As 2017 comes to a close, our team has been reflecting a lot on the work we’ve done this year.
One thing we noticed is our clients’ continued interest in all things digital from websites to social media to online advertising.
More and more of our world is finding its way online everyday. We talk to one another, read our news, get our educations, buy products, book flights, watch TV. Think about how different the world looks today compared to just 10 or 15 years ago.
We shouldn’t have to tell you how important it is for your company to have a digital presence, but on the off-chance that we do…..you’re company needs to have a digital presence.
What Is A Digital Presence?
The best way to understand this is to think about what happens when someone searches for your company online. Essentially, having a digital presence just means your company exists online in one capacity or another.
This can mean having a website, being on social media, putting your location on Google, etc.
Consumers spend a lot of time researching companies and products online. Without a digital presence, you miss the chance to make potential customers aware of your company and its services. If your competitors are online, those missed opportunities will likely go to them.
While it is important to exist in a digital space, you don’t want to just jump straight into the deep end without some floaties.
Make a Plan
Develop a plan for your digital efforts that is customer-focused and consistent with your company’s brand.
Goals: What are you trying to accomplish by taking this action?
Brand: Think about your company and what actions are going to fit with your brand.
Audience: Consider who you’re talking to, how they talk and what they need to know.
Message: Think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.
Strategy: What is the best way to deliver that message to the consumer?
Depending on your goals and strategies, some of these components may differ for each action you take (i.e. building a website vs. managing a Twitter).
What Should I Do?
When it comes to building a digital presence, there are a wide variety of routes to take. However, there are some online tools and tactics every company should consider.
With a few exceptions, websites are going to be the best place to start for businesses looking to be online. When it comes to designing a website, always keep the user (customer) in mind. Make sure your site is informative, visually appealing and user friendly. Some standard pages your website should feature are: home, contact, about and services. Also, make sure to choose a simple URL that is logical.
According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of the American public uses some type of social media.
Social media is a constantly-evolving tool. New platforms are born and others die in the race to accumulate users. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good starting points for most businesses, but there are so many others to choose from: Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, etc.
When choosing which sites to use, keep two things in mind: Does it fit with my brand? Will I be able to consistently produce content?
Don’t join a new site just because it’s novel. Join because it is relevant to your brand and what you do, and if you can’t post regularly, a lack of content can be just as telling as bad content.
However, it is also important to provide your customers with valuable content. You can’t spend all day trying to sell yourself. People will get tired of hearing the same message and unfollow you. Social media is a walkie-talkie, not a megaphone.
97% of consumers used the internet to find a local business.
It is important for customers to be easily able to find your business, especially if you are a local business or dependent on your brick-and-mortar location. Make sure your business can be found on places like Google Maps and other similar sites so you can capture that potential foot traffic.
85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So, we know consumers go online to find businesses, and we know they go online to read reviews. If your business is not online, that means the ever-expanding number of consumers who shop this way may not even know your business exists, giving your online competitors the edge. These online reviews also give you a way to persuade consumers you’re worth checking out.
Blogs are a great way to demonstrate expertise and provide your customers will something of value. They also can help increase your online visibility.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) essentially means all the efforts you take to increase your ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). For example, if you search “soft drinks” on Google, The Coca-Cola Company is the first business to appear in the results. This means that Coke’s SEO for “soft drinks” is very good. There are many factors that go into developing good SEO.
You can check them out here.
Why Is Having a Digital Presence Important?
When people search for your company online, they should be able to find you easily. Customers need to know you exist before they can decide whether or not to use your services or buy your products.
Think about storefront signs. Prominent signs draw more attention. Using these tools to improve your digital presence gives you a more prominent sign online, which can turn into increased sales, better awareness, etc..
The majority of people spend a lot of time researching companies and purchases online before they call or step through your door. If the first impression you can make on a consumer comes from an online experience, it’s hard to make any impression at all if they can’t find you there, or worse, it might create a negative impression that causes them to move on to a competitor that they can find.
You can demonstrate to people your knowledge and expertise in your industry, therefore, establishing your trustworthiness. It’s one thing to say you are the best fitness center in the city. It’s another to demonstrate to people that you are by showing them on Facebook that you have the best equipment and most-skilled trainers.
People connect with people. Emphasize that your company is made of real people who can identify with the human experience. Having good online interaction gives you the opportunity to make meaningful, lasting connections with customers, which can be valuable brand assets.
It Never Sleeps
Unlike more traditional advertising, your digital presence is always at work. It is there at 2 a.m. when you’re sleeping, and it’s there on the holidays when your office is closed. Your digital properties are working for you company even when you aren’t.
You can use digital assets to craft a brand.
Digital efforts are cost-effective and can be relatively inexpensive with the right tools.
The online world isn’t limited to what’s in your backyard. It reaches across cities, states, even countries.
Byte the Bullet
With all the tools at your disposal, there is almost no excuse for not having a digital presence, especially when it is becoming more and more crucial to businesses every year.
If you still feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of going digital, give us a call, or shoot us an email. We love what we do, and center our work around delivering knockout results for our clients.