by Karen Wessels, co-founder of SnappSales and VA Connect
In the old days, if we were looking for a shoe repairman or a new fridge, the first place we would turn to would be the classifieds or the yellow pages. Remember those times? Nowadays you bring the world to you by means of your mobile phone. Isn’t great how we can search for a curry restaurant, a new stove, a boating holiday, and a friend’s contact details all in one place, on one device?
Now imagine what your business looks like from the outside in. The same principle applies. If you don’t have an online presence or a strong one at that, what kind of message are you sending out? You surely want your business to be found when your prospective client is doing an online search.
I know that if I want to change my hairdresser the first thing I’m going to do is go online to source a list of hairdressers in town, but more than that, I want to read great reviews in order to help me choose a new hairstylist.
Gone are the days of only taking your friend’s advice when it comes to purchases or finding new suppliers, now you’re counting on thousands of opinions online to help you make a choice.
Here are 4 reasons why it is so important that you have a strong online presence:
- Accessibility: By having a strong online presence you increase your accessibility. With the help of a great website you provide clients and leads a summary of the pain you solve, where to find you and what makes you great at what you do.
- Trustworthiness: Through social media and blogs on your website you establish yourself as a trusted source of information. Building trust and credibility with your audience certainly will enhance the longevity of your brand and thereby a sustainable relationship with your clientele.
- Cut marketing costs: I know that startups will really enjoy this one. And I’ve probably mentioned a million times (okay, maybe a few times ☺) that you can do low cost marketing thanks to social media. Essentially, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are giving you the opportunity for a free and easily accessible online presence. They give your business credibility. And, if you’re just starting out (read: no marketing budget) these are great platforms to market your business with, and define the pain you solve to masses without breaking the bank. You’ve got to love it!
- Build your tribe: After a few years in business, one of the most important things I’ve learned is to first build your tribe. With an online presence you can now reach a far wider audience than ever before. You can build a loyal tribe who are the best spokespeople you’ll find. Your tribe will watch what you do, share it, and talk about it to everyone creating a greater following. Tribes are loyal and will stick with you through thick and thin. They will wear your badge with honour and recruit on your behalf. Don’t underestimate the power of a tribe.
Embrace the power of having a strong and effective online presence. Make sure that your website has call-to-actions and that the content converts. Share great content regularly. Establish yourself as a thought leader. Build trust and credibility. Do all of this online and you will soon see how powerful this can be to the growth of your business. Your authenticity will shine through and at the end of the day that is one of the greatest things you can do for your business.
Harness the power of a strong online presence!
Karen Wessels is the co-founder and COO of VA Connect, a South African virtual assistant platform that provides outsourced administrative support; and is also the co-founder of SnappSales, a company that generates quality sales leads for its clients. Prior to establishing both her companies, Karen spent over 10 years in different sales, marketing & admin support roles. This experience has equipped her with the invaluable skills required to run her two successful business ventures. Follow Karen on her Personal Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+
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