The prospect of “getting online” can have a different meaning and value for most people within the business community. But the truth is, whether you’re a fresh tech startup or an established high street retailer, most businesses can benefit from taking their online presence seriously. And here’s why.
Whether you are a small business owner or entrepreneur and you operate from a physical space or exist only digitally, consumers often shop around online before choosing a business. That’s right, to some people in 2019, not having a website means you might not exist. An online presence can also offer prospective customers access to the reviews and content that illustrate your authenticity and expertise. Many customers today also want to understand brands on a deeper level, and that usually means getting to grips with their values and the discussions they participate in.
With the online world offering businesses so much more than an alternative place to transact, now could be a great time to build your online presence and expand your chances of stronger growth throughout this new financial year. Here are some ideas for how to do it.
Tell passionate and compelling stories
Think about all the different touch points you could have with existing and potential customers and use these channels to tell great stories that make up your brand persona. Sharing authentic stories means you’re more likely to appeal to emotions and connect with audiences on a deeper level.
For example, while Instagram is the perfect place to share photos and videos that illustrate your brand’s character, Facebook or Twitter might be more appropriate for stories and perspectives that are unique to your business’ personality. Similarly, a blog page could be ideal for sharing stories and expert advice that position your brand as authoritative and thought-leading.
Build an engaging website
Your website is often the first stop for your potential customer’s engagement with your business. So, when first impressions really count, you should make sure their experience on your website is a good one. To start with, list all the goals you want to achieve through your web presence, such as improving brand awareness, providing necessary information about products or services, and generating leads.
Then, you can identify all the elements you need to include in your website such as product and “about” pages, blogs, easy payment portals and online enquiry forms. For SEO (search engine optimisation) purposes, it might also be wise to optimise your pages for your business name and the search terms your customers are likely to use. Building a highly-functional website for minimal cost can be easy thanks to GoDaddy Website Builder.
Learn how and where to engage with customers online
Your online presence is always active, so it should be strategically planned and crafted with your target audience’s interests and behaviours in mind. Don’t treat every customer the same. Think about when different customer segments are most likely to be online and on what channel – as well as the type of content that may resonate with them.
There are plenty of resources and insights available to help you engage with every type of customer. Whether it’s knowing that Millennials and Gen X are most likely to share content on Facebook, or that over half of teenagers think Instagram is the best place to learn about new products.
Look after your reputation
The more visible you become online, the more opportunities you can give customers to interact with your business. Earning a positive reputation through your interactions with existing and prospective customers can help you encourage recommendations and win repeat business.
Monitoring your follower’s comments on social media or reviews on various platforms, can illustrate you are present and reactive. Responding to reviews or comments with a helpful, polite reply could help you clear up any misunderstandings and give a positive impression of your customer care.
Another way to boost your online presence in the online world is to actively participate in specific community groups or forums associated with your industry. Sharing advice, contributing to conversations or even offering a guest blog to an online publication could help build your reputation as a key industry player and authoritative thought leader.
You might now be thinking of the many ways you can develop a stronger online presence this financial year. When it comes to your new strategy, focus on the tasks and activities you have the resources to do well. After all, while it might be essential to prioritise a new and improved website, inactive social media accounts or empty blog pages won’t look good in the meantime.