Here is a great question to ask yourself as a business owner: “Can people find and engage with my business online in less than 30 seconds?” If you answered no to this question, then you are going to have trouble building and maintaining clientele in this day and age.
Online presence is a crucial part of operating a successful business. If the online profile is out of date, hard to navigate, or just not engaging, then people won’t stick around. However important those features may be to a website and business, there are far more components to running a business that needs to be considered. These are important to consider because they make up what has been considered and what the public engages in as an online presence.
What is an Online Presence?
Online business presence is the reference to all types of activity and content contained or accessible through an online business medium. This does not necessarily have to be a website, it can be an Instagram account, Facebook page, Twitter account, or podcast. There are two basic divisions of what makes up an online presence: owned and earned.
Your owned online presence is all that you as an owner, creator, and manager maintain control over. This is made up primarily of the information, content, services, and resources that you offer and are thus accessible to a client. Whatever can be found and engaged with — even 2nd and 3rd party links — are a part of what communicates your brand and services to the public. All of this contributes to the next point, the earned online presence.
An earned online presence is essentially what people, clients, or otherwise, say about your business after engaging with some aspect of the brand, resources, or services. What people say is, and this is important to remember, not limited to the platforms you use to present your business or services. The plethora of apps, websites, and social platforms each contain the inherent ability for others to make their opinions known about what they have seen or experienced. This is why ratings and reviews are important.
One of the fastest, and now most natural ways, that people make judgments about whether a business can be trusted or even worth visiting is the number of stars in its reviews. The point is that the online presence you have communicates powerful messages to the public, either deserved or not. How you control or own that presence is dictated by other factors.
Regardless of what platform or platforms are being utilized, each of those sources maintains a giving and exchange between business and potential clients. When considering all that you as a business owner communicate and demonstrate to the public it is essential to consider how each platform works together to present your brand and services.
Being that many of those platforms can work together through various apps to manage all the aspects of running a business, you have the availability as an owner to take advantage of what is called business analytics.
Benefits of Business Analytics
There is a massive amount of information that can be gleaned from the data derived through business analytics. The analysis of the data generated by an online business presence holds a number of benefits that, in the right hands, can be turned into things like personalized marketing plans, new products, risk avoidance, and promotions for production efficiency to name a few.
Here are a few ways in which the collection and understanding of your business data can show you your business presence online.
A More Personalized Customer Experience
Knowing and understanding your potential customers and regular clients makes a huge difference in your ability to continue providing services and resources that will keep those people coming back to you rather than another brand. A company that is diligent about analyzing its sales data from direct website traffic and that is generated through social media ads informs decisions about how and where people are learning about your business.
Furthermore, tracking customer frequency and spending rates to that website traffic will teach you more about what people may be thinking as they engage with your online presence. If things are going well, you can add more of what works.
Risks are all over the place today being that a large percentage of business is conducted on online platforms. Lost passwords, stolen credit cards, or breaches in security can have massive repercussions on a business’s reputation. Data analytics can help a company identify and mitigate risks in systems before they become an issue.
Properly wielded, information about the legitimacy of a customer’s personal information may protect you and even identify a potential threat not just to your business but to other customers that have been targeted because of a financial process in your system. Regardless of what information comes to light, a company that uses data analytics better serves its customers and itself.
Companies have the ability to improve their operational standards through the collection of data analysis. The study of this information can expose where in a supply chain there are production delays, disruptions, and emergent problems. By identifying such information, a good analyst can help to predict if vendors or macroeconomic factors will disrupt a business’s ability to deliver its products or services in a timely manner. It does not matter if it is your customers or suppliers that are visiting your online presence so long as you have the ability to garner information from the people you are interacting with by those means.
One of the best ways to maintain consistent service and inventory is to be able to track and decode the messages inherent within website traffic patterns. Without an online presence, all of that potential knowledge is greatly limited, and thus, as a result, an owner’s ability to make business decisions that generate new customers and greater profits.
About the Author
Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain, and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.