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Not Location, Location, Location…on the Web it is…

Not Location, Location, Location…on the Web it is Presence, Presence, Presence

It is continually drummed in to us that if we are buying a property, whether as a home or investment opportunity, the first three issues that must be addressed are Location, Location and Location.

Businesses have also had this stressed to them…the wrong location could mean the death of a business. It may seem like common sense. A winter sports goods store will not necessarily have a number of buyers visit the store if they are located in a seaside resort…no matter how good their stock is and what bargains they offer.

The key here is “…buyers visit the store…” They may get quite a lot of passing visitors…let’s face it “window shopping” is a common part of many people’s holiday (especially in British weather)…but the likelihood of them buying is small.

So, physical location is important to a business.

In the new market place(s) provided by the web, there are also three key issues, that must be addressed. This is not the location where your website is hosted, but your Presence, Presence and Presence.

• Presence is getting the right quantity of visitors to your website and/or social media
• Presence is getting the right quality of visitors to your website and/or social media
• Presence is having the right look and feel to your website and/or social media
• Presence is having ease of navigation and use on your website and/or social media
• Presence is having simple and effective calls to action on your website and/or social media
• Presence is having customer service backing up your website and/or social media

Presence is having your online strategy as a central part of your business strategy.

Gone are the days your website being purely a “digital brochure” of your business. Your website must be centrally involved in converting visitors to your business into customers…whether this is directly by allowing them to purchase from your website, or by calling them to another action such as telephone or online enquiry

Online marketing professionals enjoy working with businesses in helping them to establish and maintain their online presence. Simply asking the basic business questions:

• Who are you?
• Why are you in business?
• Who do you want to work with?
• What products/services do you offer?

Additionally, online presence can be defined and changed much more quickly and at far less cost than geographical presence and location. Think about the costs of a mistake (no matter how small this mistake may be) in geographical location and/or business layout: rent, rates, utility, staff, stock…opposed to time and minimal capital expenditure in online presence.

However, we still hear from business leaders who will not even invest any time to investigate their presence on the web. To the statement “We have had a website for 3 years, and gained nothing from it2 talking about a brochure site of a struggling business, I would like to quote Albert Einstein:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

…especially when the Web gives a new, multi dimensional, changing and dynamic avenue to the market(s).

This is why online presence and digital strategy should be central to business strategy. Web presence is not trying to do business in the same way as it is performed physically. It should at least assist in doing this and can be an extension to this.

I recently spoke to a fairly successful carpet fitting company about getting them a web presence. I was told “You can’t sell carpets on the web”. They were using the existing argument for their business, that it was not financially viable to measure over 20 miles away. They would not even understand that focussed online marketing could generate local enquiries at far less cost than radio or media advertising.

This is not an uncommon response, and I can only go so far in trying to educate people to the “new” possibilities. However, I did have to laugh, when 2 weeks later a colleague of mine secured contracts from another carpet fitting company – 1) to give them web presence to capture local enquiries and 2) to sell carpets on line nationally to the growing DIY market, who do not need measuring.

Online marketing and strategy professionals can help businesses establish maintain and improve their presence. Rather than having 100’s of visitors to a shop each day, who cannot find what they want, waste staff time or do not want to be “intimidated” by staff…resulting in as few as 5 purchasing. Would it be better to have?

• 20 visitors to your website each day who are interested in your product now
• The visitor likes the look and feel of your website and is comfortable to browse and not bounce out
• They are able to navigate your website to find the information they require
• Your website makes it easy to purchase or make an enquiry
• 15 of the 20 visitors are converted to customers
• Your customer services behind the website means they are always kept informed and therefore repeat business…and they spread the word

This is possible. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to get the right Presence, Presence and Presence. The first stage is knowing its importance.