sales which will make your business a success.
3. Create a Theme
Building an online presence is like building a brand for your business. Having a brand is very important for any business as it creates a distinctive personality for your business.
A brand includes certain colors, themes, logos, and styles that make them different from others. So try to build a theme around your business.
You can do this by choosing the colors and styles you want your business to be known for. Also, remember to always post content on social media in the same style, so that people can get to know your brand immediately after seeing your content.
4. Learn from your competitors
There are some strategies and ideas that your competitors can use that are bringing in increased sales and driving them forward. Learn from them that you may have been lacking in your business.
Again, you may find that your competitors are lacking in some of the most important things that you can offer to the audience. The main point is to always keep an eye on your competitors.
One important thing we should mention here is don’t try to copy your peers. Getting ideas and copying are completely different topics. Uniqueness is the key to overcoming competition.
5. Develop Relationships
Building an effective relationship with your customer will help in many ways. First, they will be your loyal and long-term customers. These are the people who will always be ready to try your new range of products.
They will always provide you with honest feedback. In addition, they will bring more new customers to your business. You can build good relationships with your customers by:
- Asking them to provide feedback and take necessary actions.
- Getting in touch with them via mail.
- Engaging with them on social media posts by replying to their comments.
- Replying positively to their reviews.
- Offer new customers promotional discounts etc.
6. Be Consistent
You must have heard many times that consistency can bring you success. This is 100% true. You cannot succeed if you are not consistent, even if you have all the great strategies.
Try to post valuable content regularly, engage with customers regularly, keep improving your old strategies and adapt them from time to time. If you are consistent in your work, you can soon get success in your online business.
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How Can an Online Presence Assist a Business Owner to Operate from Home
The most important feature of a web presence for a business is that you can do all your work from anywhere in the world.
The digital world is far more convenient than the offline world. Although the strategies and functions of an online business are completely different and you have to learn a lot of new things to operate it.
It also gives you the convenience to the users that no traditional business can provide.
You can do everything from just your laptop screen starting from building an online presence to receiving money from your customers. You can do all this by sitting at home.
So yes, it would not be wrong to say that a web presence for a business helps the business owner to operate his business from home.
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The Bottom Line
So it is time to end this guide here as we have explained everything that can come to your mind while talking about online presence for a business.
We have stated problems as well as their solutions. Hope they cleared all your doubts. Feel free to comment your suggestions and doubts in the comment section below.
And if you found this guide helpful, do share it with your friends and family. See you in the next post till then have a good time.