How Much Online Presence Is “Enough”?
OK, you’ve seen the statistics (and you don’t live under a rock) so you know that your local business needs some kind of online presence. Maybe you already have a website or a Facebook page, or an Etsy store.
But is it enough?
And how, exactly, do you know what “enough” is online? How do you discover that “sweet spot” that is the intersection of your available time/money/interest and the amount of new customers and revenue your efforts generate?
It may be tempting to say that the answer is going to be different for each business, but in reality it’s not. Here’s why:
This is what it’s like for your potential customers as they walk down the street with their noses glued to their smartphones. (No, not because they can’t see where they’re walking.) This image is a good metaphor for the typical online experience.
Maybe they start on their Facebook feed. They click a link on a post from a friend and wind up on a website. They see a link there that they follow. A notification comes in that someone has tweeted or messaged them, so they swipe over to that. Someone brings up that cool store two blocks away that just might have the widget they’ve been looking for, but they can’t remember the name so Google doesn’t really help. It’s too far to walk on a whim so they don’t bother… and that business loses a sale it would have easily gotten if it had been under the nose of someone 2 blocks away.
You Cannot Have Too Much Online Presence
So how much of an internet presence is “enough?” CAN there ever be enough? The store in question with the cool widget probably had a Facebook page. Maybe even a dedicated website. But neither of those were under the nose of the person who was most likely to come and make a purchase at that moment.
If you look at the image of the maze above and imagine you were trying to guide the people to the gazebo in the center, how would you do it? You can’t tell which path they might take trying to get there. So the best way to guide them would be to put signs in as many places as possible telling them which way to go.
The same is true online. The more places your business can be found the more likely it is that potential customers will find you. Not only is that like being at multiple corners of the maze where they can stumble across you without actively trying, every place you establish a presence online increases your potential to appear in search results when they are actively looking for you or something you offer.