Bill Gates once said, “If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business.”
Nothing truer has ever been told. Businesses have to get on the Internet bandwagon if they wish to stay competitive and relevant in this mobile era.
“Why” you might wonder. More than 80% of the Internet traffic arises from a mobile search. Shopping malls in America are closing down while dozens of online stores are popping up in their place.
Anybody with a spare room to let out is getting listed on Airbnb and generating income by participating in the sharing economy.
We are living in a world where the digital and physical worlds of customers are converging to deliver unified shopping experience.
Whether this shopping experience is for buying the product online like purchasing from Amazon e-commerce portal, getting product delivery on time or ensuring of data while entering confidential information at a secured web page using certificate like EV SSL etc.
Many retailers like Nike have already moved to the Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) omnichannel model where SKUs can be ordered online and picked up offline.
Here are some more reasons to convince you why claiming your business online.
It gives a local advantage
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. Your customers are more likely to type in a Google search than ask their near or dear for a suggestion.
And Google relies heavily on NAP (Name, Address and Place) details for displaying information on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Plus, Google offers location-based search results for customers who add the suffix “near me” along with their search phrase.
For example, “restaurants near me” will deliver results of restaurants who are located in my near vicinity.
Needless to say, this will drive more footfall or website traffic easily, without having to spend a fortune.
It gives an international advantage as well
Local lists have an SEO advantage as well. Businesses that have their online accounts or channels duly created and maintained have a larger chance of being ranked higher by search engine rankings.
Higher search engine rankings are the best bet to draw organic traffic. Since, most organic traffic comes from customers who make an impromptu search, optimizing your business for an online presence will help win more leads and deals.
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It is FREE! Or at least most of it is
As the whole world knows it, SEO and its resultant organic traffic come for free. The only spending you would be required to do is the time and effort to optimize your online profile.
You can do that by creating online business listing where your business, the industry where it functions, product/service offerings can be highlighted with clarity.
You can further optimize your business listing for marketing advantage. For instance, websites like Clutch.co allows business owners to list their website as well as client reviews.
This helps your business win more leads from natural sources without having to spend a dime.
Your Business Gets Social proof
Google has been in the works to include social signals for Google +, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. for showing social proof. Social media handles of top brands have always been one of the top results for related searches.
For instance, if you search for Starbucks, the first few results you get will be the official website of Starbucks, the nearest map locations based on the user location, recent tweets, Wikipedia page or links to news articles.
On the right-hand corner, you would also notice that Google shows the Wikipedia descriptions followed by links to the social media handles of Starbucks.
In other words, optimizing your business for online presence will maximize your brand presence as a whole. It will show your business as a magnified entity that is easily reachable through various channels. This helps acquire more customers with minimal spending.
You can get positive reviews
Even if you are running an offline store where most of the business happens face to face, you can win online positive reviews by claiming your business online. Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook business page, LinkedIn showcase page, etc. are all online avenues where your business can claim its own slot.
All the online avenues are also places where you can collect your customer reviews. These positive reviews hosted on an online website has more value than displaying it under the testimonial section of your own website.
Builds Customer Trust
The millennial customer is more willing to do business with an online entity than someone whom he/she sees on a daily basis. Hence, any website which does not have a website or does not enjoy a good social presence does not count as a good alternative for them.
This leaves no option, but to build your online presence on multiple platforms including Bing, Yelp, Manta, Angie’s list, Craiglist among many others.
Bringing it all together
With mobile, social, web becoming commonplace, business owners can no longer shy away from crafting their online presence. Claiming your business online is a surefire way to win more leads. Think of it as free marketing that comes with no strings attached.
In fact, putting your business online would also help in gaining an upper hand over the competition. On the other hand, remain elusive to the online medium and your business would soon go bust.