We’re more than half way through our Starting a Business Series, and after covering topics such as your business idea, making a business plan and defining your demographics, today’s topic will be focusing on creating an online presence for your business.
When it comes to marketing your product and service, your online presence is one of the most valuable tools your business will possess. So the question you need to ask yourself is: Where to begin?
Creating Your Online Presence in 3 Steps:
Your online presence will have various facets, but we are going to break it down into three main components:
- Social Media
Within these 3 areas are many ways your online presence will be distributed, but it’s important to make sure you’ve got the basics covered and go from there. It’s not enough to only know WHO your customers are, but HOW they consume. This is one of the biggest mistakes business owners can make, not knowing the buying habits of their consumers.
Win ‘em Over with Your Website
The first item on our list of creating your online presence is your website. There’s a reason why your business needs a great website, and it’s not just to be trendy and fit in. The US Small Business Administration released data showing that only 51% of small businesses have a website. Compare that to the 97% of consumers searching for products and services online, and you can see why having a website is crucial for success.
Your website is the core of your online presence. It contains all the vital information about your business that your customers (and especially future customers) want to know. There was a time where mom and pop businesses thrived without any marketing strategy involved at all, but with technology-savvy consumers at an all-time high, your business can’t afford to dismiss making your online presence known.
“If you don’t have a website, your business will become increasingly invisible, until it vanishes altogether.” – Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media
Small Business Budget Recommendation: Understandably, you might not have a huge budget for your website. Here’s our DIY pick for you. Wix’s easy to customize and no coding templates are great if you’re just getting started. With huge celebs like Heidi Klum and Brett Favre jumping on board, your website will be in good hands.
Market with a Mobile App
A website might be enough for your business, but if you’re serious about taking the next step your business should really be mobile accessible.
Because we are a society of smartphones. In fact, more people own mobile phones (4.8 billion) than toothbrushes (4.2 billion)! (You can’t get on Tinder with a toothbrush.) But you can find just about anything you need, including your business. According to ReachLocal, 3 out of 5 consumers search for local businesses on their smartphone. And if they don’t have access to your business, they’ll just go to the next one.
Making sure your website is “mobile friendly” is great (and necessary for Google rankings), but knowing the future of consumerism and where it’s headed will put you on top of the competition – enter the app.
As you can see in the graph below, people spend way more time on apps than they do on the mobile web. Last year (2014) the amount people spent on apps increased from 80% to 86%. Compare this to the decrease of time spent on the mobile web – 20% down to 14% – and you can see where we are headed.
Statisticians are able to predict where we are headed in the coming years, in order to give us an even clearer idea of where the market is heading. And as you can guess, the strength of the smartphone will only grow and grow. Take a look at the projected 24.3 exabytes per month in 2019. (In case you’re like me and needed to double check, an Exabyte is a quintillion bytes. 1000^6). Layman’s terms: A LOT of information!
And in case you’re still not sold on a mobile app, here’s a few more stats from Business Insider that might surprise you:
- It’s not just for the kids! 1 in 4 mobile shoppers are over the age of 55.
- Men shop as much as Women! 22% of men made purchases from their smartphones, compared to 18% of women.
- Millennials (ages 18-34) spend around $2,000 a year on e-commerce.
Small Business Budget Recommendation: Another DIY solution is the successful app builder, Como. Boasting over 1,000 million business apps created, their “create your own app” platform is easy to use – especially for you non-techi business owners.
Get Social via Social Media
You can’t do anything without being engulfed in some sort of Social Media Platform. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. YouTube. Our social lives now revolve around social media. The last aspect of creating your online presence is to get social.
Thanks to Go-Gulf, we have gathered valuable information your business needs to know about your social media online presence:
Facebook is the largest platform businesses use to attract customers boasting 99% of top brands. There are now 40 million small businesses utilizing Facebook Business Pages. And you can see why. 70% of business-to-consumer marketers have acquired customers through Facebook.
“Creating an online presence on Facebook… is a powerful asset in its own right.” – Jonathan Czaja, Facebook Director of Small Business for North America.
Twitter is right behind Facebook with a 97% adoption of top brands. With around 300,000,000 active users on Twitter, your business can benefit tremendously by having a Twitter online presence. And with 67% of Twitter users likely to buy from brands they follow on Twitter, your business will have nowhere to go but up.
Known as the “queen” of all social media, thanks to the overwhelming number of women users, Pinterest is quickly becoming online gold for businesses. 69% of top businesses are now pinning their product with their Pinterest online presence. Catching the eye of your potential consumer using visuals is the key to this online addiction. And now with the new “buy now” button, businesses can really reel in new customers.
If you’re wondering if your small business should be on Instagram, take a look at these impressive numbers:
On top of that, brand engagement on Instagram rates the highest of all social media outlets with 4.21%. Instagram can bring your business a lot of attention and followers if you do it right. And what’s important to remember is that:
followers and likes = potential customers
Small Business Budget Recommendation: To become the social media expert your business needs, The Social Media Examiner is a resource you should take full advantage of. Their free guides are social media gold, for any business on any platform.
Has your business already created an online presence? Do you have other tips to give? Let us know in the comments below…