The following is a guest blog from Luke Hyde, founder of Drive Digital Advertising.
The last 16 months have been some of the toughest local businesses have ever seen. The shutdown caused many to lose business, lay off employees, and some, unfortunately, even had to close their doors. Luckily, businesses have reopened and many are seeing a light at the end of this tunnel. However, even as things trend in a positive direction, it is important to not forget the pandemic and to learn from it. There are many valuable lessons, but one of the most important is that having an online presence is essential. Businesses that were able to adopt an online footprint during the pandemic were able to do much better than those that could not. Even as we shift back towards normalcy, it is clear that the online world is not going anywhere. It is becoming more and more important to daily life, and because of that, it should be more and more important to businesses. In this article, I will break down three specific reasons why having an online presence is what can help you survive and thrive no matter what is going on in the world around you.
Reason 1: People Need To Be Able To Find You
Let’s start with a simple question: when people need something, where do they turn first? The answer is simple: Google. Some people may argue that they turn to friends, family, coworkers, etc, but there is no denying that the internet is becoming the answer to almost everyone’s questions.
According to research done by GoGulf in 2019, 46% of Google searches were for local information. If someone needs to hire a roofer or go to a new restaurant, the chances of them searching on the internet are very high. So, if your business is not online, you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity for new customers to find you.
Reason 2: Online Ordering Is Here To Stay
During the pandemic, many people missed face-to-face interactions and the ability to feel what they were buying. However, people also began to realize how beneficial online ordering can be. With just a couple clicks of a button, online ordering can save people time and effort, and because of that, people are not going to stop using it. Yes, more people are starting to physically go back to stores, but do you really think that’s going to stop them from ordering online? The answer is no, of course not!
The US Census Bureau News reports that “The first quarter 2021 e-commerce estimate increased 39.1 percent (±1.4%) from the first quarter of 2020 while total retail sales increased 16.8 percent (±0.5%) in the same period.” This confirms that e-commerce is here to stay and growing rapidly. During the pandemic, so many businesses did not have the capability or knowledge on how to allow individuals to make online orders. This was a major reason for lost revenue and places going out of business. So, to keep up with the changing times, and to be able to adapt more easily if something like another pandemic ever occurred, having online ordering is very important.
Reason 3: Online Marketing Can Oftentimes Be Way More Cost-Effective
The final reason why an online presence is essential for online businesses comes down to the fact that building an online presence and promoting it can be some of the most cost-effective marketing strategies you can employ for a small business. Creating a Google My Business and social media accounts are totally free. There are many low-cost options for building a website.
Even advertising on social media and Google has a much lower barrier to entry than traditional forms of advertising like TV and radio. For example, you could get started spending 5 dollars a day on Facebook and reach hundreds if not thousands of people. No other form of advertising is that inexpensive. The thing to keep in mind is that while all of these can be lower cost, they still require time and expertise to execute correctly. Luckily, there are many resources on how to get started.
The Best Time to Get Started: Now!
I hope this article shines some light on why having an online presence is something you do not want to miss out on. I highly encourage everyone who is reading this to not wait and take action. Working on your online presence may not seem like a pressing issue, but I can assure you that you may only realize its importance once it’s too late.
Finally, if you realize that having an online presence is very important, but you don’t have the time to figure it out yourself, that’s okay too. I have a program called The Small Business Digital Road Map which is designed to help teach individuals how to get started with digital marketing without spending a lot of time, money, or effort. These video trainings will be just what you need to get started on your journey to building and strengthening your online presence. No matter what though, getting started is the most important step.
Luke Hyde is the founder of Drive Digital Advertising.