The business world has had to adapt to numerous changes over the years. Gone are the days when word-of-mouth and advertisements in newspapers or magazines were enough to provide the required exposure amidst the consumers. Print ads were soon followed by a well-detailed company website, thanks to the dot com boom. Unfortunately, even that fell short.
Businesses have to go a step further to ensure that they get considerable visibility in what is today a cluttered market. This is all the more so when it is a micro-business. Having an attractive website and publishing the company’s contact details was adequate until a few years ago. In current times though, you have to ensure that your micro-business is present in two places at once: physically -in the form of a brick and mortar office space, and virtually – within the blue screens of numerous laptops and smart devices.
Few might argue saying that many businesses operate just fine without dedicating efforts towards building a strong online presence. Either they don’t want to step out of the dark ages or they don’t really wish to see their company grow. If the importance of an online presence is still questioned, the following reasons should eliminate all doubts:
It allows you to connect with wider audience
Handing out flyers is effective if the marketing is targeted within a mile’s radius. The advertisements in the newspapers and magazines will reach just those who subscribe to them. Television reaches a larger crowd but one cannot access them on the move. All these mediums face limitations set by geographical or logistical boundaries. However, the internet transcends all the shortcomings of such traditional marketing forms. Additionally, marketing through these mediums may not be cost effective for micro-businesses. A virtual presence allows you and your micro-business to reach audiences irrespective of their location, and even when they are on the go. Customers from all around the world can access your online presence and experience easier and faster communication. Reaching out to wider audiences becomes more easily achievable as compared to communicating personally with a limited audience. The Internet takes your micro-business to everyone’s fingertips through their smart devices. You no longer have to spend bundles of money on reaching a wide audience through advertisements etc. The need of the hour is to set up multiple ‘virtual shops’ through a website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Keep them active, relevant and encourage a continuous communication flow with your audience.
It offers superior accessibility
A physical shop has its pros and cons. While it may facilitate a personal, face-to-face interaction with your customers, the biggest drawback is that you cannot keep it open 24 X 7. On the other hand, the internet doesn’t know how to sleep. It keeps your micro-business active at all hours of the day, offering your customers an option of buying your offerings whenever they want to. With so many products fighting for customer’s attention, every company has a small window to capture that attention and make a sale while the customer is still interested. Once that window closes, the customer will move on to other available options, which are plenty in number. In such a scenario, micro-businesses could lose out on more than expected. Any kind of online presence offers superior accessibility to your customers and enables them to avail your services and products as per their convenience. It is not just beneficial for capturing sales, but also in addressing your customers’ queries immediately. Money transactions can get simplified with Instamojo’s payment options.
It assists in building a stronger brand
Brand building is a crucial aspect for any business. It starts from the customers who believe in your product and goes on to create a significant online presence with the potential for you to transcend most physical boundaries through a robust online sales and marketing model. An online presence allows the users to talk and review your brand with their fellow online peers. A good word from a happy customer reaches out to thousands of members on different digital platforms, thus directing an organic customer flow towards your company’s website. High quality content and posts; frequency of interactions with your customers; positive online reviews and rapport with your customers will enable in promoting a stronger brand and leaves a lasting impression on their minds, translating into higher sales and growth in customers both of which are essential for every micro-business.
It provides a platform aiding in easier marketing
A pushy salesman is any customer’s nightmare. After all, who would want a salesman tailing you throughout and ruining the shopping experience! But laying low also wouldn’t push any sales. An online presence provides an even ground, which encourages high sales minus the annoying salesmen. A website provides all the important details about your products, which the customers can browse at a relaxed pace. Buying and selling becomes much easier, simpler and faster. Moreover, you can connect with a greater number of audiences spread across locations and without borders – as compared to traditional marketing techniques – while cutting down your marketing costs significantly. Marketing has come a long way since door-to-door selling to selling through screens of smart devices. If this opportunity is not taken an advantage of, you just might end up second in the race, which isn’t a good place to be.
Remember that an online platform would allow the customers to voice their unpleasant experiences or complaints as well. However, as a micro-business you need to ensure that you don’t shy away from such instances. Instead, take the platform to sort out the discrepancies and restore your customers’ faith in you. The more you try to avoid it or isolate such incidents, greater are your chances of going down the bad books of your customers. Encourage them to leave suggestions, reviews and complaints if any, and address them in the most appropriate manner.
Micro-businesses need to tap every source that has the potential to provide maximum visibility that helps in increasing sales, customer satisfaction and the propensity for customers to continually use your services. So if, as a micro-business, you don’t have an interactive website, Facebook/Twitter pages and a presence on other relevant digital platforms, it will definitely serve your best interests to invest your time and efforts towards establishing a comprehensive online presence. As the adage goes, as you sow, so shall you reap – so if you’re in for a bumper crop, go all out!