Studies have proven that advertising consistently over time can increase profitability by 30% or more. This is true because advertising helps build brand recognition that ultimately influences purchasing decisions. In our Internet driven world, a strong online presence works like a robust advertising campaign and may be all you really need to make more money and increase profitability.
This is the reality;
The Internet has changed how consumers shop and interact. Almost everyone has access to the Internet. In fact, almost all consumers now use the Internet is some way to shop locally. As a result, using your online presence to advertise and promote yourself and the products and services you offer is more important than ever.
This is why:
The consumer purchasing decision making process hasn’t changed for thousands of years. When a consumer has a need or desire, they search for a solution, then they compare options, make a purchasing decision and a post purchase evaluation.
What has changed over time is how the availability of tools that help consumers work through the process. In our world today the entire process can be accomplished without ever talking to a salesperson or walking into a store. It can all be done online.
The reality is this;
Consumers are in control. There are search engines, social networks, business directories, websites and mobile applications that consumers can use to search for products and services, compare options and get recommendations without moving their eyes off their computer or smartphone screen.
What that means is this:
If you sell products or services, you must get your business listed on as many search engines, social networks, business directories and mobile platforms as possible. Creating a website and Facebook page isn’t going to do much to improve your online presence in the Internet world of today.
If you don’t have a strong online presence, a large segment of potential customers may never even have the opportunity to consider purchasing anything from you, because they don’t know you exist.
Your online presence can define your brand. People identify with brands. Developing your online presence helps convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience. It will help you define who you are, what you do, and can differentiate you from the competition. Your brand is your identity; it helps you convey trust and develop relationships that lead to customer loyalty and more sales.
This fact isn’t surprising:
Surveys indicate that consumers prefer to purchase products and services from people and businesses they trust. You wouldn’t purchase products or services from people or businesses you don’t trust, neither will anybody else.
This however is really important;
These same surveys indicate that consumers will pay more for the same product or service if it is purchased from a person or a brand they trust. Consumers want to be satisfied with their purchase.
Many studies have been conducted that try to measure how consumers use and react to different types of advertising and delivery platforms. Many of these studies confirm that a strong online presence is important to consumers today. A study by Neilson concluded that consumers now believe branded websites can be trusted more than any other form of advertising other than the personal recommendations from friends and family. Seventy percent (70%) of global consumers now say they completely trust branded websites.
Branded websites are themselves defined and identified by a strong online presence that not only promotes credibility of the site itself, but improves search engine ranking.
This in turn influences purchasing decisions. In other words, a consumer’s trust in the advertising type and platform directly increases the probability that he or she will be positively influenced by that advertising.
Traditional advertising is expensive. More importantly, it’s not nearly as effective as it used to be. In fact surveys indicate that not many people trust the advertising they see or hear on most traditional advertising platforms. As a result, a random advertising campaign on these traditional platforms is generally ineffective.
Think about this:
Consumers are bombarded with advertising messages from the back of sales receipts and coffee cups to highway billboards and online banners. The human brain can only absorb so much information effectively at any given time. As a result, consumers have become very good at effectively ignoring advertising messages that are fed to them that they don’t want or need. This further diminishes the return on investment of traditional advertising campaign.
Currently the most expensive form of advertising is on prime time television and the least expensive in improving your online presence. The cost to reach 1000 people on prime time television is approximately $34 as opposed to $8 for general online presence improvement.
If you sell products and services locally, your ability to develop a strong brand identity may directly affect your long term ability to make more money and improve profitability. Clearly, money invested in advertising, packaging, public relations, sales promotions, word-of-mouth marketing programs, etc., all contribute to developing a strong brand, but given the facts, nothing is more important today than developing your brand online by strengthening your online presence.