Think of building your brand online as an opportunity for your business; an opportunity to grow as a business, an opportunity to communicate with your customers (talk AND listen), and an opportunity to simply inform your potential/returning customers in ways you haven’t been able to offline. If I haven’t convinced you yet, please read on.
1. Meet the demands of your customers
Customers are expecting you to be online. Roughly 80% of households in the U.S. are online, and anyone can access the internet from over 200,000 public hot spots Those are some shocking numbers. Having this amount of access creates a large demand for customers expecting businesses like yours to be online as well.
2. 24/7 Outlet to your information
By providing your information online, you give your customers a 24/7 outlet to everything they need to know. People are busy. They don’t have time to check your store hours by driving by your store. They want to see what kind of products or services you provide on their own time so when they find what they are looking for, they can stop in, purchase and leave. Of course not everyone is like this, but for the people who are, you would be providing a great resource for them.
E-commerce may sound intimidating, but with today’s website programming, you can easily integrate this into your website. Once you plug in the products/services/prices/shipping costs/etc… it allows customers to purchase what they need from you online. This gives people the convenience of buying from you on their own time and it gives you more sales. It expands your reach to customers as well. E-commerce is not for every business, but it could work great for yours.
Social media is another component to building your brand online. If you don’t have a Facebook Page, it is very simple to do (and it’s free). Click here to see how to build your first Facebook Profile. With Facebook, or other social media platforms, you can tell your customers what’s going on in your store (sales, events, etc…). Having a social media profile also allows you to communicate with your customers. They can let you know if they have any problems with your products or services, and you can correct/help/do whatever you need to do to fix those problems. This creates a great buzz around your business.
5. Cost efficiency
Many people have the perception of getting your business online costs you a lot of money. Surprisingly, building your online presence is much more cost efficient than any other channel (radio, newspaper, TV, out door, etc…). Click here to see a very inexpensive way to build your website.
Keep your brand in mind
You should extend your brand in a way that is consistent with your brand’s presence offline. Your hard costs are low to build your brand online, but invest in someone who can help you (not take advantage of you) so that you will continue to show customers why they keep returning to your store on this new online platform. Good luck with building your brand online. If you need help, or have questions, please feel free to contact me. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org