Building your brand’s online presence

In today’s high-tech, electronic age you have to have a digital presence, not only for your business to grow and thrive but in some cases for it to even exist in the minds of the consumer.

The reasons for you to consider taking your business online, or adapting its existing digital presence, are plentiful, so we’ll focus on the top 5:

  1. Increase your business’s professional brand

In our modern economy having an online presence increases your company’s credibility. In fact, if you don’t have a website they may opt to deal with your competition purely because they do have an online presence.

  1. It’s easier to give great customer service

Customer satisfaction and retention are easier by virtue of being able to offer quicker and more effective customer support through online technology.

  1. Information is more readily available to customers

Being online means you can keep your company information, including products and services up to date relatively easily and instantaneously. This can cut down on the need to respond to customer queries and foster a feeling or trustworthiness in the minds of your customers.

  1. Ability to do business anytime, anywhere

Being online means you never have to shut up shop and go home – you’re are open for business 24 hours a day which greatly increases your potential customer pool. In fact, being online means you’re a global player, as long as you’re able to deliver your products or services beyond your borders.

  1. The internet is an ideal platform for business

Being available online means your business a simple click away from prospective customers. It also allows businesses to expand their reach, bringing many more customers through your virtual door than you would normally get through a door in the physical world. Plus, it’s more cost-effective than a physical presence, and this start-up cost is usually recouped quickly through the increased revenue due to operating through online channels.

But it’s not enough to simply ‘be online’. To have an effective digital presence you need a proper plan, a solid foundation on which to build your brand, to take it to the world.

To build this stable foundation, you need to concentrate on four basic building blocks:

  • technology
  • content
  • strategy
  • design

A balanced approach to these components is critical: too much of one and not enough of another could result in the message being lost or not reaching the right audience, making the entire exercise pointless.

Technology

One cannot overstate the importance of having the right technology: without the proper tools it doesn’t matter what your message is, why you are communicating it or what it looks like – you will be unable to reach your customers without the necessary technology.

Similarly, you need the right people – who truly understand how digital technology works and can use it to maximum efficacy – operating that technology. This is a specialised skill that should not be underestimated.

Content

You need to define your message. Typically this comes from a business’s marketing team, but you should remember that in the digital world, engagement is the key focus. It’s not enough to know what you want to say – you need to tailor it to the online arena. No longer is a message purely for broadcast: interactivity is the name of the game. The modern customer expects a certain amount of engagement, or they will move on to something else that catches their fancy. Which leads us to the next component…

Strategy

Your newly defined message will need to be fine-tuned and combined with a ‘why’ – why you are in business and why a customer would listen to you and engage with your message rather than that of your competition. Approaching it from this perspective will help you formulate a strategy for your communications. Ideally, it should map out your engagement over a period of time to establish a relationship with customers. Importantly though, it needs to be fluid, able to adapt once you’ve had a chance to implement it and see how the customer engages with it.

Design

Even if you have a defined message and strategy, if the target audience doesn’t engage with it, it will not yield the results you’re after. You need to carefully consider the packaging of your communications. Aesthetics and customer experience become as important as the message itself. Usability and an understanding of what appeals to your audience visually will set you apart from your competition.

To discuss how to ensure digital success with a talented team who do this on a daily basis, contact IGrow Digital Marketers on 021 979 2501 or email justin@igrowdigital.co.za.