June 30, 2015
We all realize how involved technology is in our lives today and how important it is to have 24/7 access to the internet either for business or leisure. We all want to connect to the “world” no matter where we are, what time it is, or what we do. And we can see that so many businesses in St. Louis offer free Wi-Fi for their customers including coffee shops, sandwich joints, shopping malls, hardware stores, gyms, and even gas stations, because they know that their customers value it.
It provides a service and convenience to them and also helps differentiate their business from the others. Especially when it comes to certain businesses, it could be one of the most important factors that customers use in deciding where they are going and how long they are willing to stay. Well, if you think about it, the longer we stay for example, in a coffee shop, the more likely we will end up buying another cookie or an extra cup of cappuccino, which in turn means more revenue to the businesses.
And really when we want to meet someone for lunch or coffee, recommend a gym, hotel or auto repair shop, didn’t that WiFi give an extra star to one business over another when checking out the business’ review?
Having good online reviews can work as effectively as having good referrals, and for start-ups and St. Louis businesses in their infancy, the result is exponentially greater.
Word of mouth referrals can only touch a few people at a time, compared with online reviews. The sheer scale and reach of the internet is many times that of the old technology word of mouth, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the added bonus of credibility. According to statistics reported by BrightLocal, an international marketing research company, the study shows that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 52% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if they have positive reviews.
Also, those reviews could have more impact on consumer buying decision if they seem to be trusted messages because they were posted on reputable websites specializing in online reviews by identifiable reviewers like Yelp, Angie’s List, or Google.
One of the best marketing plans then for small St. Louis business start-ups to introduce themselves, promote their products and service offerings, and connect to potential buyers is to use a well conceived, well constructed, user-friendly website.
Accompanied by several positive online reviews, this is probably one of the most effective marketing tools available to the fledgling business. Having one’s company website found on Google today is just like seeing your company info published in the Yellow Pages back in the old days. There is no argument that websites creates online visibility. According to the numbers published on ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database, almost 3 BILLION people, equal to 40% of the world’s population are using internet today.
A company’s website is used to deliver its messages to the world. More importantly, it promotes legitimacy to the business, and because this is where people would search first to check out the business and answer questions they might have, it helps reassure the consumer’s confidence when the business’ information can be publicly found on the internet.
Legitimacy, trust, exposure, and faster growth for less marketing dollar. That’s what a good, focused, well put together online presence can do for your business in its early stages, or anytime if you don’t currently have a good online campaign already. And that all translates to $$$.
So what are you waiting for?