Importance of Internet Visibility for Businesses
Even if your business isn't yet online, your customers already are. They're posting reviews, looking for information, telling their friends about their experiences with your products and services, and perhaps even posting tutorials involving them. While it's undoubtedly a good thing to have people talking about your business, without an online presence you will be unable to join the conversation.
The Information Clearinghouse
The best information about your products and services comes from the person providing them – you. Even if other websites offer data gathered from official sources, such as manuals, menus or leaflets, it is unlikely that it will be fully up to date and as detailed and precise as the information you can provide. There's no reason to stop at the basics, either; any bit of knowledge related to your products can be a reason for both current and potential customers to visit your website and learn more about what your company offers in the process. For example, if you run a bakery that specializes in cakes, you could add articles on decorating a room for a party or choosing the best type of cake for the occasion.
Search Engines and You
No matter how many loyal customers you have, many people will be completely unaware that your company exists. Although traditional media advertising can work wonders to let these people know about your products, having an online presence will also be extremely beneficial – provided your potential customers can find it. Since you aren't just targeting people who already know about your products, your website needs to appear as a result when users search for related keywords. Having useful content that people are likely to share with others will help your website rise in the search engine ranks, as will search engine optimization, a process designed to optimize your website's visibility.
The Importance of Being Social
Although its impact can be hard to quantify, having a presence on social media can help you reach a larger target audience and spread the word about your company. Consider, for example, Dollar Shave Club, a startup selling men's razors. After its video ad went viral on YouTube in early 2012, the company had 12,000 people sign up for its service in the first 48 hours, and by November 2012 had attracted almost 10 million dollars in venture capital funding.
Time and Effort
Establishing a solid online presence for your business is a matter of months, not minutes. If your website's content is thin and your social media efforts haphazard, you run the risk of looking unprofessional and amateurish, which may put off potential customers rather than entice them. Carefully consider your strategy and prepare a detailed plan of action to ensure your efforts don't go awry.