So, you are a member of a networking group, chamber of commerce or the local business association. You’re listed on their websites, and you have your own website, which means you have all the online visibility you need, right? Wrong! Having an online presence isn’t enough. You need an online strategy to go with it.
Here are 5 reasons why every business needs an online strategy:
- Online engagement equals new opportunities
People are buying services or finding new vendors online every day. And the trend keeps growing. “But I don’t receive leads through my website,” you say. Well, why would you if you aren’t working on it? Truth is, if you are not receiving leads through your site, it’s not because customers aren’t looking. More likely, it’s because your competitors are doing a better job than you at getting found. Your online presence is just an extension of everything else you do to generate leads, but it requires effort, just like networking.
- Keeping pace prevents lagging behind
Technology is unforgiving, it advances continuously, and if you aren’t building some strategy to keep up, you will quickly lag behind. Not convinced? Consider that Uber, possibly the fastest growing transportation company in the world, was not created by a transportation company. Or how about the fact that Amazon is now bigger than Walmart, while Sears, Macy’s and Kmart are closing 150 stores combined. Want more proof? Take a look at this article: Man vs. Machine: Or Lawyers vs. Legal technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is even automating the way attorneys assess the strengths of a case, and forecasts project a reduced demand for legal services by 25.8 percent. If you want to stay competitive, keep up with the technological curve.
- The right website builds trust
Every time you hand out a business card you are inviting someone to search you online. In fact, every time a contact refers you to a possible lead, you can guarantee someone is scoping you out online, too. Like a firm handshake, your online presence encourages trust or discourages future business. Look at your website as an extension of who you are outside of the virtual world. Your website is the only online presence you control one hundred percent. Take advantage of it.
- Online and traditional platforms support each other
The ideal scenario is to take the successes of your networking groups and extend them online. If you are friendly, use social channels to build new relationships. If you are analytical, share your knowledge in a blog. If you’re known to be charming and persuasive, add video to your website. Think about what works offline and learn how to use those skills online.
- Competition comes from anywhere in the world
Technology has made competition a universal phenomenon. No longer governed by local or regional forces, companies are vying for business from opposite sides of the world. We only have to look at Uber, Travelocity and Amazon to understand that the old pillars of business are no longer in place, changing the way we do our day-to-day work and challenging our ideas of what works. Can you imagine if one of those taxi companies had thought of the idea of running their business without drivers on their payroll? What a way to disrupt business as usual!