Why is a digital presence so important in business today?
Are you thinking of starting your own small business and wondering how to get customers?
Have you recently started your business, but no-one knows who you are and what you do?
Are you wanting to boost your digital presence and don’t know where to start?
A digital presence is an important part to business today. We all know the world of online shopping has gone through the roof in recent years. People want answers to their questions now. People want access to this information wherever they may be. This means having your business showcased online for everyone to see. That is having a digital presence.
Having a strong digital presence allows businesses to reach a wider audience and provides a place for customers to engage with your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Why not promote your business whilst you are asleep? Make your business visible to the world. It also provides a way of receiving customer reviews. We all know that reading positive reviews persuades how we view a business.
The convenience of having information available at our fingertips wherever we are is a huge advantage. If I Google ‘landscapers in Wollongong’ from the comfort of my couch after dinner, I am more likely to engage with a business that pops up on my screen then and there. I’m not going to wait until the advertisement section of Saturday’s newspaper. The other day I made a dessert straight from my phone in the kitchen….not the old Womens Weekly Cookbook that’s been sitting on the bookshelf for years. It was far easier to search on the internet than go searching for the cookbook. Search engines have become our best mates in the digital world we live in.
Digital marketing is more cost effective than traditional advertising including print and television. Printed material becomes outdated as business information changes. You can update digital assets at any time without the need to fork out more money to reprint. Television is costly and restricted to certain timeframes. Your business is not always on show. And the longer you want to promote your business, the more expensive it gets.
Another benefit of having a digital presence is the ability to collect and analyse data about customer behaviours, preferences and interactions. Google Analytics allows you to track user activity – what region users are from, what pages on your site they visit, average engagement time on your site, the number of page views and many other measurements. All these are invaluable to seeing what’s working, what’s not and what you can improve.
You may have been in operation for many years, have a stable customer base and are satisfied with how your business is tracking – that’s OK too. But if you are a startup or unknown business, you don’t want to be that business that is falling behind in the digital world. Keep up with your competitors.
In today’s digital world, having a strong online presence is essential for businesses to remain competitive. Businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors, attract new customers and drive business growth, by investing in digital assets.
To have an online presence, you need digital assets – online assets that promote your business 24/7. There is a variety of digital assets which a business can build and utilise. These digital assets will help boost your business in today’s online world.
Maintaining your business’s digital presence takes time and effort. It’s an ongoing project.
Here are 5 ways to boost your digital presence and keep up with your competitors.
Don’t be left behind.
1. Build a website
Your website is one of your most valuable business digital assets. It is working hard 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, putting your business on show. Search engines need to find your business to show it off. It acts as your online storefront, providing your customers with information about your business, products, services, upcoming or current promotions, news updates, blogs and contact details.
There are many website building platforms in the market today. WordPress, WIX, Squarespace, Shopify (eCommerce) and Weebly are some of the more widely used website builders. Some of these have free versions, however like anything ‘free’, they come with functionality limitations. It’s important to select a website platform that can create a visually appealing, easy to navigate and functional site that suits your business. Don’t forget the mobile friendly version either.
To have an effective site that gets seen by your target audience means choosing a website platform that optimises search engine ranking. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an essential element for your site to perform. Connecting your website to an analytics platform like Google Analytics, allows you to track the site’s performance including keyword ranking.
You want to be seen in the online world, boost customer engagement and have a website that gives your business credibility and increases brand awareness.
2. Be active on social media platforms
Social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are all highly used today. Depending on what business you have, you can target certain demographics. LinkedIn, which has been around for about 20 years is popular for professionals and making connections with people who could become customers. Facebook, the world’s most popular platform, can target a huge population of all ages. Instagram is ideal for sharing photos and videos. Video content is becoming increasingly popular. Twitter is ideal for short comments and Pinterest is a visual social media platform, ideal for e-commerce businesses. It all depends on where you think your potential customers hang out. Target the right audience.
It’s not a case of setting up your profile and leaving it be. It needs frequent ongoing posts.
Discuss topics, answer questions, interact with others, share valuable content that’s related to your business and use hashtags to target keywords.
3. List your business on online directories
Listing your business on free online directories is a great way of boosting exposure and gaining backlinks for your website. These backlinks help your search engine optimisation (SEO). Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a great place to start. Your business will stand out on Google Search and be found on Google Maps. Google is the most popular search engine in the world. Bing also have their own listing – Bing Places for Business. You can synchronise this with your Google Business Profile.
4. Use an email marketing program
Using an email marketing program saves time and money. You can send out the one email automatically at designated times to all your subscribers, without the need to send individual emails. These emails keep current and potential customers in the loop with your business and related topics. They communicate with your target audience, help build relationships and boost conversion rates.
Building an email list is a valuable digital marketing strategy which allows you to stay in regular touch with customers and prospects. It’s a way of promoting your business through targeted email campaigns.
There are many email marketing platforms in the market, some free and some paid. Mailchimp, Mailerlite, Active Campaign, Hubspot and Omnisend are some of the popular platforms. They give you the ability to send automated emails to your subscribers at different intervals. Subscribers can sign up to receive a lead magnet (checklist, template, hot tips etc.), sign up for your newsletter or opt in to receive updates.
Using an email marketing program also allows you to track metrics including open, click through and conversion rates. You can see what has worked well and what hasn’t.
5. Create digital marketing materials
Creating digital marketing materials is an effective way of getting your message and brand out to a mass audience. The days of paper flyers and brochures are dwindling as we grow in a digital world. You save on the cost of printing materials.
When creating online marketing materials, ensure they are consistent with your brand including colour, font, layout, tone of voice and imagery. The content should be clear and concise and grab the audience’s attention quickly. Programs like Canva enable you to optimise your materials for different marketing channels including email mailouts and various social media platforms. Canva offers a free version or you can upgrade to the Pro version. Facebook and Google Ads are also popular, and you pay based on the number of clicks and impressions you receive.
Over the past few years, digital business cards have been growing. How many times do you go to a business event, collect a whole bunch of cards and then never look at them again? A digital business card enables you to save contact details straight to your mobile device.
Over to you
Is your business online?
Do you have a digital marketing strategy?
Use these 5 methods to boost your digital presence and stay in touch with your competitors.
If you would like someone to help create, build and grow your small business digital marketing assets, please get in touch. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s work together to promote your business. It’s time to keep up with your competitors in the digital world.