Let’s say for instance you’re searching for an Online Marketing consultancy service, you’re certain to go through all the usual steps, Google searches, Online Directories etc.. but how do you judge a business based on their online identity alone.
This can be applicable for any kind of business query, whether you’re searching for an outsourcing company or a plumbing service.
Before the dawn of the digital age you’d find yourself wading through a yellow pages style book, with no real idea of what you were getting.
When you’re faced with pages and pages of choices online, how do you select what potential business partner is the right one for you? You essentially need to get in the mindset of the consumer or your potential client.
This is what we’re attempting to find out, there are numerous aspects to consider as far as a business’s online presence is concerned.
Perhaps the most important aspect of finding a business, is their place on a SERP (Search engine results pages). After all, you don’t need to be a web wizard to figure out how important Google is for finding anything from businesses to the meaning of life.
The fact is the higher you rank for a specific search term, take the phrase “online marketing agency” for example, the more interest you’ll attract to your business.
As far as the user is concerned, is a business’s ranking relative to its success?
Getting on to Google’s front page is a potential goldmine as far as businesses are concerned, and it’s the chief purpose of the SEO industry, if you offer SEO as part of your business it’s essential that your business lives up to its name and is optimised accordingly.
Whether you’ve been recommended a website via word of mouth or through Google’s results pages, clicking the page is the next step. Your website represents your online presence and your overall brand, this is why major brands dedicate a massive amount of their budgets for web design, content management, web hosting services and blogging.
First impressions are crucial when it comes to your website, that means that the style, colour and usability of your website are all taken in to consideration.
Having an outdated website can instantly turn away visitors from your business and can give your competitors the edge.
Of course it goes without saying that the content on your page should be informative and relative to what your business offers too, if a user takes the time to read your website make sure they’re aware of your business set-up, your personnel and the services you offer.
How important are followers when judging a business?
This one of the most recent and intriguing questions asked by SME businesses, one thing is for certain your Social Media presence is becoming increasingly important in twenty-first century business.
We aren’t talking specifically about businesses related exclusively to Online Marketing here, having an effective or at the very least an active Social Media marketing campaign signals to potential clients and customers that you’re a modern, dynamic business that’s able to react to technological and cultural changes.
Having an engaged, loyal ‘fanbase’ lets other know that you’re a trusted business that’s likely to deliver good product/service, creating a unique selling point for your business.
Other contributing factors
Locality; Being local is a determining factor for some businesses, if your potential business partner is based close-by then you’ll have more of an opportunity to meet face to face.
The proximity of your business relates back to SEO, optimising your website so it targets your local area can be beneficial for many businesses but restricting for others offering a global service.
The importance of locality does depend on the nature of the business, particularly in the digital age. It’s now possible to communicate with almost anyone in the world seamlessly over the web, so this can be considered a minuscule issue when it comes to outsourcing companies and online marketing agencies.
Who runs the business:
Don’t be surprised if a user does some research in to the identity of the business owner, highlighting the importance of business profiles. Linkedin accounts in particular offer a glimpse in to your professional working life, how many connections you have, your previous work experience and even your endorsements can be taken in to account.
If you run a small business your online identity has to convey an impression of trust and effective results.
In this day and age almost every aspect of a business can be taken in to account if you’re offering a service or a product the user has to be fully confident that your brand can deliver.
All of these aspects to pose an interesting question as to what is the most effective way of judging a business?
By Richard Owen