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advantages disadvantages online presence small business

When researching products, consumers are most likely to go online to start their search. Of course, this is why most companies have websites. An online presence for your business not only helps with building your company brand, but it can bring in most of your sales.

If all your marketing is primarily offline, the idea of creating an online business presence might seem a little overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. It starts with your online company profile.

A company profile contains information about your business that will be used in your website and on various social media channels. It is not simply a letter to tell your customers what your company does. You are going to have to dig a little deeper than that.

  • First, you start out with the basics, which is explaining what the company does and what products and services are provided.
  • Second, you also want to talk about any achievements and growth your company has experienced.
  • Third, move on to any goals that are not yet achieved and what you are doing to make it happen. This will give consumers a clear idea about your company and whether they want to align themselves with you.

Pros and Cons of Creating an Online Presence for Your Business

Before you decide if an online business profile is the right fit for you, you need to be aware of the disadvantages. Not every company has the same goals and it is important to align your decisions with goals.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of creating a public company profile.

Advantages of an Online Presence for Your Business

Larger audience

Going public with your company profile gives you the ability to reach a larger audience. Millions of online users can now reach your website. This does not happen overnight, but the potential is higher than spreading the word offline. This one factor alone is usually enough motivation for creating an online presence for your company.

Accessibility 

It is important for customers to know that they can reach you easily. Having this information online helps potential customers reach your offices. Not many people use the phone book anymore, so it can be frustrating for potential customers if you have no contact information online.  An online small business profile easily solves this problem. Make sure to update this information if any changes take place. It’s equally frustrating to your prospect when they find outdated contact details.

Creates trust

Having a commanding online presence makes consumers feel more comfortable about dealing with your company. Many prospects will do a quick online search to see if your company is legitimate. When they find nothing, they might assume that you aren't a professional business. The time spent writing a company profile is never wasted.

Free Advertising

This is not to say that having a company profile online will cost you nothing, but it adds more value than it takes away. You now have the ability to promote and advertise your company in an organic, professional manner.

Brand Building

Your company brand is vital to its success and your company profile is one aspect of brand building. Delivering on the promises contained in your company profile is where brand building comes into play. Only promise what you can deliver, and you will be on your way to building a solid reputation and brand.

Disadvantages of an Online Presence for Your Business

Downtime

The internet is not perfect and relying on digital marketing alone is not the best idea. Even though downtime is rare, there are moments when it crashes or slows down. Use a good hosting company with reliable up-time. Make sure your website loads quickly to avoid a drop in your ranking.

Spam

What will the internet be without spam? Just as your customers can reach your company profile, so can those annoying spam senders. Your inbox might eventually explode if you don’t have a spam folder. There are inexpensive spam filters and plug-ins for nearly all websites that will prevent most spam problems.

Bad Reviews

Going online gives consumers the opportunity to tarnish your company's reputation. This can be due to one customer having a bad experience and writing a negative review built on this disappointment. It does require a lot of good customer service in order to avoid it from happening, but no one is perfect. As long as your company has more good reviews than bad, you won’t have to worry about bad publicity.

Competition

When you stay in your own little bubble away from the internet, you might not even realize the amount of competition out there. As soon as you start developing your new online profile, this really starts to sink in. Yes, you have lots of competition. But with that knowledge, you can use your online presence to distinguish yourself.

Conclusion

A company profile can be positive or negative, but there are far more pros than cons when done correctly. Everything is moving online and it is important for small businesses to keep up with, and be aware of, digital marketing trends. If you’re only marketing your business offline, take the leap and you might discover a whole new world waiting for your company to explore.

Our guest author Keira Brown is a professional writer, specializing in articles for business websites. Writing is one of her passions, along with extreme sports and reading.

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