When it comes to growing a business, many entrepreneurs can’t see the forest for the trees. They have no clear idea of what they want from their businesses and even less of an idea about how to get it. In time, such businesses either flame out or flounder. It’s better to make the most of your resources while laying a solid foundation for further growth. The process begins with understanding why building a powerful online presence is critical to your success.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that 10% of Philippine MSMEs have closed operations since June of 2021, with 46% of MSMEs in partial operations, and 53.8% reporting a decline in their sales. With these figures, it’s no surprise that many have adapted a digital means of conducting business, with varying degrees of success.
Due to the numerous business opportunities, business people and start-ups tend to focus on building an online presence for their business which comprises different online marketing strategies. The first important step is to create a business website. However, it’s just a small part of what needs to be done.
It’s not only about your business online presence but also your reputation. If you have a business that depends on client feedback, then an efficient way to get more clients is to have an excellent online reputation. It can be hard sometimes, but your business will grow as long as you stick to the basics.
– In short, an online presence is a collection of interconnected channels you can use to promote your business.
An online presence refers to your digital footprint and its impact on your brand. It’s experiencing success using social media, blogging, and building backlinks. It could also be something as small as a Google My Business page or as large as a dedicated website completely separate from your brand. Although simplistic, its definition highlights something significant. You need to think of your website as a foundation for many other interconnected channels to improve your reach and influence.
But a business online presence is more than just having a website. It is about how people find you and develop brand perceptions. It refers to your visibility, credibility, and reputation on the web. Having an online presence can help you do anything from letting people know who you are, what you do, and how to contact you to advertising your products and even fundraising for various causes.
According to the PYMNTS research, SMBs most commonly say they are interested in innovating new digital capabilities because they have no choice. It is shown that 38.3 percent of SMBs are interested in enhancing their digital offerings because many consumers are under stay-at-home mandates and are prevented from doing business through other channels. The second and third most common motivations for wanting to upgrade such capabilities are because they believe doing so will help them attract customers and generate new sales, with 37.8 percent and 30.4 percent citing these reasons.
● Get exposed to a broader audience
The internet offers businesses many opportunities to reach the right people and get their attention, automatically increasing sales.
“It’s only logical to go where the audience is, and that is online with the quarantine having increased the online activity. With a lot of businesses having started doing so, the challenge now evolves to how to drive and retain online engagement,” Norman Barrientos, the member of strategic partnership – APAC, said.
Online platforms expose you to a wider audience and promote your products and services to different communities worldwide. Word-of-mouth advertising is still one of the best forms of marketing at present. Organizations can harness benefits like enhanced exposure and recognition. Let’s go on!
Having a strong online presence helps to build your company’s reputation. Consumers are exposed to many different advertisements, having second thoughts about the credibility of a brand or product they have not heard of before. Customers tend to trust a business that has a well-established and visible web presence because it inspires credibility and reliability. You’ve probably visited a website and thought: “Who are these people?” When that happens, your trust in the business decreases. A connection with your visitors via various channels is important for establishing online trust.
Before taking the plunge and deciding to trust a business, internet users today are more likely to do some research first. When conducting research, most consumers consider reading comments in blogs and forum websites, as well as searching for businesses on Google and other search engines. The advantage of having a strong online presence is that it enables you to build relationships with the target audience and attract the desired clientele. By paying close attention and becoming involved with what goes on online regarding your business, you can take another step toward building a closer relationship with your audience.
Too many businesses in the Philippines today have a hard time staying competitive because they lack a strong web presence. You can have the best products, affordable pricing, and a great customer support team, but it won’t make a difference if no one is aware of your brand or products. Online marketing is so effective and helpful for businesses because it allows for expanding the reach of your business to places where you may not be able to reach and convert visitors into leads and sales. However, you will need to improve web presence to do this effectively.
Online presence is the new currency, and getting the most out of it means earning Google’s trust. Businesses that have been blogging for a while have gotten accustomed to creating high-quality content and, in turn, have gained trust in the eyes of Google’s algorithms, which tend to sort high-quality websites above others.
More and more customers are turning to the Internet to find answers to their questions and look at products before making a purchase. Whether it is to review a product before purchasing or to compare different brands, most people do some research online before buying. The world we live in now is a globally connected community that is always online, so the information about you and your business should always be available online to promote it even outside of your operating hours.
We’ve found that the more effectively you improve online presence, the closer you’ll get to reaching new audiences, driving leads and sales, and establishing yourself as a thought leader. There’s no magic formula for building a great digital presence, but there are many strategic elements to consider.
