Investing in and building an online presence can be one of the best decisions for any business today. Most of your customers will be active on the internet and online availability in proper executions can and will make a huge difference to your business marketing campaign. That being said, having a strong online presence goes beyond building a website and having accounts on all social media platforms. Taking your online presence seriously is all about working to stay visible and relevant to your customers.

The road ahead is long. If you’re ready to take your small business online, be sure to avoid these mistakes.

1. Not having a website

A HUGE problem with businesses trying to grow is when they lack having a website. The only thing worse is when you are trying to start a business without a location or a website. With the majority of people being online and numbers only set to increase, you can’t afford to not have a website. Even if you consider yourself to be a primarily offline business (for example a salon or a cafe) still having a functioning website in place can help you unlock immense business potential.  It can pave the way for stronger offline relationships with your customers. Keep in mind, being seen and being able to be found is one of your main objectives. Not having a website depending on your business could also stop you from being approved with The Black Enterprise.

With the website you could also take on the opportunity of increasing your social media awareness as well as pre-introduce sells and other events prior to them happening!

2. Having a bad website

First impressions matter and this is applicable online as well! Apart from having a visually appealing website, you also need to ensure that the message you’re trying to convey to your customers is clearly presented to them. Strong visual imagery, quality content and quicker load times are equally important. Having things in order and properly sized photos and pictures is very important. Think about how you would want a website to look if you were visiting it to make a purchase. The website should also fit the niche that you are trying to present. Have your address and contact information easily visible, as your website could be the first point of contact for new customers that may have questions.

3. Not optimizing you for mobile Users

According to Statista, mobile devices accounted for 49.74 percent of website views worldwide in 2017. In addition to this, it has been projected that the number of smartphone users will go up to 2.5 billion in 2019! It goes without saying that having a functioning website that is optimized for mobile phone users is essential for all businesses.

4. Not creating device-specific/Media specific ads

Bear in mind that behavior and search intent vary highly among desktop users and mobile phone users. Desktops or tablets are used in similar scenarios, and these device users are typically not ready to commit — they’re just looking for more information. On the other hand, mobile phone users are looking for fast results, and are more likely to respond to your call to action. Needless to say, your ad copy should be altered to the audience and the device they may be using.

Mobile-optimized ads receive higher click-through rate on mobile devices, as compared to ads that aren’t optimized. So set a mobile preference for your ads on Google and get creative. If you’re using call extensions then they should be set up to use one button dialing.

5. Not being accessible

Your potential customers are most likely to look for you online first, and if you have a strong online presence across platforms, it’ll give you a competitive edge over other players. Furthermore, your business can remain open 24/7 with the power of the internet. Whether you help your audience with tips and tricks, in-depth information, directions or more, you’re sure to build stronger relationships with them.

Make your business accessible to your customers by making contact information readily available. Don’t force customers to contact you or make payments in a particular way; be open to all forms of communication across channels, and diversify payment options.

6. Being present everywhere

Building your online presence doesn’t mean you have to have an account on all social media platforms. There’s such a thing as “too much,” and you don’t want to realize later on that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew! You’ll have your website, blog and other traditional advertising to manage, so choose other outlets considering the platform users and what you want to convey to them. The Black Enterprise offers several ways to keep your traffic flowing. You could give advice or tips about your business here, you can write stories about things you learned as a business owner here, and if you need help with traffic flow for social media and online you can sign up here.

Note that you’ll need to churn out different content for all networks. Sharing the same stuff across all platforms won’t help you reach your targeted audience. You’ll also end up with bored followers. The key to deciding where to be present is understanding where your customers spend time. If it’s Facebook, then head on over there. If they are more likely to browse LinkedIn, create a LinkedIn presence, etc.

7. Not implementing local SEO

In a survey, 89 percent of participants said they searched for a local business on their smartphone at least once a week. This only means one thing: You can’t ignore local SEO if you want to build your business’ online presence. If you have no clue as to what to do, The Black Enterprise has businesses that specialize in web development. You can search for them here.

Even if you want to reach out to a global audience with global SEO, implementing a local campaign will reward your business with good rankings on the search results page for your area. This can boost your business visibility and provide exposure to local internet users. Boost local SEO by incorporating local keywords in your website content and optimizing meta tags. Embedding a Google map on your Contact Us page and verifying your Google My Business listing will also help.

8. Abandoning it all

Whether it’s a stagnant website or a Facebook page that’s not monitored, abandoning your efforts to build your business presence online can be detrimental to your image. People look for proof of life when it comes to your business. If they go to your social media and see that it hasn’t been touched in 3 weeks. to them, you don’t have enough traffic to care. For example, if a potential customer lands on your Facebook or Twitter page that has been inactive for quite a while, they are bound to wonder if you’re still in business, eventually moving on to your competitor.

Giving up on your efforts also means missing out on social media conversations relevant to your business and industry, and severing ties with your followers. More often than not, businesses abandon their efforts to build a strong online presence only because they can’t see returns on investment. It’s necessary to realize that this is going to be a long-term process, and consider revamping your strategy if required.

There’s no doubt about it, having a strong online presence can benefit businesses in more ways than one. With the information provided here, you now know what mistakes to avoid when taking your business online. Keep in mind that building an online presence and SEO implementation can take 3 – 6 months and that’s when its done properly. Begin working on it now and the time will pass soon enough. If you take the time to have these things set up properly it WILL generate more free traffic for your site. If you need help its easier to reach out to a professional and get it done correctly. It could cost you more not to do so.

The Black Enterprise| Thee Urban Business Platform

Are you serious about the growth of your business? Own a small to mid sized sized urban business and looking for help? Sign up for The Black Enterprise while its free!