"Simply put, the difference is that your website is one place where consumers can learn about your business, while your web presence is the collection of all the places across the web where they find and engage your business." (Todd Ebert)
As a local business owner, you can no longer rely on a sole website to grow your business. Ten or even five years ago, sure, just having a solitary, static website was enough validation of your proof of business to consumers. Those days are gone. While your website is your most important piece of your web presence it can not be your only piece.
What is Web Presence?
As stated above, your web presence is the collection of places across the web where your consumers can find and engage with your business. Your web presence includes: your website, social media pages and accounts, directory listings, blogs, reviews and more. The greater your web presence, the easier it is for your consumers to find you and interact with you.
Why You Need A Strong Web Presence.
At this point you may be thinking, "my customers already know who I am and my business is doing well, why should I bother with this web presence thing?"
Let me ask you this - what if you could double your business with minimal effort and/or minimal money?
Let's look at a few statistics for how your consumers are using the Internet to find your services and products. While traditional advertising mediums (TV, print, radio) may not be dead, they aren't the strongest form of advertising for your business any longer. Your consumers are looking for you online - and they're not just looking at your website.
BrightLocal conducted a Local Consumer Review Survey in September/October 2010 via an online poll of local consumers across the US and UK. You'll be amazed at how your consumers are not only finding your business but determining whether they even want to use your business or not.
Q: How many times have you used the Internet to find a local business in the last 12 months?
79% of US consumers have used the Internet to find a local business in the last 12 months. 42% of people aged 16-34 use the Internet every month to find a local business.
"So what," you wonder, "I have a website. They'll find me there."
Except, that's not necessarily the case. Look how much your consumers base their decision on whether or not to use your business because of the online reviews about your business.
Q: Do you read the online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business?
71% of US consumers have consulted online customer reviews of local businesses.
Q: How do online customer reviews affect your opinion of a local business?
55% of US consumers trust a local business more after reading positive online reviews. And while younger consumers are more believing of online reviews than older consumers, 57% of people aged 55+ still trust a local business more if they have positive reviews.
Q: How do online customer reviews influence your decision to select/use a local business?
50% of US consumers are more likely to use a local business having read positive reviews online.
And it's not just online reviews that your consumers are looking at, they'll also find you through your social medium involvement such as on Facebook or Twitter. They may find your business through your Google Places page or through Yelp. And the more of these pieces of the Internet you have claimed for your business the easier it is for your consumers to find you.
TeamBishop - offers Internet marketing solutions for local Orlando businesses. We specializing in paid search (pay-per-click), social media, display advertising, online chat and web presence. We are ReachLocal Orlando's senior Internet Marketing Consulting Team. ReachLocal is an Internet advertising and digital marketing agency that specializes in helping small to medium businesses acquire, maintain and retain customers via the Internet.