Creative Director of ArtVersion, a Chicago design consultancy. We craft ideal user experiences for the world’s most innovative companies.
A thriving business feeds on generating engagement. During this time of uncertainty, it is absolutely crucial for businesses to connect with consumers and stay relevant. In the last decade or so in particular, many consumers have become accustomed to finding what they want online. According to a Salesforce survey, 85% of consumers conduct research before they make a purchase online, and among the most used channels for research are websites (74%) and social media (38%). Consequently, businesses need to have an effective online strategy to increase brand awareness and grow.
A digital presence gives your brand an ideal platform to communicate with consumers. It gives you the opportunity to set the narrative on who you are as a brand and set yourself apart from competitors. More than just your website, your digital presence expands to all the touch points a consumer may have with your brand online. While this does indeed include your website, it can also include areas outside of your control, such as the conversations about your brand on social media and online reviews. In order to put your best foot forward in front of consumers, consider bolstering all aspects of your brand online.
Seizing On An Opportunity
The fact is that regardless of your digital standing, your customers are online. In 2019 alone, there were approximately 3.8 million Google searches conducted each minute, many of which were carried out to find information on local businesses. As you can see from this data, the internet can be a valuable tool for businesses; it provides an opportunity to broaden your reach and communicate with consumers on a global scale. Your website, social media and other digital mediums give you a platform to both educate consumers about your brand and highlight your unique features or values that inspire resonance. Online, consumers can simultaneously learn about who you are as a company and engage with your brand on a more personal level.
Having a substantial digital presence can not only increase consumer awareness, but it can also work to strengthen your brand by building up your credibility. Since consumers are likely to research your brand before making any monetary commitments, they will naturally expect to find your business when they search online. It follows then that your brand should appear (and rank highly) within search results. If consumers can’t find your brand when they search for you, they may question your reliability and even the legitimacy of your business. Your presence online displays a sense of professionalism that allows you to prove your expertise and stand out against your competitors.
Building A Stronger Presence
The first and most essential step in boosting your brand’s digital presence is creating a professional, user-friendly website. Your website is an incredible asset that allows consumers to find you and hopefully it inspires them to convert. A clean, modern design can visually connect with consumers by exemplifying your personality and brand voice. Moreover, a site that is intentionally designed for an enhanced user experience can make a powerful first impression on consumers.
Beyond its aesthetics and functionality, your website should also provide valuable content. Ensure that all information featured throughout the site is both current and accurate, as well as relevant to your target audience. Sharing news updates about your brand or maintaining a regular blog where you provide fresh and original content related to your brand or industry can be effective in drawing consumers to your site. Paired with advanced SEO and analytics tools, you can determine how to create the most impact and attract more consumers to your content.
The next step in building a strong online presence is to focus on engaging with consumers outside of your website. An active and consistent social media presence allows you to stay relevant to your audience and connect on a more personal level. Not all social media platforms may be effective for your brand, so establish a social media strategy that most benefits your business by determining which platforms your audience uses. Additionally, it can be productive to monitor the narrative circulating around your brand on social media and other review platforms so that you can manage your public reputation.
Striving for a stronger digital presence can open the door to connecting with a wider audience, which provides you with the foundation for increased business growth. It can give your brand the opportunity to boost engagement with your target audience, build your credibility and maintain your reputation. Building your presence online is a significant undertaking, but the benefits to your brand are well worth the effort.
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Author: Goran Paunovic, Forbes Councils Member