How is your company doing online?

Can you find your business online in less than 30 seconds?

Nine times out of ten, your business will have an online presence whether you’re consciously doing something about it or not. We prefer that you do. Tracking, monitoring and improving your online presence can actually positively impact how customers and prospects perceive your business and grow your sales pipeline.

Here is everything you need to know about online presence for your business and how to make it work to your advantage:

What does online presence mean for businesses?

Online presence refers to all activity and content that an entity—a person or a business—has under their name on the internet. This includes accounts, assets, interactions, and any pieces of information created by or about the person or business.

Many small businesses and startups get caught up in chasing “viral” and “cool” marketing and SEO strategies, and take their online presence for granted. By creating a website and a Facebook profile, they assume that they control the online presence of their business. However, ‘online presence’ is more than just a website and social media profiles; it is distributed across multiple channels and platforms on the internet.

Your online presence is a form of communication that you can’t completely control and you should constantly monitor it. Although the ultimate objective of having an online presence is to be found on the internet, often, that alone is not enough. In fact, not monitoring your online presence can even be risky for your business.

Why should your business care about online presence today?

How many times have you taken a purchase decision based on a Google search? How many times have you picked a restaurant based on online reviews? Or even chosen a product over another because it looked “more reliable” on the internet? That is how powerful an online presence is to a business. And, if not managed well, it can be a deal breaker.

The more presentable your business looks on the web, the more likely customers are to trust you. It doesn’t matter what type of business you own—an offline or online business, a startup or a big enterprise—your presence and conduct on the web matters to your customers.

Besides being there for your customers, there are more reasons to think about your online presence.

It makes your business more accessible

One night last summer, I stumbled upon a gorgeous little bar in a corner of the city that I don’t frequent. I loved it so much I noted its name with the intention of bringing my friends back. The next weekend, I googled the name of the bar to try and find the exact address. Guess what, it was nowhere to be found and we ended up going somewhere else.

Even if your business doesn’t sell anything on the internet, a positive online presence can help you sell more offline. Not being active online can cost you customers; it may leave them to your competitors.

By and large, people search for businesses and products online before making any purchase decisions. It’s just common sense to be where your prospects are looking for you.

It does marketing and branding for you

An online presence is a passive marketing stream for your business. Customer reviews and engagement on social media can serve as sales enablers. Additionally, your online presence helps people become familiar with your brand. A website or social media profile helps establish a visual identity that people can recognize and trust.

It can make your business more credible

Online presence is key to establishing your company as a legitimate business. For startups and small businesses, it is often challenging to be recognized as a valid entity in their early days. Having a solid online presence is the first step toward making sure people take you seriously.

Nowadays, it’s hard for us to trust a company if we can’t find any information about it on the internet. So, as a new business, you need to make sure that you have a presence on platforms where potential customers are looking for you.

It helps you better understand your audience

Having an online presence means having a two-way communication channel with your audience to gather insightful feedback or reviews. Moreover, it allows you to better understand who your potential customers are and what they want. For example, through polls on a Facebook page, a restaurant can identify what offers or products resonate better with their customers.