4 Obvious reasons why small businesses need an online presence

A good business mindset is being able to adapt to the changes that affect the economy. Every era in life is defined by a major change and these changes can determine how the economy perceives certain economic activities.

In the past 2 decades, the internet has been a major innovation that has changed the life styles of many individuals and also the way business is being done. Almost every business is going digital nowadays and in the developed countries businesses would not survive the competition if they do not have a well strategized online presence.

Businesses in developing countries might not have understood the need for an online presence, but with extended availability of broadband internet, and increased mobile phone/ smartphone users a business that goes digital would certainly have a significant edge over the competition and can leverage on the advantages that come along.

Simply put, going digital or creating an online presence means that you create and own a place on the internet such that you can be found by the billions of internet users. This could be:
  • A website,
  • A social media page or profile
  • A smartphone app
  • A business directory listing
  • etc
Each of these online presence outlets come at a price and have their levels of content controls. Some advantages that an online presence would bring to a business are as follows:

1. Search Engine Appearance 


Most people resort to an internet search when they need a solution to a problem. The problem might be where they can find a product to buy or how to come into contact with a service provider. Let’s use the example of some tourist who is new in a town say Douala and needs hotel accommodation services. If he decides to Google “Hotels in Douala” Google results will display the list of hotels in Douala and only hotels that have an online presence stand a chance of closing a business deal with the tourist. 

2. Increased Touch Points


Some offline touchpoints that a business has are; the office or shop, the signboard, the flyers, business cards. This is limiting the number of potential customers that could get in touch with your business. An online presence would permit a business to serve the above info 24/7 and in addition to it provide tools that give the customer a unique experience at each of the touch points. 

For example you can include a short video of how to maneuver an electrical equipment on the product page of your website and your customers would watch it at their pace, frequency, and convenience. This is load lifting for a customer service agent.  You could also include a map on the contact page that customers can follow and drive to your shop. 

3. Cheap advertisement


A digital presence would offer not just cheap but targeted advertisement services for your business. An offline radio advertisement system would typically broadcast at a particular time and irrespective of the number of people listening or whether they are actually interested in the advert that is being passed. On the other hand, with a web presence advertisement system, you have control over whom you want to see your ads, where they live, what their interests is, their age group and gender, what action you want them to take when they perceive the advert, etc. 

4. Branding and credibility


Just like in the days an offline business would traditionally require a signboard, and related materials, these days an online presence is something the digital natives would expect a business to have. It helps give your business a particular identity on the online galaxy and tags it some credibility. Take for example the credibility of having an email address like customersupport@yourbusiness.com. Also, your competitors have it too and it’s just being fair enough to your business if you create yours. 

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