I have been invited to speak about Online Presence by the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday 16th January in King’s Lynn; you can book here. It is such a big subject that I have had to narrow it down with the following assumptions about the audience.
- We are based locally, although we may serve a wider area
- We are small businesses (not big brands, not primarily eCommerce)
- We are not experts such as a web design agency
- We want to learn about practical things we can do
- We want to know what we should ask the experts to do for us
What is Online Presence?
In essence, it is where you can be found online and what you look like when you are found. For the majority of small, local businesses, it is highly unlikely that the first place they will be found is their website. I would argue, therefore, that they should spend at least as much time on the more likely places that they will be found, as they do on their website. These include directories, review sites and social media profiles.
Technical v Creative
In general, for those who wish to DIY as much as possible it pays to focus on the creative side of online presence rather than the technical. If a small business owner wants to do the technical side as well then they should be aware it takes a large amount of time to learn. It is almost certain that their time would be more profitably spent elsewhere.
The biggest change
Arguably the biggest change is that Google and its competitors do not want you to leave their ecosystem. They don’t want you to follow a link that takes you off somewhere else like a third party business website. To combat that you have to ensure that your presence is optimised inside the ecosystems that matter to your business.
The result of this trend is a reduction in the number of visitors clicking on your website which should focus the mind on what to do with your website visitors in the first place. There should be more emphasis on the funnel (or journey from awareness through conversion to advocate). In fact, the funnel should be accessible from multiple online touchpoints.
You only get one chance to make a first impression
Attendees should leave with a better understanding of where they could and should be found online. They will understand the importance of making a good first impression and therefore of optimising their online profiles wherever they may be. They will get a sense of the trends that affect every business and how to take advantage. There should be a better understanding of what needs to be done and who should do what.