cashpcIf you haven’t got an online presence or website for your business yet or perhaps already have one but don’t think it’s really helping then you might like to read on and find out why you should have a presence on the web and how you can make it pay for itself.

There are many small to medium business owners and entrepreneurs that still don’t really understand the benefits of setting up an online presence for their business or brand so if that sounds like you then you’re not alone.

Investing some of your hard earned profits into creating a presence on the Internet could be one of the best decisions you’ll make and if you don’t you may look back and regret not doing it later.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years you’ll know there has been a huge change in the way people access information and that includes how they find out about you and your business.

A few years ago it was the phone book or yellow pages that people used to turn to, then brochure style business websites started to take off, but most recently there’s been the explosion of smartphones and other mobile devices.

It seems now that just about everyone is online in one form or another and that most likely includes you so why wouldn’t you want an online presence for your business?

You may feel that “word of mouth” recommendations are your main source of new business but it’s worth remembering that those recommendations can now be made using social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as other places such as forums and review sites. You may not be into social media but a lot of your existing and potential customers and clients most certainly will be.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting that just having a simple one page brochure website is going to revolutionise your business although it would still be better than nothing, but there’s so much more that can be done and it’s a case of deciding the best solution for any individual business.

The Mobile Revolution
Probably the biggest single factor why you should have an online presence is to do with the current way people are accessing information and that means smart phones and other mobile devices or tablets. If you’re not sure then just think iphones, ipads, Blackberry, Samsung Galaxy, HTC etc and there are plenty more to choose from.

Need a contractor fast for some repair work or to get a quote, finding that special gift or perhaps something else, there are tons of reasons why your potential customers turn straight to the web to find what they want and if you’re not there then you probably just lost out to one of your competitors.

Reputation Management
Whether you like it or not you probably already have an online presence particularly if you’re a contractor or other business owner. You might be thinking well that’s great then so why should I worry about doing anything else?

Unfortunately it might not be as good as it sounds and could even be “hurting” you or your business. There are websites that may list your business details and also plenty where customers can leave reviews and feedback.

How do you think it looks if someone and especially a potential new customer or client sees a listing with no reviews,  incorrect details or even worse, just poor feedback.

It can be hard to keep every client or customer completely satisfied and there may be review sites where people can leave reviews which you have no control over so it’s a good idea to keep a check on what’s happening and ensure that your business and customer satisfaction levels are reflected appropriately on the web.

Online reputation management has become an important consideration for many businesses lately and perhaps it’s time to check out what’s showing up for your business.

I recently surveyed the online presence for a particular local business only to find that another contractor in the same trade was ranking highly for the name of the local business.

This was mainly because the local business didn’t have a good online presence whereas the competitor although still not great at least had something there, so basically anyone looking for the local business would just find the other out of town contractor who may then get the work.

More Customers and Business Growth
I left this point until last because it may seem the most obvious but is also the reason why some business owners simply don’t think having an online presence is important to them.

I mean, if you think your customers won’t find you via the web or aren’t on there regularly why would you bother? The truth is though that there aren’t many businesses that can’t benefit in some way by getting online.

Unless you’re already completely happy with the amount of business you’re getting and don’t want any more then the relatively small amount of investment needed to get online could pay for itself in just a few sales or maybe just one or two new customers per year.

How much is one new customer per year worth to your business? Maybe they spend £50 each month so that would be £600 per year or perhaps just a one off transaction that could be worth £1,000+, either way you probably wouldn’t need that many to cover your investment.

What Next?

Now we’ve established some of the main reasons why you or your business should strongly consider having a good online presence the next step is to look at how this can be achieved and that’s what we’ll get into next.