Every business has a website these days. Yes, even tradies who are serious about generating brand awareness have websites that they are using to great benefit. But thinking an effective online presence is limited to just having a website is wrong. An online presence today is not just about the website, but how you’re using the convergence of your site, social media and content for building your brand.
But you can only do this if you know why you need to build a rock solid online presence; this includes your website, your social media presence, blog and also your presence on other sites by way of guest blogging etc. Why is this important? What benefits will it bring to the table, especially for tradies? Why does it make sense for tradies to invest in an online presence?
Let’s take a look:
- A strong online presence improves business visibility
- Online Presence Enhances Brand Reputation
- A Powerful Online Presence Build Trust
- It Helps your Build Relationships
This benefit is the first thing people say to you if you ask them why going online is good for your business. While this reason is correct, it’s important to understand that just having a web property doesn’t mean more awareness. You need to use a collection of internet marketing strategies to ensure your target audience is made more aware of your website.
Nearly half of your website traffic comes from organic search so you need SEO to empower you website, only then can your website improve the visibility of your local business. By making use of Local SEO to ensure your tradies website is displayed at the top of the search results of your target audience, you can ensure more people see your website. This improves your chances of improving business profitability.
What if you are an electrician with loads of talent, but nobody is really aware of it. You see other electricians in the neighborhood get the best jobs, but you are left twiddling your thumbs. But, wait! You’ve now got yourself a website and some exceptional SEO work means it figures right on the first page of search engine page results of searchers trying to find an electrician. What now, because you still can’t seem to convert the substantial web traffic into paying customers?
The reason is you’ve not leveraged your online presence to improve brand reputation.
This can be done by creating exceptional content that showcases your expertise. Write solutions driven niche centric posts on your blog, create ‘How To’ videos (for e.g. basic light switch wiring) and share them on YouTube, join relevant discussion forums, offer solutions to people who are facing specific electrical problems in their homes and or office; the idea is to make use of a collection of online avenues to shore up your reputation.
If you don’t tell your customers about your proficiency, how will they know you are actually quite good at what you do!
Use an online presence to engage with your target audience. If you’ve got a blog, make sure you respond to the comments that a particular post attracts. If somebody commented, they’ve liked your post; a simple thank you is in order. If they’ve expressed a contrarian opinion, debate it and win them over with your expertise. This will help create trust in their minds about your abilities.
Something else you must use is social media.
An important subset of your larger web presence is your social media presence. You must be active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest (if applicable for your business) and any other locally relevant networks to personally engage with your audience. Personal interaction helps you build trust by responding quickly to feedback, which essentially improves customer service.
Say you’re just back after handling an electrical problem, and the customer tweets that the problem has recurred. An immediate response saying you’re on your way to sort of the problem is a mark in favor of your customer service. This over the long term helps build brand trust. This is just one example of the many different ways you can use your online presence to build trust in your services, one interaction at a time.
Somewhere amongst all those people who are accessing your web property and/or online content are your influencers and advocates. Influencers are those whose words and recommendations matter for their fans and followers. One good word from them about your services and your business will hit the roof. But for that to happen you need to forge relationships with them and this won’t happen in a hurry. It requires establishing clear lines of communications with the influencer by leveraging your online presence. This could be your website (the posts on it), emails, and interactions on social media or anything else that you can think of.
Make sure your online conversations have some value for the influencers, something that will make them want to interact more with your brand. Over time this will help you build a relationship based on mutual respect.
The same brand of thinking goes for establishing relationships with brand advocates. These are people who will act as ‘free promoters’ of your services. But again, for that to happen, you’ll need to first identify them, and start interacting with them. Brand advocates are very particular about the brands they give a shout out for. In this case it’s your service.
Why not try and connect with some of the well-known names in your neighborhood and making them your influencers and advocates? It’s not very difficult to identify people whose word carries some weight in a particular neighborhood. Target them online. You can reap rich dividends if you get your target right and are able to forge a relationship with them.
If you think these reasons are more than adequate to get yourself an online presence or add more meat to your existing presence, get started immediately. In the online world, time is of the essence. Don’t waste it.