Which Type of Online Presence is Best for Your Small Business?

Mr. Always Write, Online Presence

It’s no secret that online presence matters for small business success. How reachable have you made yours?

So, you have a new business and want to start gaining an online presence? Or, your existing venture isn’t garnering the type of attention you expected? Maybe you’re doing research for a new investment, to see where the digital adventure starts?

Whichever scenario fits yours best, I’m here to provide some insights into the world of online presence for your business. Not just that it matters, which I’m sure is obvious without having to read my insights, but also the avenues that are best for you.

There are a multitude of digital worlds to reside within – some free, some not. They are all in the business of attracting yours, so you can help their network expand and further validate their existence. But that’s not your job. Let them do the work to attract the attention they’ll profit from.

What is your responsibility, however, involves you finding the most suitable ways to market your business and all that you offer. With the number of options out there to help you do so, a little bit of research could go a long way. And a lot of hard work will certainly pay off.

I’m here to break it down in a way that makes sense, so I can hopefully make it a more enjoyable journey for you.

Pay attention, it’s free. And it might save you a few bucks, too.

Social Media Profiles

First and foremost, whether you’re on social media for personal use or not, this isn’t debatable when it comes to maximizing your online presence. You have to embrace this world. Period.

Now, there is a lot of variety. Which is great, because it means you can be selective and make sure you’re marketing your business exactly where you want to be. Focus on becoming more accessible for people to find you and they will.

You should start with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I explain why in this post.

Some numbers to consider, accordingly to Smart Insights:

  • There are over 3.8 billion active social media users.
  • These platforms saw 321 million new users last year.
  • It’s predicted that 50% of the world will be on social media this year.

It’s free to create business profiles across social networks. But there are costs if you want your content to get better placement. Sponsored posts give websites like Facebook revenue streams, in exchange for putting you in front of more viewers.

These services are efficient, in that you are in control of setting your own budgets, publishing unique ads, and targeting whoever you chose to. It’s a much more tactical way to advertise, as opposed to the more traditional methods of the past.

Paid adverts are in no way obligatory, but they certainly help. Especially if you have a specific goal, new campaign, or are trying to get the word out in general.

Online Marketplaces

You’ve likely been seeing more online buy and sell type service ever since eBay started the trend back in the mid-1990s. Despite the saturation in that landscape, some of these services stand out amongst the rest and continue to dominate with their demand.

They offer you a place to progress your success with what you’re selling online.

Statistics that matter if you’re looking to sell goods online:

These online mega malls provide sellers with an efficient way to get their products exposed and in front of their millions of active visitors. As these sites battle each other to gain more viewers, you benefit from gaining more potential customers.

My wife, Alexandra, runs her own luxury bath product business, Bath Buddies. She has always sold locally by participating in artisan shows and marketing across her social channels, but wanted to expand to a greater reach. Alexandra landed on Etsy and her online shop now allows her an efficient platform to do so.

And if you offer services instead of products, like me, you might benefit from checking out platforms like Fiverr to give you an online advantage in being found as a freelancer. The flexibility and efficiency on a platform like Fiverr are second to none, as well. You control your workload, services, and fees.

Keep in mind, these are not free. Basically, be prepared to pay to post an item and/or a commission for any actual sales. After all, these are for-profit services just like yours is.

Be savvy with your pricing structure and be sure to account for how it all impacts your bottom line.

Your Own Website

Despite any other online world you decide to present your business within, having your own digital domain is incomparable.

If your website is designed, marketed, and managed in a way that embraces the essence of your business effectively, the value is infinite.

Not only can you control the content you share and how it’s showcased, but there is less reliance on putting your money in someone else’s pocket to highlight posts or generate sales.

Creating an online world has become more paramount than having a physical location. It doesn’t matter what you’re offering, if the public can’t find you online then they’re moving on. Your potential customers will locate what they’re looking for, whether you’re there to be found or not.

When you aren’t limited to the structures and layouts that others force you to fit within by using their services, creativity becomes endless. You can design a space that represents exactly what you want it to, which can be a major advantage for attracting and retaining your own customer base.

We all have inherent reactions when surfing a site. What is our initial impression of the overall look? How does it make us feel as we scroll? Is it easy to navigate? Did we find what we’re there for? Was the experience enjoyable?

That’s all in your control with your own website. There is an added workload to attract visitors for yourself, but that comes with an unparalleled advantage to not having to settle within someone else’s vision. It’s yours to build.

Strategizing Your Presence

Whether it’s a social media site like Facebook or an online marketplace like Etsy, having others do the heavy lifting to enhance your online presence is certainly an appealing approach. But, as I’ve outlined, it typically comes with a cost. Besides, those efforts should be fixated on driving traffic directly towards you anyway.

You want to be in a position where you control the experience people align with your business.

Ultimately, external business support services can all be utilized collectively with one another. There’s no debate that there is still value to strategizing with the help of other services. Just make sure the end goal is always a visitor at your address.

An important distinction to make is that not everyone is on each of these services. You’ll only ever be exposed to a segment of a potential market with whichever you choose to be part of. However, there are more than 4.5 billion people online in general.

Just consider where you’ll end up when you want to research that next produce or service you’re looking for. Whether it’s a new family home or a blog writing services, odds are that you’re inputting the desired details into a search engine and seeing where the internet tells you to go next.

Am I wrong?

Have others be lead directly to you. Social media and online marketplaces represent a fraction of the overall internet userbase. The only number that really matters is how many people are actually online, as in the whole database of connected users.

With your own website, they are all your potential customers.

Now it’s up to you to make sure those that are seeking what you offer can find it with ease. And if they enjoy the experience once there, you’re even further ahead in this game.

Shaun