The face of business has turned online in the past few years. There used to be less competition for business and getting your name out was straightforward, hire an ad agency or go door to door introducing your business. Now the amount of business that offer similar goods and services is incredible and it’s easy to get lost amongst them. Because of this, small-business owners have had to reevaluate how they sell. But how do you convince prospective customers that they should choose you out of the many? Developing a strong online presence is a proactive way to do this, below are a few options open to companies today.
Many people carry a mobile device so they have access to their email and remain on top of their business and private life even when on the go. Businesses have the option of creating a separate mobile site that retains the image they achieve on their regular site while making life easier for people accessing their site on a mobile device. This not only shows the consumer that you are aware of their busy life and but that you are current and knowledgeable about the way the world works.
At first social sites were just that, social, websites to connect people in a social way. Myspace was a great example of that, with its highly customizable interface. Then Facebook came out, its a lot more utilitarian and accessible, the style appealed to businesses. Now virtually every business you find has a Facebook page, sharing content relevant to their industry and creating a fun playful dialog with prospective clients. Now that Google recently unveiled their business pages the future of social sites is all business. Here is a great walk-through for setting up a Google business page.
Offering educational content is an excellent way to reach an audience and differentiate yourself from your competitors. This can be done with blogs and webinars. On-line education shows your prospective clients that you are knowledgeable and sets you up as a thought leader in your industry. Developing trust in this way can lead to sales down the road as consumers will be visiting your blog for interesting and educational information and think of you when they need a service you provide.
While the online business community is growing we can still visit a local shop where the owner works behind the counter but more than likely that business has some sort of on-line presence. Businesses are not just street-facing anymore but Web-facing as well. Being conscious of the changing face of business and open to it will make you a more prepared business owner and/or consumer.