By Shona Hastings, 10th November 2021
According to a survey conducted by Salesforce, 85% of consumers will research a business online prior to making a purchase with the most used channels being websites (74%) and social media (38%). There is clear evidence that the majority of your target customers are searching for products/services online and may even have an online presence of their own via social media accounts. In a world, where everything is available at the click of a button through search engines, websites, and social media, if your business cannot be easily found online your competitors will remain one step ahead.
What to Consider When Establishing an Online Presence
Online is one of the first places consumers go in search of local businesses, if your potential customers are online then you should be too. When establishing a digital presence, a business should focus on the following key basics and how they complement each other; these include a website, SEO, Social Media, and a Google My Business page.
1. Business Website/ Email Addresses
Purchasing a domain and developing a website are the essential first steps to creating an online presence. When targeting customers based in Ireland, we recommend using a .ie domain name. If a business wants to appeal to the larger European and worldwide market they should opt for a .eu or .com domain name. This domain can also be used to create business email addresses that are much more credible than a Gmail or Hotmail account.
A business website and professional business email addresses are effective ways to increase an organisation’s credibility. A website houses fundamental information regarding the product or service offering for both new and existing customers. Clear site navigation is essential so that visitors can easily find what they are looking for. A site that is easy to navigate will also help search engines index the various pages which can contribute to a greater influx of web traffic.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Once a business website has been built, tested, and gone live there are additional steps needed to maximize its value and ensure it can be found by search engines. This process is referred to as Search Engine Optimization or SEO. There are many ways to establish and improve a website’s SEO which should be par part of a business’s ongoing marketing strategy. Our web design team recommends the following three items essential steps to establish a strong ranking in organic search results:
- Each page of the website should be optimised with keywords, meta tags, and a meta description.
- Websites should be updated regularly with new content. Having a blog or page and writing a monthly blog post is a great way to achieve this.
- Websites need backlinks (other websites that link to your website). The easiest way to achieve this is to create business listings on various online business directories such as Irishdirectory.ie, localsearch.ie, goldenpages.ie, etc.
3. Social Media
Social media is an important part of your digital presence which helps boost brand awareness, broaden your customer base, connect with and boost loyalty amongst existing customers and generate additional revenues. Social media also offers businesses the opportunity to demonstrate their brand personality as it provides the opportunity to have a more authentic connection with customers. Business profiles are free and easy to create across all major social networks and should not be overlooked when establishing a digital presence for your business. Social media accounts also provide a backlink to the company website.
Top Tip: Streaming a Twitter feed on your website and regularly posting is an easy way to show search engines that the site is being regularly updated.
4. Google My Business
It is recommended for any business to utilize this free easy to use tool offered by Google. Creating a company page allows a business to manage its online presence within Google. This tool offers businesses an opportunity to attract, inform and engage customers on Google. It also provides a business with a digital presence on Google search and maps offering the opportunity to respond to reviews, post photos of your team, promotes products/special offers, set opening hours, and or edit other business details.
Why Should Businesses Establish an Online Presence?
Even businesses that don’t sell products online or have a large website should take steps to establish an online presence for the following reasons.
Improved Company Image
An online presence will allow customers to easily find a business online, increasing an organisation’s credibility and reinforcing trust in the brand. The availability of information online allows more people to find out about your company and its product/service offering.
Improved Customer Service
An online business is available to its customers 24/7. A website acts as a digital sales representative for the company, showcasing product and service information. This is especially important for businesses that operate within normal business hours (9 am – 5 pm). All websites should have a contact form so customers can submit queries outside of business hours.
Ability to Target a Wider Audience
An online presence extends the reach of businesses and allows it to reach a wider range of markets and attract new customers who are searching for its products and/or services.
The internet can be a very valuable tool for businesses as it provides them with an opportunity to broaden their reach and communicate with customers on a greater level. With an increased reliance on the internet when searching for information, businesses should work to establish a stronger digital presence. Businesses should expand to all the potential touchpoints covered in this article. Establishing a digital presence allows a business to share its brand story online, providing the foundations for increased business growth.
Company Bureau offers Professional Logo and Website Design Services at affordable prices to help establish your company’s online presence. Register a Company with us today or opt for our website and logo design service and we will also offer you a free .ie or .com domain name for one year. For an accurate quote or to schedule a free consultation please contact our marketing team on 01 646 1625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer This article is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. No liability is accepted by Company Bureau for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this article. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of this article. Any and all information is subject to change.