1. Optimise Your Website
Due to the scope of the Internet, it’s essential to stay on track and stick to tried and true methods of increasing online presence. You must properly optimize your website to rank well in search engines. Optimizing your site includes creating quality, keyword-targeted content and ensuring that users can easily find your pages on SERPs and actively engage with your content due to mobile responsiveness.
In addition to that, you should build relevant inbound links to your site from other high-quality websites. This includes developing relationships with industry bloggers and journalists interested in writing about your site and hosting it on their site as guest posts.
Finally, since users like sites that are easy to navigate, you should improve the usability of your website through ongoing user testing and feedback so you will have a good resource for anyone who uses your site. You should always keep track of your web presence and improve it constantly. Try using SEO tools like SE Ranking to keep track of any significant changes and make adjustments accordingly. The Google organic ranking checker can help you monitor rankings both for Google organic and paid search results. Besides rankings for every keyword, you’ll get the data on relative traffic forecast, search volume, the general level of competition, and presence in different SERP features. It also tracks Google Maps results, so with this tool, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of your online presence.
2. Set up Finances
Starting an online business in the Philippines also requires preparing the money-related aspects of running your enterprise. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores use cash for transactions, but when it comes to eCommerce, you’ll have to incorporate the digital aspects of payment processing from the very beginning. Otherwise, you risk losing customers in the process. At least you will need a corporate bank account, a business credit card, and some regular or recurring payment methods to be able to offer your customers more convenient ways to pay for their purchases online using debit, prepaid, and credit cards.
3. Social Media
Social has gone beyond being a separate entity of a marketing campaign – it is now an amalgamation of several channels that help a company connect with customers directly. It allows you to build relationships with the potential audience and keep them interested in your company. And it’s not just about engagement and sales but also about building rapport and loyalty with customers.
There are tons of social media sites that you can use to build an online presence of your brand. However, if you hope to stand out in a crowded field, you’ll need to focus on social media that reaches your target audience. For example, for a company that manufactures digital cameras, it would make more sense to be active on Youtube and Instagram than on Twitter. With almost three million monthly active users, Facebook is a prime choice for many businesses. Data published in Meta’s advertising resources indicates that Facebook had 83.85 million users in the Philippines in early 2022. Fortunately, it’s also the place where most online consumers initiate the research process that leads them down the path to purchase. Among other social media platforms, there are also Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, Quora, etc. Numbers published in Meta’s advertising tools indicate that Instagram had 18.65 million users in the Philippines in early 2022, while figures published in LinkedIn’s advertising resources show that LinkedIn had 11.00 million “members”. According to Twitter’s advertising resources, Twitter had only 10.50 million users in the Philippines.
4. Optimise Local Listing Platforms
Online local searches are growing day by day. Businesses must go back to the basics and make themselves more accessible to their customers, who can be found anywhere on the web. A way of reaching out to them specifically is through local listing websites. Location-based search is one of the major searches in the current market! Brand positioning, awareness, and visibility can be improved considerably by maximizing online presence through local listing platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp, etc. Local businesses in the Philippines get a lot of benefits from them. However, it takes time to create a page and ensure that it’s optimized to get the desired amount of traffic and clients.
5. Respond to Reviews
Nowadays, word-of-mouth is what brings clients to a particular business. Reviews are a great way to see how people feel about your product/service and what they perceive as its key benefits or problems. A positively reviewed service or product is suitable for building trust and gaining new loyal clients. But what if someone loses their temper and writes something that can be interpreted as negative?
It might be because something bad happened to them, and they want to take it out on someone else’s product. Most customers trust recommendations more than advertising. That’s why we should remember to look at each review carefully and find the best way to respond to each type of review.
6. Invest in Online Advertising
If you are serious about your business, online advertising is a must. For a lot of digital marketing companies, it may seem like a luxury when in reality, it’s the future. Whether selling discounted local services or running an eCommerce site, online advertising is one of the most effective tools for getting your message out there.
You can’t afford to keep your head in the sand and hope that your sales will increase over time if you do nothing. There is no guarantee that this will happen, and it will not happen on its own. The power of online advertising lies in the fact that it’s so targeted. With all the data on the public’s (and each specific person’s) consumption habits and preferences, you can target the right people with your ads.
Whether you’re running a small, locally-owned business or have an international organization in the Philippines, you should be developing a regular strategy for maintaining and building your online presence. Many people rely on search engines to discover local businesses like yours. Whether you handle this work in-house or have a trusted internal or external partner, it’s worth taking the time to understand the tools and strategies to enhance the search results so you can achieve a competitive edge. So, leverage your investment in online marketing and follow the above-mentioned tips to bring new customers to your business and maintain a strong online presence!