With everything becoming increasingly digitized, people have come to rely on the internet for almost all of their needs. Imagine, if someone asks you where to go for a good Pan-Asian dinner and you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood, what are you most likely to do? Whip out your phone, fire up Google, and search for a restaurant suiting your exact needs. This is the power of the internet --- within a minute, a potential customer who has never heard of a certain business is suddenly familiar with the brand, and more likely to become an actual customer. In the current environment, a good, well thought-out online presence is the best form of marketing a business can receive.
An online presence can include many components, all of them capable of being advantageous if channeled properly. The most common way of establishing an online presence is to set up a social media account or to build an e-commerce website. Both of these serve their purposes. A social media account increases one's accessibility to the consumer, allows for branding, and is perfect for sharing important information about what services the business provides. An e-commerce website streamlines business transactions, helps with showcasing the services or products, and makes the business accessible to people. A large benefit of an online presence is that the radius within which they are able to sell increases exponentially because even someone in Harlem now knows about this fantastic bakery in Brooklyn and is more likely to patronize it when they are in the vicinity or simply order it with the click of a button
But an online presence goes far beyond this. An important factor is feedback. Just like a business has access to the prowess of the internet, so does the consumer. Having good reviews and good ratings on the relevant platforms is incredibly helpful. When looking for the best place to get sushi, we'll hop onto Zomato and scour through the 4-star and above restaurants in our area that serve sushi. A quick look at the reviews will tell us about the quality, the variety of the sushi, directly affecting where we're going to eat. The right kind of reviews mean better foot traffic. People are likely to buy the word of another consumer. It can even help build more familiar relationships between the customers and the business. Factors like this can make a business stand out amongst others.
With the crowded field of competition in every industry, it is a constant battle to be one amongst a thousand others. This uniqueness can be generated via an online presence. The internet is a platform that allows for image construction. It is the most important tool in controlling the narrative one wants to give out. Think of how most people following you on Instagram have never engaged with you personally, they don’t know who you are, but they have a certain idea of you entirely dependent on how you present yourself. When you post a picture at a climate change rally, you prove that you’re passionate. When you post a meme on Stranger Things, you show interest in the show and in humour. Those who respond well to this are likely to think favorably of you. This can be utilized. The wonderful thing about a website or a profile is that the analytics allow you to know who your consumer largely is or you may simply know who you want to target. Once you know, you can distinguish yourself as appealing to them. This helps you stand out or at least become attractive to your target consumer.
An online presence is also ideal for showing off your products or services. It is the easiest way to show your offerings even to people who many never have come into contact with your business. Most importantly, with other businesses becoming more and more digitally-advanced and conscious of their online presence, it is imperative for all others to join to even have a chance at competing on fair grounds. In an age driven by the world wide web, one cannot afford to sit back and not participate. The incredible thing about anything online is that it’s cost-effective, too. If you have the ability to pay for Instagram ads, then you get that added benefit. And, even if one doesn’t, they have the ability to opt for free marketing like social media networking. It’s a necessary tool in marketing. If you aren’t online, for many, you don’t exist at all
The offerings of an online presence are immense and it is an absolute necessity in the 21st century for any business, big or small. In order to even stand a chance in the competitive business world, it is more important than ever to be continuously evolving to keep up with the large changes that keep taking place in the way we interact with each other and the way we interact with businesses. In this virtual world, an online presence is your voice, and any successful business must make its voice heard.