I am astonished at how many businesses fail when it comes to developing an online presence.
Many businesses simply cannot be found when doing an online search. Not being found online is more detrimental to your business than if you had an employee stealing from you.
Why? Because every business that has employees will at some point have rogue employees that will steal from you, whether it’s money, office supplies, toilet paper, data, etc… You just need to fact that in when you start a business. These employees can and will affect your bottom line.
Not having an online presence means the loss of potential business and lead generation that would ultimately increase your bottom line.
With the advent of the internet, technology is changing rapidly and it has changed the way people do things, from commerce, getting their news online (instead of newspapers and magazines), communicating, connecting, to searching for products and services (death to the yellow pages directories!).
I see so many businesses advertising in newspapers, billboards, huge ads in the underground metro, and so on, without even adding a website in their ad, not to mention all the other stuff wrong with the ad itself.
What the f*ck?! Are they living in the stone age? Sadly, the answer is- yes.
When people are entering or exiting the subway, you only have about 5 seconds to capture their attention with your ad. People aren’t going to remember the phone number and will rarely remember the name of the company that was advertising.
If, in fact, you did capture their attention as they stepped off the subway and rushed to the exit, what they most likely would remember is any website domain name listed on the ad, especially if it has “keywords” in the domain name that represents what your business does like- www.organicfoodtips.com or www.easycookingclasses.com or www.yogastudioNYC.com or www.
They will most likely remember whatever unique selling proposition (USP) you had in your ad as well as your website so they can investigate it deeper when they have more time to spare.
It all comes down on how these business owners were programmed.
You see, before the internet, we had the Yellow Pages and Yellow Book for over 100 years.
The old process used to be like this (we’ll use “mechanic” as an example)
You had a problem with your car > opened up the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book > flipped to the section that listed “Mechanics” > Read the big full page ads, then the half page ads, then went through the alphabetical listings, calling all of the numbers that get your attention.
This is what “brick and mortar” business owners (stores, restaurants, shops, etc…on every street corner) are accustomed to.
Unfortunately, most business owners are not tech savvy and usually only use the net to check emails and watch Youtube.
A study done a few years ago showed that a whopping 75% of the people surveyed said they use online search engines to find what they are looking for. Of that 75%, an astonishing 80% of those people use Google as their main search provider.
We’ve turned Google into a verb for crying out loud! “Google it!”
When people search for a product or service on Google (or any other search engine), they will usually enter two things- the product or service AND a location.
Their searches would look like this-
“mechanic in madrid”
“shoe store, los angeles”
“irish pubs, chicago”
“health spas, miami”
“garden supplies, manhattan”
“computer store, seattle”
Get the picture?
If your company or website offers products/services/and or information and is not found online, you are missing out on a significant amount of potential clients and revenue, and your competitors who are on top of their internet game will capture those leads even if they have only been in business a short time.
Having worked at the Yellow Book for a brief moment in time a few years ago, I spoke with many frustrated business owners who couldn’t quite grasp how the new competition was thriving while their businesses were hit hard during these tough economic times, despite the fact that their competition were a lot less experienced and higher priced.
A quick search on Google revealed the answer each time, and that is, that their competition had built up a significant online presence with a decent looking website and could easily be found on the same targeted keywords.
Furthermore, to complicate things even more, when doing an online search on Google, RARELY will people go to the second page no matter how many search results come up. (This will be discussed in further detail other articles here).
Bottom line. You NEED an online presence. It is paramount to your company’s future growth and success.
If your company does not show up online it won’t stand a chance in the long term to competitors who are on top of the “online search game,” AND if they don’t show up on the first page of search result on Google for their targeted keywords, they will lose a significant amount of potential revenue to those companies or websites that do show up on the first page.
Building a good decent website is the first step. It doesn’t have to be flashy with all the bells and whistles. Just a good decent website that shows your potential clients that you invest in your company’s image.
The second step is to “optimize” the website for search engines (SEO). This is a bit more complexed, but it is absolutely vital for building and maintaining an online presence. As mentioned earlier, we’ll delve into SEO in other posts.
Feel free to add your input.