Many business owners still view their on and offline presence as two separate entities. However, the exponential growth of digital has made it difficult to ignore the need to reconsider.

Whether you’re a brick and mortar store or service oriented businesses, the chances are a high percentage of potential customers are looking for you online. Gone are the days of relying on window shoppers or Yellow Pages perusers to find you. This is the digital age, where window shoppers use smartphones and tablets, and mobile commerce is the norm.

What Should Your Online Presence Consist Of?

The below list contains four absolutely essential elements to establishing your digital footprint.

1. Website
The first step is to build a website that serves as an online storefront and gives potential and existing consumers everything they need to engage, interact, learn, explore and feel confident.

2. Social Media
Popular social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are vital to creating interest and engagement with customers.

3. Local SEO
Your business should show up in local search results for queries that contain your city or town combined with your products or services. Google Places is the most popular and effective tool for optimizing your business for local search engine optimization; however, it’s also important to create listings on other popular directories like Bing and Yahoo.

4. Online Reviews
Consumers are starting to put a lot of faith in online reviews from sources like Yelp and Google. It’s important to keep a close eye on your reviews, and encourage happy customers to provide positive feedback.

3 Dangers of Ignoring Your Online Presence

1. Your Competitors Are Ahead of the Game
Consumers are increasingly flooded with advertisements and offers from your competitors. The majority of these interactions happen online, through search engine results, paid ads and social media. If you aren’t taking advantage of current digital brand-building practices, you’re missing out on a lot of potential revenue.

2. The Longer You Wait, The Further You Fall Behind
A strong website with rich and unique content helps to build a solid foundation that search engines and consumers respect and pay attention to. It takes ample time and effort to build enough momentum to see results from things like SEO and Social Media, which means you need to start today in order to make up for lost time. Additionally, an outdated website may portray to consumers that you do not care enough about them or your brand. The web is a visual space, and aesthetics matter.

3. Online vs. Offline Identity Crisis
A brand that lacks cohesion and consistency between its on and offline presence is sure to turn off prospective leads and customers. Many businesses have a wonderful offline presence, complete with a beautiful storefront, modern office, strong branding and loyal customers; however, their online offerings remain antiquated and in need of a serious overhaul. A digital identity crisis is one of the most common reasons businesses decide to take the leap and update their digital identity.

by Fuze November 12, 2013