Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

online presence 2013This week the UK’s biggest department store chain, John Lewis, announced their incredible December sales figures: growth of 13%. This was despite poor performance in the retail sector in general and partly due to Internet sales growth of 44% on last year.

John Lewis’s managing director, Andy Street said, “That hour when we opened our clearance website, at 5 o’clock on Christmas Eve, was our single busiest day online, ever.”

It isn’t just John Lewis who have noticed a huge increase in online customers either. Information service Experian announced record numbers of people visited UK retailers’ websites over the festive period. UK internet users made 84 million visits to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107 million visits on Christmas Day, up 86% and 71% respectively compared to the same days in December 2011, according to Experian. The Boxing Day level – 113 million visits – was 17% up on the same day in 2011.

The growth of the internet means that shoppers are using digital devices such as tablets and smartphones to search for bargains – then only travel to those specific shops to buy those items if they need to.

So what does this mean for non-retail businesses?

With consumers becoming more and more accustomed to being able to check online for what they want, when they want it, the online trend is only set to get bigger and bigger. People no longer need to rely on information they get from friends and family – they have the whole world at their fingertips via the internet.

It means that whatever service someone requires, whether it’s a builder, solicitor, Dentist, Accountant or Beauty Salon, they can find the information online, research several companies, get reviews from other customers and potentially have made up their minds on which one they will use before they even pick up the phone to enquire in person.

Whatever line of business you are in, you need to ensure that your business can be found immediately that people search for you online. Whether or not they know your business name, if they search for your type of business, in your local area you need to be found. Even if your business demands that sales are made offline (like a Dentist, or Beauty Salon) people still need to be able to look for and research you online.

The internet means that even small businesses tucked away on quiet roads can compete with much bigger high street premises. With all the potential competitors out there, once someone has done a search on the internet they are presented with what can fit on to one page of the screen. Suddenly, your competition isn’t every business in the area, it’s those 7 or 8 businesses whose online presence is good enough to put them on the front page.

online reputation managementFor any business, reputation has always been important, but now that so much business and research is done online with less human involvement from the business in question, online reputation management has suddenly become even more important. Unless your business’s internet presence is top notch, you could be losing business hand over fist and not even know about it.

John Lewis has managed to do what an awful lot of businesses haven’t: they’ve kept their department store business strong and also built up an excellent Internet business that leverages the brands great reputation.  If they hadn’t built up their internet business, things could have been very different – there is already a long list of now closed down high street names who failed to capitalise online.

Don’t let your lack of an online presence make 2013 an unlucky year for your business!

Is Your Online Reputation Quietly Killing Your Ad Campaign?

Is Your Online Reputation Quietly Killing Your Ad Campaign?

Is Your Online Reputation Quietly Killing Your Ad Campaign?

Advertising is an investment, in some cases a very expensive and time consuming one, but the way consumers respond to advertising is changing. The internet has allowed consumers to research every detail of your company and brand, in many cases uncovering details that you may not even know were there to be found. This means that people won’t just believe the information that advertisers put in front of them. They will want to do their own research and check that not only is the offer you are advertising exactly what it seems, but also whether or not your business is one that they want to spend money with.

When setting up a new marketing campaign there are already plenty of things to consider, such as:

  • Who is your intended target?
  • What is your message?
  • What do you want to achieve from the campaign?
  • How will you measure the responses?

And now something else needs to be added to that list:

  • What will people see when they search for us?

Let me give you an example. A few weeks ago I had a postcard through the door from a local firm offering their services. The postcard was of very high quality, the printing was well done, the postcard was eye catching, well written and crucially for this business it did its job; I was interested and impressed enough to Google them!

Unfortunately, what I found there was a different story! The search engines pulled up plenty of information on the company in question, mostly in the form of bad reviews from unhappy customers. Was I still interested in using their services? Absolutely not!

Before spending any money on an expensive new advertising campaign, research your brand as a potential client might and see what you find. Perhaps instead of focusing on single campaigns, businesses should be considering how they can spread their overall influence to a bigger group through working on their online reputation.

online reputation

Online Reputation is fast becoming one of the biggest assets a brand can have. What is said about you and your business on internet forums, social media and directory review sites is often beyond your control, yet the comments there can make or break your reputation.

Online Reviews are a huge influencer, with approximately 72% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 52% saying that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business (Local Consumer Review Survey 2012).

As well as getting an idea of what is being said about you, you also need to understand the social influence of your own loyal consumers. If you can engage your own customers and encourage them to leave their own positive reviews of their experience with your company then you could leverage an incredibly powerful resource for your brand.

Marketers are always looking for the best way to increase their brand presence and market share. The internet has opened new doors for everyone and means that small local businesses can compete on the same level as much larger rivals.

Don’t let your online reputation get away from you, because if it does it could quietly kill off all the good work you do elsewhere.