Home Professionalisms 7 Reasons Businesses Need Expert Online Visibility

7 Reasons Businesses Need Expert Online Visibility

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by Russell Wallace, founder and CEO of 29 Prime, Inc.

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If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

SMB brands are damaging their own success by not having an online presence. Because just having a website is not enough, here are 7 reasons why presence is a must:

1. If your business doesn’t have an online presence, it doesn’t exist in the current marketplace.

At least, it doesn’t exist as a viable business with the chance of thriving, or even surviving, in this modern era. “That’s bologna,” you may say. “My business has been flourishing for years and it’s all word-of-mouth.”

This may have been true pre-internet of everything, but more and more consumers are turning directly to the internet to find exactly what they need. In fact, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to get information about businesses, products, and services. As the internet becomes our undeniable one-stop resource for information, it’s no longer an option for a business to be, or not to be. . . online. Only those that adapt and embrace technology will have a chance at continuing to “be” at all.

2. A word-of-mouth referral alone is not enough anymore to land a customer; your business needs an online profile.

If someone refers an acquaintance to your company’s services, what’s the next thing that referral will do — dial you up and hire you? Not likely. What is likely, on the other hand, is that she’ll pull out her smartphone to look up your information. She’ll check out basic contact details, review your website, bring up business reviews, and even peek into your social media.

Whether we like it or not, the current “word-of-mouth” in this day and age is based in online reviews, social media shout outs, and blog mentions. The internet is not a big scary cyberspace anymore; on the contrary, the Web has turned into a fertile ground for information sharing and niche communities; nearly 70% of consumers trust other consumer opinions posted online, according to a Nielsen report, and a whopping 92% say they trust consumer opinions in social media in particular, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. The fact is that the internet is now the epicenter for a business’ referral community, and your business must have a presence online in order to capture those referrals — even the ones that originate outside of the inter-webs.

3. Your competition knows more than you do about how to leverage the internet to get business.

Why? Because they’re younger. You may think that Joe Schmo down the street has nothing on your business prowess because you’ve been out-selling his company for years. But, don’t forget to look around the corner because your new competition has arrived. . . and they’re graduating in droves: the Millennials grew up with technology at their fingertips and they have, no doubt, taken a college class or two on how to leverage internet phenomena like social media. Heck, they’re even majoring in it! If your business has survived this long without being online, then good for you.

But no one wants to be edged out of the market by much younger, tech-savvy, internet-fluent kids who’ve been naturally using the next Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for months before it even hits the mainstream. As a business owner, you certainly can’t be expected to know about all of the up-and-coming next big things that will go from being dismissible games to business tools of the decade — you don’t have the time of a teenager, after all. You can, nonetheless, do yourself a favor and be just as visible online as the new flock of competition.

4. Accurate online listings will help consumers find you more quickly.

Even the most seemingly insignificant typo or lack of uniformity in your business profile (writing “Avenue” versus “Ave.” in your address, for example) can completely misdirect customers. Let’s say you enter your business information into two directory sites — Yelp and Citysearch. In Yelp, you write your business address as “1234 Washington Avenue” and in Citysearch, you write it as “1234 Washington Ave.” Believe it or not, search engines will actually treat the two listings as two completely separate businesses. So consumers might not realize that you have 30 five-star reviews on Yelp because the search engine has only brought up your two reviews on Citysearch due to a variation in listing details. Search engines can seem as stringent as your old high school English teacher, so it helps to have a proof-reader — or, more accurately, a professional company that specializes in online visibility services — to get it right the first time around.

5. Effective categorization will increase the chances of search engines showing your business across more searches.

This is another advantage to using a professional service that understands how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to online visibility. For instance, if you’re a pool service, there’s a big difference in SEO between salt water versus non-saline pool searches. Likewise, you might also do pool repair, and effective categorization will ensure that your business is found across all relevant categories based on keywords that searchers actually use — not just the ones that you think fit your business.

As a business owner, you want to target a niche market, but you also want to be as extensively applicable as possible within that niche. Successful categorization will ensure that you don’t limit yourself when it comes to all different kinds of searches related to your services.

6. Maintaining, updating, and connecting your online business identity with new and changing technology will keep your business relevant to consumers.

So, you’ve paid a developer to build your website, integrate SEO, and create your social media accounts. The rest should just take care of itself, right? Not quite. It’s not enough to put a one-time effort into establishing your online presence — staying current and relevant in the market requires regular updates to not only your information, but also SEO, listings, and participation the latest and greatest online resources. If you’re a tech junkie and you just love to spend hours (or months) learning the freshest techniques to enhance your online presence, then go ahead and freestyle it!

But, if you don’t have the interest or time to configure your own updates or ahead-of-the-game algorithms (and who does?!), then it’s best to hire an affordable one-stop service provider who will take care of all of your online visibility needs. After all, being relevant also means having the time to do business, not just increase it.

7. Your most important asset is your capacity to focus on your own expertise and do what makes you money.

Online visibility will help direct customers to you and feed your business. At the same time, consistently updating and fine-tuning your business’ online presence is rather time consuming and complex. Instead of trying to be a Jack-of-all-trades, it’s so much wiser to put your precious time and valiant efforts into what you do best. Online visibility is, indeed, key to thriving and surviving in today’s modern marketplace, so it’s pragmatic to let others use their expertise to assist you in perpetually fortifying your business’ online presence. “Sure,” you may say, “but I’m saving money by doing it myself.” Are you really? What about putting the hours/days/weeks you spend learning and applying techniques to optimize your online presence into your own work?

Furthermore, some companies that specialize in online visibility have proprietary algorithms that put your business’ online exposure ahead of the pack. And these mavens are not only keeping up, but religiously inventing new technologies. The bottom line is simple: online visibility helps your business do more than just “be,” or exist, in the modern marketplace — it fundamentally fuels growth.

 

Russell Wallace

Russell Wallace, founder and CEO of 29 Prime, Inc., has more than 10 years’ experience directing as many as 1300 employees/contractors in companies with revenues in excess of $30 million yearly. Russell has led these companies from concept, start-up, survival, turnaround and growth modes.