The recent lockdown was another timely reminder for WA businesses that we live in a very uncertain business environment.

With the full lockdown only lasting three days it seems that we once again dodged a bullet. But our luck might run out, and if it’s not because of COVID, it will because of the next big disruptor.

Which makes now a great time to reflect on the importance of online for your business. During lockdown it is the only way for many businesses to transact with their customers. But even if your bricks and mortar business is open, most customers now locate businesses from a google search, including the 62% of millennials who prefer to buy over the net.

Consumers expect you to be online. If you have no online presence, then to many customers you just don’t exist.

They want to be able to locate your business effortlessly, browse services, see prices and make comparisons. Importantly, with an upswing in blower-angst, it’s essential that customers can make that on-line appointment, booking or purchase without having to lift a hand-set.

And don’t forget FAQs. Make sure these are clear and really do answer the questions that people frequently ask, even if they’re tough or awkward.

An online presence gives you access to a wider audience. Customers can make purchases or appointments while you’re closed, and your products will be available to those who can’t make it to your premises, perhaps because of transport issues, disability or time constraints.

Your online presence builds integrity and trust. It enables reviews and comments from satisfied customers and gives you a chance to highlight your expertise in your industry. Even negative reviews can be turned into a positive by publicly reaching out and righting wrongs.

It also provides a great opportunity for marketing. You can access ready-made audiences to market to through social media and subscriptions, and don’t forget those randoms that are browsing your site are already captive – they are there because they’re interested.

To get people to your site you should look at using search engine optimisation (SEO). With a bit of research you can learn the basics of this and common platforms like WordPress have functionality to guide you through it.

An online presence is not just important to grow your business. It’s essential for all businesses. Best estimates are that over 50% of people prefer to search online before making a purchasing decision. Being invisible online is like opening your shop every second day and expecting success.

Related blog:

Is the cost of your new website deductible?

Author: Mark Douglas