BIG NEWS: The internet isn’t going anywhere soon. This means it’s time to stop burying your head in the sand, hoping business will go back to the way it was and start taking action. Start building your online presence and start communicating properly with your consumers.
If you’re not online in 2018, do people even know you exist?
Even though you are a little late to the game, now is the time to get a head start over people who will be developing their business ideas over the next few years and others who haven’t built an online presence yet. There is still a huge online market share up for grabs, but you need to act FAST. You have the perfect opportunity by having many successful companies to use as a blueprint for you own success but also being early enough to beat the upcoming competition over the next decade.
The internet is very different now to how it was 10 years ago. It is now in the palm of our hands, part of our homes through lighting, alarms, and Amazon or Google home products. We have streaming of video and music entertainment on the go and are constantly connected. Imagine it in 10 years.
The possibilities are endless, but you need to establish yourself in the Internet’s infancy now to reap the benefits later down the line.
If you’re already inspired, go and conquer the web, but if you’re still unsure, here are our 5 reasons why your business should really be online in 2018!
- Low cost marketing
You can get started for FREE. If you can’t afford to invest in a website then you can get started with social media. If you didn’t know, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and most other social media platforms are free to use. By creating a profile for your business, you are getting yourself out to more people for no money at all, just a bit of time. You can post pictures of your day-to-day activities to give people a constant reminder of your presence which is now even easier with the additions of Snapchat stories, Instagram stories and Facebook stories. People like rubbernecking and being nosey as to what other people are doing; it’s human nature. Make sure you fulfil that curiosity. If you’re a restaurant then just give them constant photos and video clips of mouth-watering food, then when they’re bored checking their phone they suddenly decide they’re hungry (boredom and hunger come hand in hand) they are going to come to you to satisfy that hunger. If you’re a personal trainer you can provide motivation and knowledge for your audience. Short clips commenting on exercises or subjects and giving your opinion. This gains attention and builds you reputation as the go to person for information. Then when someone who has been following you decides that they want to take that next step and get some 1-on-1 sessions, you are they person that they will go to.
On top of this free attention available to you, you also have the option of paid advertising through these platforms, the costs are low, yet the results are extremely effective. Compared to traditional advertising such as newspaper adverts, radio adverts or LCD screens social media kills it. In particular Facebook ads are the most cost-effective way to advertise right now. The cost per view is much cheaper than anything else, it’s user base is much greater than anything else, the metrics it offers are much greater than anything else you can compare ROI to and on top of all that you have complete control over what you put out. Photo, video, text it is so much more engaging than a small printed advert. You decide the budget, the audience and the creative.
- Reach a Wider Audience
The internet is BIG. Forget thinking about your small-town options for selling. Being online or having a social media presence means you can sell to ANYONE. Your customers are out there and you need to reach them, otherwise someone else will. The great thing about online selling is it requires the exact amount of work to reach 1 person as it does 1 million, you just need to build your audience. Start producing your content and let your followers interact and do the rest. A simple share from someone with friends in another country is so easy and free, passing your business onto others to see and use. Having an online presence also opens your business up to more connections than you might have by just talking to customers face to face. By linking this with Point 1, advertising is also brilliant to help your business reach a wider audience as your adverts can be spread to the local area, or even further afield.
One of the biggest reasons people may not use your business is that they don’t know it exists. The internet has now replaced the phone book as the way to find any sort of contact details for businesses. By passing your business onto more people, your brand can grow as well as your profits, helping you get to the next level. Even if someone lives in the same town where you are located, it doesn’t guarantee that those people have heard of you. Use the internet to your advantage to expand your customer base.
To find a handy man or local business, people used to reach for their phone book and flick through to find the number of someone who looked friendly and local. Now, most people search the internet for local business and tradespeople. Simply, people do an internet search for local businesses and a list will come up, however if you have no online presence, your business won’t be suggested. This leads people to other companies rather than yours. If you’re not online, people won’t find you, it’s as simple as that.
So, start connecting with that guy in Tokyo who has loads of expendable income and wants to buy your British made product! Or vise versa if you’re reading this in Shibuya 😉
- Build your brand
Branding is as important as it’s ever been, but the game has changed. Putting your logo on a letterhead and some pens or mugs isn’t going to cut it anymore. You need to be out there telling the story of your brand, building people’s trust and perception of your quality and service through these new online mediums. Your day-to-day stories of the running of your business lets customers know that you are working hard to provide the best quality of service you can and have their best interests at heart. By doing this, you are gaining a customer’s trust and building future sales. Your brand is the first thing a potential customer will see from you. You need to spend time building this and then you can convert this to sales alter down the line.
One big mistake that a lot of brands make is using their social media pages for sales. Actually, you should be using it far more for brand building. People have more choice than ever and won’t respond to sales adverts if you don’t give them a reason to. Spend time building your brand through social media, free tips and advice for problems they face. This builds your attention and reputation and then when you do make a sales based post on social media, people will respond much better to it.
- Interact with Customers
This really is the key to social media. The options to engage with consumers and potential customers are nothing short of amazing. This interaction gives your customer a great feeling that they are engaging with an honest and trustworthy brand and it also gives you great insights to your customer’s behaviour. You may have decided that the ill-thought out product wouldn’t be interesting enough to customers so you didn’t bother pushing it, but you may find out that it is the exact thing they have been waiting for! Put it out there and let the market decide.
By having an online presence, you can speak to and respond to customers, which you wouldn’t have been able to do in the past after your customer has left your establishment. Now with ever-growing social media platforms we are closer than ever to customers. Social Media platforms also allow your customers to leave reviews for your business, which can help push your products or services to others, as most people check the reviews of something before they buy or use it. This is huge and allows people to be completely trust in brands that they are purchasing from rather than the minefield it has been in the past. Get customers to review your brand and provide proof of your quality giving buyers the reason to do business with you.
- 24/7 Business Operations
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but people want things NOW! They aren’t willing to wait. This right here and right now culture means that if you’re not available when they want you, consumers are going to find someone who is. Now being available to take orders 24/7 on your phone is a tall ask but a website that can sell or give information at anytime or a social media page that can respond to generic questions automatically is a very good solution. By being online, you are allowing your customers to get in touch with you at any time of the day, allowing you to continue growing your business, even if you’re closed for the day. This also helps people see your business from the comfort of their own home, to see your products or understand your services at any time of day. People often want something sorted quickly, and if you’re quite a drive away, or don’t have a physical office, having an online showcase of your products or services will result in higher sales figures in no time at all.
We hope these 5 tips have inspired you to make today the day you start taking action and join the online revolution. It can seem scary and it isn’t always easy but it really will be the best decision that you and your business will ever make!