You don’t just need an online presence. You need a quality total online presence. That’s true even if your business is strictly word-of-mouth.
Think about it. When someone gives you a referral or hands you a business card, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like me, you go online before you make the call. I want to find out whether the company’s total online presence lives up to the expectations my colleague has created.
Does that company have good reviews on Yelp or LinkedIn? Does its website communicate the same warm, fuzzy feelings my friend has communicated about the firm’s business operations? Will a visit to the website be more likely to encourage or discourage a potential client from contacting you?
That online check is akin to what my friend calls her “management 101 check.” When she goes to a business location, the first thing she does is check the restroom. The attention to detail in the restroom speaks volumes about the attention to detail in the rest of the business.
Don’t be left out. The hard facts are that 97 percent of consumers now go online when researching products or services in their local area, according to BIA/Kelsey’s User View Wave VII, an ongoing consumer tracking study conducted with research partner ConStat.
You have to think of your online presence as a credibility platform.
So if you’re concerned about credibility (and you should be; credibility is the key to business success), here are five questions you can use for a self-audit. They will help you determine whether what you’re communicating online is useful to your target audience.
- Is what you do clear and easy to understand? Keep your language simple, and be diligent about translating industry jargon into layman’s terms.
- Does your website describe the kind of problems you solve? People need to know what you can do for them and why they might want to call you. Make it fast and easy to figure out, or they’ll go elsewhere.
- Is your site visually stimulating—or does it consist of long stretches of text? Provide some compelling eye candy to entice people, so they will stay on your site and look around.
- Are your location and contact information easy to find? You want people to contact you so make it easy for them. If you only provide limited access, such as an email address, that might suggest you’re aloof and unreachable.
- Have you made any changes or updates to your website in the past 30 days? If not—and if it’s clearly been years since you changed anything—it’s past time to start thinking about updating your online presence.
Of course, these five questions don’t equal a comprehensive audit. If that’s what you’re looking for, fill out our complimentary marketing audit form, and we’ll provide you with quality feedback.