Owning a website and building an organized Internet marketing strategy is important for small businesses to leverage the opportunity provided by the Internet. A survey by BIA/Kelsey has revealed that more than 95% of the customers use Internet to search for products or services in their local area. Hence, by having an online presence, people will come to know about the various products and services offered by the company. Apart from being a source of information for people, it can be a platform for small businesses to sell their products.
Though many people are looking for products online in their local area, a significant number of small businesses are still staying away from online presence. A survey conducted by Nielsen Online and Webvisible found that 44% of small businesses in US do not have a website. This survey clearly shows that small businesses are losing out many potential customers. In this article, we will discuss about the benefits of online presence for small businesses.
Having online presence talks a great deal about the image of the business. This is where customers get a first impression of what the business is going to be. A good website reflects the professionalism and the quality of work. Having a good online presence projects a credible image of the business. The information on the website like the branches, testimonials, credentials, etc., will help in creating a favorable impression in the minds of the potential customers.
Fast and effective marketing
A website works for the business throughout the day unlike a traditional store where it remains open only for certain hours. This aspect of Internet marketing helps businesses in having 24 hour communication with customers. A business having an online presence helps customers not only in finding information but also completing the business transactions at any time of the day. The luxury of purchasing goods sitting at home will only add to the customers’ interest in doing business with you.
Better way of showcasing products and services
A website gives your business an opportunity to showcase your products to a number of people at a time. Unlike a traditional brick and mortar store, several people can gain access to your products and services simultaneously. You need not tell each and every customer as what all you have to offer. A good website helps your customers navigate easily and lets them know about all of your products and services. This moves the potential customers to the next step in the buying process.
It also simplifies the task of purchasing for your customers. They can use shopping carts to purchase from you. This helps them in reviewing, adding or deleting the products before making a purchase.
Exposure to local market
As discussed earlier, most of the people are turning to Internet for products in their local area. Having online presence helps businesses in attracting these potential customers. Remember, when a person searches for a product in a certain city and you happen to operate in that city, he becomes your potential customer. Customers find it easy to buy goods from a company which is close to him/her as it eliminates the middlemen and transportation charges.
Cost-effective business promotion
A website with a good search engine optimization strategy is cost-effective, yet a strong marketing tool. Small scale businesses may not afford the advertising costs associated with TV commercials, billboards etc. But they can achieve the desired results by having good online presence. Top ranking website will be helpful to the business in advertising, providing information to customers, sales, etc. It is not limited time promotion as in the case of billboard, magazine or newspaper.
Enhanced interaction with customer
Once customers come to know about your products, the website provides them further information and necessary contact details to approach your business. Having online presence helps a business in maintaining interaction with the customers.
Provides mechanism to customer feedback
Implementation of a free website analysis tool like Google Analytics enables the business to know more about customer preferences and thereby improving the products and services according to their needs. The feedback collected from the customers is vital in making necessary corrections associated with the products or services. A website offers cost-effective and convenient way of collecting feedback. The website shows feedback across various time periods allowing you to monitor the change in behaviors with changes to the site or products.
Having good online presence promotes the business well across the Internet. It provides customers a platform to check and understand the products before making purchase. For businesses, a website helps in improving the quality of products by taking the feedback from the customers. A small business, therefore, can enjoy a number of benefits by being present online.