Importance of Online Presence or Reputation for Your Offline Business – w3Police
As the owner of a successful offline business, you must be assured of its bright future. But have you ever considered the idea that by creating online presence for your business you can establish a better relationship with customers and push up your sales further? Don’t you think that your competitors might already be doing so? Or has the thought ever crossed your mind that your internet absence might actually be hurting your business. If not, then let us share a few real life scenarios with you that will put some light on matters that you might have been overlooking so far.
Case1- You have a Successful Offline Business, but on the Internet People can’t find you. Can it be Hurting your Business?
Your offline business is getting lots of sales and earning lots of word-of-mouth referrals. But have you ever wondered what people see when they Google about your business? Or have you ever tried doing it yourself? And, don’t you think if they cannot find you on the internet, they will hardly become your customers?
Every business is building its website to inform new and existing customers about their offerings and to make a connection with them even before doing any business. By missing out on it, you are certainly losing a huge opportunity to engage your customers and expand your business.
Case2- Building a Website can be Costly but you can at least Use Social Media to directly Interact with your Customers.
Okay, you may think spending thousands on building a website is too much of a risk. But that’s not the end of the road. We are living in the age of internet and smartphones, where people remain logged-in 24/7 to their Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. accounts. So, a huge opportunity is lying ahead of you which you can grab simply by creating your business’s profile on different social media sites.
Whatever you share on social media reaches thousands in seconds. While in real world an advertisement campaign of yours would require thousands of dollars, in online world you can do it with a simple Facebook update. Plus, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. people tell you what they really want. Therefore, they are also good resources to know about your customers’ needs.
Case3- You don’t want to go Online because you are Afraid of Bad Online Reputation, but your Online Reputation can still get Hurt.
Surprisingly, many offline businesses aren’t going online simply because they are afraid of negative online reviews. After giving it a thought, we figured that it could be because of not providing ‘up to the mark’ services. If you can relate your business with this situation then let us tell you that if you are not online, it doesn’t mean that your customers cannot screw up your reputation in the online world.
You may not be aware of it, but local business directory sites like Google Local and Facebook for Business automatically create profile of your business using its geolocation details whenever a customer mentions your business’s name on them. So, like it or not, you already have an online presence and reputation. Except for these profiles, there are countless online discussion forums where people might already be criticizing your business and its services. So, you can either stay offline & pretend nothing is happening, or you can go online to handle matters professionally and minimize the damage.
Apart from these, there is another threat that looms over your offline business. There may be fake online profiles in your business’s name that someone has created to get some online traffic. In worst case scenario, someone can buy a domain with your business name and use it for false advertisements or for illegal cyber activities.
Impact of all these will surely mirror on your sales and you will have no clue, what went wrong from your side.
Case4-Customer Service of your Offline Business may Seem Good to you, but do your Customers Agree with you?
You may think that your sales representatives are doing their job quite well, as your business is doing pretty well and your after-sale feedback’s (if you have implemented it) are also good. But there can be a twist in the story.
When customers interact with you face-to-face, they tend to sound okay with your services, even if they are bit unsatisfied. It is simply because of the fact that people, in general, try not to be rude to others on their face. Now, the reason of dissatisfaction could be, not finding the product easily, the sales guy didn’t help, cashier was too slow or rude, and a number of other things. And just because your customers didn’t tell you about their dissatisfaction outright, it doesn’t mean that they won’t share it with people, especially on social media and online consumer forums where they will get more attention rather easily.
The thing is, while you remain unaware of your store’s poor customer services, people might be criticizing and making fun of it in the online world. And if you keep ignoring the online world, in long terms it may hurt your business in a very bad way.
Case5- Your Social Activities might be getting Highlighted in the Online World and damaging your Business Reputation in Long-Terms. Have you thought of it?
How you are seen in society directly affect your business. For instance, everything is going well with your business, but one day you are in news for your rough public behavior, like rash driving, public fight, animal cruelty, etc. and the next day people will feel reluctant in doing business with you.
People will definitely gossip about it behind your back and post it online. And if posted online, it will reach more people in less time. Gossips might die away with time, but once something is posted online, it sticks there unless & until you do something about it.
When new customers will come across such stuff online, any time in the future, they will definitely drive away. And, need we say if you don’t take necessary steps in getting rid of such online stuff, it will also affect your personal reputation?
Case6- Advertisements like ‘Grow Hair in One Week’, ‘Reduce Weight Instantly’ can end up as Huge Internet Troll. Are you doing the same?
To beat your competitors, you need to brag about your services. True! But are you crossing the line by promising something that isn’t true? You may think that everyone else is doing so, then why shouldn’t I. But if a false promise of yours get caught up in an online troll, the results can be devastating.
Trust us, if you become a victim to online trolling, it will be nothing short of a living nightmare. On Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, everywhere people will make fun of your business. You yourself might have come across many such trolls or even have shared it with your friends. Of course, your intention is definitely not to destroy someone’s business by sharing something humorous with your friends, nevertheless, it is bound to work in the very direction.
Additionally, as a startup, you may get some free publicity through these trolls, but it won’t help you in getting more sales anyway.
Case7- Online Reputation Management is Important for your Offline Business, & you understand it, yet you feel Reluctant to Dive-in.
After all this discussion, we believe that you agree with us on how important online presence and reputation is for your offline business. Many of you already might be dealing with some of the above-mentioned situations. And for some of you, these situations might already affecting your business.
Do not wait until your damaging online reputation begin to hamper your offline business. Act upon the suggestions discussed throughout the post. Use social media, optimize your business profiles, and ensure that people in the online world see you as they see you in the real world. You don’t have to spend any money in doing them, so, implementing them shouldn’t be too much of a trouble.
Even if you don’t think that your business is facing any of such situations, at least buy a domain with your business name. It will hardly cost more than a few dollars. But if someone else purchases it before, it can even cost you your business.
The motive behind creating an online presence for your business isn’t only to boost sales. Your online presence also lets you interact directly with your customer and learn what they actually need. Online reviews on your product and services give you a fair idea about what needs to be done in order to improve them. Additionally, social media and other online mediums are the most effective ways to reach a wider audience in less time and with lesser investment.
Tell us your thoughts on the cases we have discussed in this post. Share your own experiences related to online reputation of your offline business with w3Police. And if you need consultation regarding any of the above mentioned situations or some other that we didn’t discuss, then we would love to be of some help to you.
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