I work with a great deal of businesses with my friend and colleague Haris Ahmed Chicago-based business owner and entrepreneur. One thing that always surprises me when I speak with business owners is how few of them have a profile online and how none of them believe this to be something important. The general feeling seems to be that people think if they do not have an online business, that they do not need an online presence but this really couldn’t be farther from the truth.
If you do not yet have an online presence then you need one to help push sales through your door and add exposure to your business, and here is how to get one.
The first place to start is with a social media profile and these are very simple to set up. Just having a Facebook and a Twitter account will be enough and at the very least this means that when someone has been to your store or business, they will be able to tell their friends on social media exactly who you are. You don’t need to be on social media 24/7 but an hour a day to engage with customers and promote your brand can do your business the power of good
If you create a website for your company then you are increasing the probability that someone can find out about who you are and what you do. A basic website will not cost you the earth and it could very well be the difference between a customer finding a competitor or finding your business. If you did want to look at doing some marketing further down the line, a website will be necessary to this and the way you should think about it is that this website is your shop window on the internet’s high street, can you really afford to lose potential customers?
Word of mouth has long been the best way for a business to grow and attract more customers and in the online world, this is truer than it has ever been. The way in which people use the internet to tell other people about your business is through social media, which we have already covered, and through review sites such as Google and Yelp. If you register your company with these sites then you can encourage your customers to leave a review about you online. Assuming that you are confident in the service that your business provides, a positive review on these sites will do wonders for your trade and encourage more people to use your business. The beauty of the review sites is also that if someone were to leave a bad review, you will be able to engage with them directly to contest what they have said, or to apologise and offer them a solution to their problem.
Whether you have an internet-based site or not, an online profile is necessary to the success of any business.