Hayden-Media: The Essential Online Presence - Pt.1


An online presence in the form of a dedicated website is strongly recommended for any business in today’s digitally run world. They provide a convenient 24/7 access for potential customers. The chances of success are also undoubtedly increased when coupled with effective social media platforms, such as LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, etc. Sole traders and businesses are therefore increasingly crossing this digital divide, and for good reason. However, there are more who are hesitant in making this step forward, probably for a variety of reasons. But whatever the reason, they are generally missing out on the potential benefits such a move would bring.

Becoming more accessible
Being limited to the traditional 9 to 5 access of businesses and shops of the past, we now increasingly like to be able to look for what we need at any time of the day, or night! The advent of the technology has provided non-stop access to browse the goods and services which an online version of a business provides, and is very often the first port of call. Ownership of smartphones contributes heavily to this scenario, as they literally do provide instant access while ‘on the go’, thereby removing the necessity of desktop browsing. Having a regular ‘updating’ component within the business workflow is of vital importance, without this attention any monies invested in the media would probably be best left in the pocket. It’s vital therefore to keep online provision up to date. Folk will more than likely not return to a website if the content looks as though it is being neglected.

Welcome reviews and engagement
Customer reviews when activated on a website – or elsewhere – are well worth monitoring. Often customers read reviews prior to making a purchase, employ your services, etc. Positive feedback may well be useful in marketing campaigns, whilst any negative comments can be addressed in a mature manner, after all they may just have a relative point – which can be acted upon – about your business. Listening to and engaging with your customers will go a long way to creating a strong and successful business.

Photo: rawpixel

Marketing Costs
No printing or mailing costs! Has to be a plus, yes? Perhaps these expenses won’t be eliminated altogether, but an online presence may well make promotion cheaper. Approaching online marketing analytically, can go a long way to levelling the playing field as it were. In addition it could well expand your business from being local or regional, to potentially becoming national or even a global. Market research will help decide which routes are effective, whilst analytics software such as Google Analytics, provides a wealth of information which can be utilised in making subsequent promotional decisions. The guesswork for want of a better description is reduced, or taken out of the equation entirely.

Branding
One of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, B2B or retail is branding. Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer, what they can expect from your services or products, and it differentiates what you are offering from those of your competitors’. Your brand is who you want to be and who you are, and who people perceive you to be. The foundation of your brand is your logo. After all it will – or should – appear on your website, social platforms, promotional materials, packaging materials, etc. all of which help to communicate your brand.

Summing up…
Having a website per se certainly won’t guarantee to make you wealthy overnight, but could go a long way to making a success of your business, large or small. Even a poor website design would hopefully have lots of key information which could be very useful for a potential customer. However, we always believe in the old adage that if something is worth doing then it’s worth doing well. If your website is designed, developed and maintained professionally – rather than by the school kid next door – then this will go a long way in providing trust to those all important customers who you are wishing to attract. After all, ask yourself this; ‘Would you make a purchase, large or small, from an amateurish looking website with confidence?’


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