How A Poor Online Presence Can Hurt Your Small Business

How a poor online presence can hurt your small business

In our last post we took a look at some of the first steps to taking your business online. The COVID-19 pandemic has business owners starting to think differently about how they reach their customers. 40% of Canadian SMBs don’t currently have a website but are in the process of creating one. COVID is pushing these businesses online, but what if you’re already there and not gaining any traction? Here are 5 ways your business might be suffering from a poor online presence, and what you can do to turn it around.

1) Your Customers Can’t Find You Online

Ensure that all your online profiles are complete and up to date. It only takes a few minutes, but it goes a long way in keeping your customers informed.

Here are some of the essential services you should be using:

To go the extra mile, refer to this more extensive list and look into services like SweetIQ to help you manage them.

2) Your website is outdated

Once your customers have found you, now they need to find exactly what they came looking for. You want to be able to give your customers the information they’re looking for as quickly and easily as possible; this should be your priority. Customers are searching differently than they used to as well. In fact, 4 out of 5 consumers search for local business information on their smartphones and 50% of them visit the store within a day of their search.

Ask yourself these questions when doing an audit of the website:

  • Is the design up to date?
    • When was the last time you made changes to the website?
    • How you checked all your plug-ins to make sure they work as intended?
    • Does the layout still follow best practices?
  • Does the website appear properly on mobile devices?
    • Is your website responsive?
    • Given mobile’s importance, was it designed with mobile browsing as the priority?
  • Are any links broken?
    • Have you read through all the pages on the site recently?
    • Have you verified links pointing to external sites are still working?
    • Do you use a tool like Xenu to double-check?
  • Is all my business information up to date?
    • Have you recently changed or added locations?
    • Has your phone menu system changed?

By updating your website, you can also significantly improve your conversion rate, bringing in additional customers and profits.

3) You’re not consistent on social media

Canadians between the ages of 18 to 34 spend about 5 hours online daily, with a good bulk of this spent on social media. Because they are already there, they tend to start their search on social platforms. If they land on your business page only to see there has been no activity for months, or years, don’t be surprised if they assume the business may have closed.

Keeping up a posting schedule is a serious time commitment and no easy undertaking – but it’s imperative. “So how often should I be posting?” There’s no perfect answer, but based on numerous studies, these are the recommended posting frequencies:

  • Facebook
    • Facebook is the most popular social network in the world for personal and business users
    • 1-2 posts a day should give all your followers a chance to see your content
  • Twitter
    • Twitter is all about speed, posts can disappear from feeds within minutes
    • Without a high posting volume, your Tweets may get missed. Aim for 3 Tweets a day.
  • LinkedIn
    • LinkedIn is the biggest professional social network
    • 1 post a week should be sufficient here, there’s less posts on the platform overall

Again, these are just a guideline, don’t feel bad if you can’t keep up with these frequencies. Use your judgment, posting once a week may suffice for your business, just stay active.

4) Your website lacks credibility

A top-notch website will instill confidence and trust from your customers, a lackluster one will do just the opposite.

Here are a few ways you can quickly improve the credibility of your website:

  • Add customer testimonials
  • Display any awards your business has received
  • Let customers leave their own reviews
  • Add seals of approval to show your website is secure and trusted
  • Create and share high-quality content

5) You leave your customers hanging

Customers expect to get the answers they are looking for faster than ever before, especially online. That’s why online chat platforms like Facebook Messenger and Zopim are so popular. When a customer sends a message via one of these services or even by Email, they expect a response, and fast. The faster you answer, the happier the customer will be.

In fact, your response rate on Facebook is published for all visitors to see. To keep the rate up, try these tips:

Offering these communication options but not monitoring them will be more detrimental than anything. Customers with be confused and their questions will be left unanswered – don’t let this happen.

The only thing worse than a poor online presence is none at all. Keep an eye on our resources page as we continue exploring how to get the most out of your online efforts.