Let’s face it we have enough to worry about when running our business without having to consider the cost benefits of time we spend on different customer communications. With a website, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Local Listings sites and the myriad of other methods to enable the world to locate our business, the array of choice is sometimes overwhelming. ‘Oh I don’t worry about that – I have a website’ is often a phrase that I hear from customers who are often satisfied that they have an online presence. They believe that this means that they can be found by anybody searching for them and customers will come flocking to their business. Of course, this isn’t always the case unless you are selling something extremely rare or unique.
There are also the new generation of business people who prefer a Facebook only presence – they can have a business page, which acts in some ways like a website. They have no hosting costs and they can maintain the site without any experience or technical knowledge. Of course, they are at the mercy of Facebook, if the rules change then so does their online presence. Facebook changed the way businesses can be found through Facebook – this decreased the chances of businesses being found. There was no recourse for these businesses – this is one of the risks of placing your online presence into the hands of a company such as Facebook.
Our customers are a varied bunch who will choose which technology they want to find a business such as yours, some will search through Google, others via social media and some via listing sites. So is the advice from this blog really that you should be listed everywhere – well yes – if you have the time to maintain all of the different sites that hold your presence. If not identify who are your target market – what methods do they use to locate your business, and then select the least number of methods to make your company available online. If you were to pick just a few I would always suggest a website, google+ and facebook as a minimum – these balance the time and reach that you are probably looking for along with adding some oomph to your google rankings.
The good old fashioned website is still the go-to choice for many prospective customers looking for information on your business. Often found via a google search, where customers have entered either your business name and location or found you on the search results pages, your site is the only way you can truly control the image of your company. From the colour of the background, the logo, the layout and quality of the images – prospective customers will often choose whether to contact you from your site alone. So yes a well designed, well functioning Website is still a must for any business who seriously wants to promote their business to prospective customers, suppliers and potential employees.