Is your small business struggling to stay up-to-date and embrace the power of the Internet? Establishing an online presence can greatly benefit your local small businesses by expanding your reach and improving customer engagement. It can also allow you to have an online storefront where people can find out more about you and it makes your business look established and professional. Here are 10 ways local businesses can enhance customer experiences through an online presence:
Create a Website
Start by making sure you have an online presence in the form of a website for your business. Create a professional and user-friendly site that showcases your products, services, contact information, and business hours. If you sell products, your website can act as a digital storefront where customers can learn more about your offerings or even make purchases. Utilize enterprise search technology to make your website more user-friendly.
Develop Social Media Profiles
Social media can help you build an audience and establish an online presence. It is also a good way to connect with your customers, keep them up-to-date on happenings in your business, announce sales, and utilize social media sharing features for free advertising. Set up and maintain active social media profiles on online platforms that are likely to be frequented by your target customer. Share updates, and promotions, and engage with customers to build a community.
Work on Local SEO
Make sure that you optimize your website for local search engine optimization (SEO) by using relevant keywords and location-based information. This helps your business appear in local search results when potential customers are looking for products or services in your area. In addition, if you are trying to expand your customer base beyond your local area, especially if you want to eventually offer products for sale on your website, utilize more broad SEO practices as well. This will help potential customers find you on the world wide web.
Update Online Listings
Take the time to find and list your business on popular online directories that apply to your field. Ensure your business is listed accurately, with all pertinent information such as your website, services you offer, and contact information as well as your hours and location. This helps customers find your business easily and provides them with the essential information they need to contact you or visit your physical location. Remember to update these listings regularly.
Check Online Reviews and Ratings
Keep on top of online ratings and reviews of your business. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on online review platforms. Respond to reviews, both positive and negative, to show that you value customer feedback. Make this a regular part of your (or your social media team’s) schedule so you don’t miss important reviews and complaints.
Offer Online Ordering or Booking
One way to grow your business is by reaching new customers. Consider utilizing online booking for services or online purchasing. This convenience can attract new customers and make the shopping or booking process easier for existing ones. Make sure that you also have other ways for your customers to contact you or visit your physical location. This way you will provide options for customers of all kinds, no matter how they choose to shop.
Utilize Content Marketing
Take advantage of your social media presence to market your business. Create and share valuable content related to your industry on your website and social media platforms. This positions your business as an expert and attracts potential customers seeking information. Make sure that your content is valuable, educational, helpful, or humorous. This will help your customers feel valued and keep them part of your audience.
Begin an Email Marketing Campaign
Email marketing is a powerful and inexpensive way to connect with your customers and audience. Collect email addresses from customers and use email marketing campaigns to keep them informed about promotions, new products, and upcoming events. Make sure that your emails are adding value to your customers’ lives. Experiment to find a good posting schedule. If you send emails too often you might seem spammy and annoying, while if you go too long between emails your customers might forget about you and your services.
Create Virtual Tours or Demonstrations
Once you are accustomed to online marketing and have a high-quality, professional website, consider adding virtual content like tours and demonstrations. Use videos or virtual tours to give customers a peek into your business, products, or services. This helps build trust and familiarity, especially for businesses like restaurants, gyms, or salons. You can also use videos to provide product how-to guides, tutorials, and recommendations.
Provide Online Customer Support
Finally, use your online presence to create a better customer experience. Provide customer support through your website, social media, or email. Quick and responsive online customer service can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Consider offering helpful features like a FAQ section, a chatbot for easily-answered questions, and a chat feature for direct communication with customer service employees.
Having an effective and functional online presence requires consistent effort and engagement. Regularly updating your website, posting on social media, and interacting with customers online can help your local business stay relevant and accessible to your target audience. Make sure that you add new online features slowly enough that you and your staff can learn how to utilize them, adjust to the new tasks, and schedule maintenance and online work so nothing gets forgotten or neglected.