What is the importance of building an online presence? Simply put, sales. And this is true whether you’re a business selling products or services, a non-profit soliciting donations, or an individual trying to land your dream job.
Let’s start with the buyer’s online journey to a sale. There are essentially four stops along the way that a consumer travels through to get to the sale. They are:
- Listings – Can they find you?
- Reviews – Can they trust you?
- Social Channels – Will they like you?
- Websites – Do they convert?
Statistics show that 85% of all consumers make purchase decisions online before walking into any store or place of business. This is the most important reason why your business needs to be found online.
It generally starts with traditional advertising, and not necessarily your own. It could be your competitors’ ads planting the seed in a customer’s mind that they need a product or service you have to offer.
Once they have a need, customers go online and do research. If they can’t find you online, your competitor gets your business because they can be found online and you can’t.
Now if they can find you when they search for you, the customer next wants to know if they can trust you. So they look at your online reviews. If you have a steady stream of recent, positive reviews, this tells the consumer they can trust you.
If you have a few negative reviews, they look at how you handle them. If you ignore or poorly handle negative reviews, they won’t trust you and move on to your competitor.Businesses with online reviews have a 183% higher conversion rate than those businesses with little to no online reviews. #conversions Click To Tweet
Next, they want to see if they’ll like you. They look at your social channels to get a sense of your brand’s personality, core values, and your products/services. They’ll look at how you interact with your customers. Social is the most important avenue for a customer to learn about the character of your business. And if they like you, your chances of doing business with them increases.
After they find you, know they can trust and like you, they then go to your website. Your website has to be attractive, have information that’s easy to read and digest, load quickly, be mobile optimized, and provide an easy way for a customer to make the purchase. If you fail in any of these areas, customers go elsewhere. You’ll lose business.
If you have no online presence whatsoever, then you don’t exist in the eyes of those whom you’re trying to reach. This applies not only to businesses, but also to non-profits and individuals. And with 85% of all buying decisions being made online, you can’t afford NOT to build your online presence.
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