Having an online presence for a business is an idea many Nigerian entrepreneurs are yet to give a thought. While many businesses are leveraging the power of the internet to grow their brands and increase their sales, many more still operate without a website.
The reason for the low internet presence is probably because many entrepreneurs do not see the need for it. Unlike the developed nations of the world, the internet is still being underused in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
For instance, consider the study that showed that 46 percent of US business owners do not have a website which was rated to be poor, how many percent do you think would be Nigeria’s? 70 percent? 80 percent? It’s apparent that the percentage is on the high side in Nigeria.
If you’re one of those who think having an online presence for your business is unnecessary, here are 7 points to help change your perspective.
1. Business credibility
Having an online presence boosts your business credibility. It makes your clients/customers to have confidence that you’re legit and brighten the image they have of your business. A study conducted in 2015 revealed that 84 percent of consumers believe that businesses with an online presence are more credible than that without one.
When a customer rates your business to be credible, not only will you experience ease in doing business, you will also enjoy frequent patronage.
2. Greater customer reach
One of the biggest challenges facing every business is how to reach potential customers. The days of waiting for customers to troop in is long gone. Any business that wants to thrive must actively seek to reach potential customers.
The internet remains not only one of the cheapest but also the most effective way of gaining new customers. With over 91 million Nigerians active on the internet, you can reach as many people as you desire with options to choose your target audience using filters like location, age group, gender etc.
3. Cost Efficiency
You can save a lot of money doing business online than on the outside world. For instance, you could run a business online at little cost whereas using a physical location could gulp loads of money through several outlets.
Even in terms of advertising, you can reach more people online than you possibly could do offline. For instance, as that the time of this writing, you can reach up to 6,000 people on Facebook with a sponsored post costing just N1,000.
4. Business Discoverability
Many people are turning more to the internet as a mean of searching for businesses close to them. In a survey commissioned by GoDaddy, 83 percent of surveyed businesses said their online presence gave them a competitive advantage over businesses without a website.
An online presence makes it easy for people to discover what you do. A search on Google by potential customers can open doors of patronage which you could not have otherwise gotten elsewhere.
5. Your Store will never close
It is natural for stores to have opening and closing hours. However, this can sometimes be a disadvantage as it limits your chance to earn more. What if a business opportunity shows up during closing time but you’re nowhere to be found?
Having an online presence eradicates this problem. Now you can have a store (point of contact) online where you can respond to messages and enquiries on your internet-enabled device at any time of the day. Even if your offline shop closes and you’re not available, an online option makes it possible for you to be able to relate with potential and existing customers.
6. Business sales tool
Among the many functions an online business serves, the foremost are:
- · To inform
- · To engage
- · To convert
It is difficult to achieve these three crucial functions offline for a small business but with the use of the internet, this three vital functions can be easily achieved.
7. Unlimited networking opportunities
Prior to this era, the only way to connect with similar minds was to join several chambers of commerce and business clubs. The eligibility requirements are typically many and burdensome.
That problem ceases to exist when you give your business an online presence. The greatest networking of this age is now done online and they can even be trans-national or trans-continental. This helps you access helpful materials and counsel to grow your business (no matter how small it may be.)
An online presence could either be running a website (or a blog) or it could be having a social media platform. The most important factor is that your presence is now on the internet and you can grow your business by relating with your customers.