Time to Take Control
You will find many arguments as to why having a web presence is important, some suggest it is for promotional reasons, others may say its for the purpose of engagement with your target market, these are absolutely important and well worth maximising but at the end of the day it all comes down to one thing - control.
We are all familiar with the saying that word of mouth is the best form of marketing, well it may be (and often is when it is favourable) however as a marketer / brand manager / business owner it is also prudent to understand that this can also be one of your biggest enemies. The reason for this comes back to control. As you spend precious time, money and resources building your business you need to know that the intended message is getting to the intended audience. Businesses now exist in an age where customers look first to the internet to do their product research, this is where you want to be. In fact research has shown that consumers place the most trust in information found on brand websites (What Role Do Brand Sites Play in the Content Marketing Landscape?).
By establishing an online presence you now have a direct control over your correspondence with potential or existing customers in an environment where they are on the lookout for information. To clarify what I mean lets take a look at an example:
No web presence
Customers are searching online for information of product 'x', however this product has no website, social media accounts - nothing. The first thing the potential customer finds is a product review site for product 'x', as we know when someone has a bad experience they will tell more people about than if it was a positive one. Their first interaction with your brand is a negative uncontrolled experience.
Well developed web presence
While customers are searching for information on product 'x' they utilise a search engine. Where the results highlight a well optimised brand website and social media accounts for product 'x'. This becomes the customers first interaction with your brand - you are delivering the message you want, to the customer looking for your product.
In the digital realm we have to develop an understanding & acceptance that not all of the information that is out there about us is going to be favourable. We do however have complete control over one massive thing, our online presence. This doesn't mean hiring expensive web developers or communications agencies, as helpful as they can be. Your call to action here however is to get out and secure your piece of the web, grab that domain name, invest some time in building a well designed and user friendly web site using the tools that are available and take advantage of the wonderful tool that is social media. It's time to take control of your piece of internet real estate!