The benefits of bringing a small business online far outweigh the disadvantages. In fact, it could be argued that there are no real disadvantages when it comes to bringing a business online because the Internet is the resource people turn to when they want to learn about products and services. The Internet has become the new first point of contact a customer has with a brand, which means that an online presence is an important strategic weapon for a business to have in its marketing arsenal.
Having a strong Internet presence does more than just instantly sell a product. It ultimately builds a business’ credibility. In a recent survey of millions of consumers by Weebly, 56 percent of respondents said that they “do not trust a business without a website.” This is largely because consumers are now looking to build relationships and interact with companies, and “establishing an online presence through a website, blog, or social media channels provides a great way to fulfill this desire.”
In a Verisign study titled Benefits and Barriers of Bringing a Small Business Online: Perspectives from Global Small Business, it was noted that “82 percent of small businesses with an online presence would recommend investment in a website to other small companies in their industry.”
It makes sense that small businesses are so quick to believe in the power of their online presence because, to put it simply, an online presence works. If a business isn’t online, it is missing out on an inexpensive way to grow its customer base and brand awareness.
Claiming a brand online leads to one of the key decisions that a business owner must make: picking the right domain name. It is important that businesses carefully consider their domain choice, because this is the brand’s online hub. For instance, a business owner should take some time to consider what name they use and what domain extension (.COM, .NET, .TV, etc.) is best for their business. The right TLD helps convey credibility and security.
Once a brand has its online presence set up, a business owner has to steer the ship when it comes making marketing decisions that actually get customers to the website. It is up to a business to make its website the center of its marketing efforts and strategically grow how the brand lives online.
(Photo via Flickr/C Simmons)