It's that time of year when we start to look ahead to the new one and start to plan on how we’re going to make some wins for our business in the coming months. Of course, you can never have a foolproof strategy. Life will always throw its famous curveball and mess up even the most well thought out plans. Something about COVID comes to mind right now.
One of the biggest key takeaways from 2020 is the need for businesses to have an online presence. COVID and the resulting quarantines, uncertainties, and safety concerns have led most, if not all, businesses to reconsider the status quo and their traditional business model. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be agile. The ways things were always done likely won’t cut it anymore. It’s never been more important than now to have an online presence. Consumers search online. It’s how they do research. And 2020 made the reliance on online search even more important than before.
What Does a Digital Presence Look Like?
There’s a lot of things that go into having a “digital presence”. And not all are right for every business. However, every business can benefit from having some sort of digital presence. In this term I include things like:
Social media pages for your business (ie, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.)
Website (desktop and mobile friendly)
Digital Ads (PPC, social, banner ads)
Content and blogs
Business Directory Listings (ie, Yelp, Google My Business)
Presence on map packs (Google and Apple Maps)
At the start of 2020, it’s likely that most businesses had some combination of all of these items. Maybe not all of them, or just one or two. And while that’s a great start, it likely won’t cut it anymore. This year taught us that a lot of companies that didn’t have a strong digital presence realized how important it actually is.
Here’s a couple real world examples. Most businesses closed for a period of time in March/April/May. Some restaurants started to offer takeout. But there was no indication of that on their website or Google my Business listing. They might have mentioned it in one post on their Facebook page. But not all customers have Facebook or check it regularly. So, that business lost out on a whole host of new customers who actually likely wanted to help local businesses at the start of the pandemic, but didn’t know about the options.
A legal firm wants to start covering patent law after hiring a new expert in that field. It’s a new specialty that they haven’t covered before. They add it to their website as a service, but then nothing else gets said or mentioned everywhere. And while someone might stumble onto the website, that’s not enough to actually help people understand about this new specialty they could get from this particular law firm. They need advertising, directory updates and an SEO campaign to help improve the ranking for that particular service keyword.
A furnace breaks in my home the morning of December 24th. Having a freezing cold home is never a good thing, but especially not on Christmas, and in the middle of winter. So I go to Google and look up furnace repair near me. There’s not many options at this time of year. And I can’t wait for days to get my furnace fixed. But guess what, one company is open! But they don’t have a map pack listing them as near me. They might be only a few miles down the road, but because they’re not showing up on Google My Business, or Apple maps, it doesn’t show up in my search results. They could come and fix my furnace that day, but I don’t call because I don’t find them.
Are you starting to see why having a digital presence is so important?
How Do I Grow My Digital Presence?
You know that old adage of a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step? The first step here is that you just need to start. Identify where you have the best opportunity for growth and go from there.
Could your website use some work? Maybe you need to consider an SEO campaign. (Affari Worldwide can help with that!) If you rely on local business, then start getting yourself listed on business directories. Make sure you create a Google my Business profile to get yourself found on local map packs. If you have a specific demographic that you service, you could start on some social media ads that target that demographic in your area. Sometimes all it takes is letting someone know that your business exists.
As you optimize your digital presence make sure you’re answering the five key W’s: who, what, where, when, why. That’s what customers want to know when they search online. So make sure you’re answering all those questions on every single platform!
Who: Make sure your business name is clearly displayed. You wouldn’t believe how often that happens. But through your website and social channels, help people understand who you are as a business and a brand.
What: What kinds of products and services do you offer? How are these provided? Do you have a physical store or just online?
Where: Where is your business located? What cities do you service? Do you ship outside these areas or charge more for them?
When: Clearly list your business hours. And make sure that you update that on business directories and Google My Business when you’re closed for holidays or have different hours than normal.
Why: This also goes into the Who a little bit. But talk about why you do what you do. People like to feel that personal connections with those they do business with. Help people understand the why of your business.
What Does This Mean for Your Marketing?
What this all means is that these kinds of services are crucial for every single business out there. And even more so as we head into the new year. Small business owners have finally realized the importance of getting found online, and having an online presence will only continue to grow in importance. Next Steps? Contact us for a free SEO audit and then schedule a free no-obligation chat with us to talk about where you are and where you want to go/grow. We're powered by your success. Affari Means Business.