In today’s business landscape, thriving online platforms are no longer just a “nice to have” add-on for businesses. A strong online presence is fast becoming a basic, minimum requirement with agile, digital-first businesses winning out over the rest.
According to the 2018 State of Digital Business Transformation study conducted by data services firm International Data Group (IDG), 89% of organizations already have plans to adopt a digital-first strategy; however, only 44% of these organizations have fully implemented them.
So, how can enterprises maximize online platforms and sites to help them achieve growth in a competitive and volatile business landscape? Read on to find out.
1. Have a clear goal in mind
According to Google’s Mobile Search Moments Study, 97% of consumers search for businesses online, and 73% of mobile searches trigger additional action (such as a newsletter subscription or a purchase), with 55% of purchases occurring within an hour of that first mobile search.
Establishing your brand’s online presence is important, but it is not enough. It needs to be purposeful to be effective. What drives your brand’s online presence? Is it about strengthening your reputation as an industry leader? Or is it about introducing the brand as an innovative alternative?
Set specific goals at the outset to better represent your business online, but keep in mind that goals are not set in stone—as the business grows, your goals will change, and your strategy along with it.
2. Focus on consumer needs, and stay reachable.
While establishing an online presence is largely about making your business known, it is also about helping new or returning customers.
Online or offline, stellar customer service remains the best promotion for your business. Further, according to the 2018 IDG study, 62% of businesses say that delivering an excellent customer experience defines their success as a digital-first business. As such, customers should be able to reach out to you online for any inquiries or concerns—and you should provide the right channels for them to do so.
3. Keep content aligned with your brand message.
If you are not a newsroom or entertainment network, relying on trending or viral online content makes little business sense. Amassing likes and new followers may be great for customer engagement and business promotion, but if it strays from your online strategy and misrepresents your brand identity, ultimately, it will do nothing to drive business growth.
On the other hand, crafting industry-relevant content addresses consumer needs and helps your business establish itself as an industry authority.
4. Invest in mobile.
These days, most consumers perform tasks through mobile—from social media networking to online purchasing. As of 2018, 3.7 billion unique users are on mobile globally, and, as early as last year, mobile devices accounted for 49.7% of worldwide page views.
Investing in mobile need not be costly. While some brands have chosen to invest heavily in an immersive and integrated mobile app, others, instead, have chosen to develop a responsive website, which can adapt to different types of mobile devices. Considering that 80% of mobile users delete apps within three months, the latter move makes more business sense.
5. Be everywhere…
Online website builder Weebly revealed that about 56% of consumers do not trust a business with no website—thus, going online is a no-brainer. However, you need to deploy a website that works specifically for your business. For instance, retail businesses often need specialized e-commerce platforms and applications. As mentioned, websites should also meet responsive web design standards that adapt to different devices.
Once your site is up, establish and maintain your presence in all necessary social media platforms. That means taking into consideration the big four: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Likewise, note that certain platforms will work better for your business than others.
Consider Facebook: With more than two billion active users daily and each user spending an average of 35 minutes on the platform, it remains to be the top avenue for B2B and B2C marketing.
6. …but curate content depending on the platform.
Online media users are critical when it comes to content and get turned off by rehashed or regurgitated material. At the same time, they appreciate curated content specific to the platform.
So, avoid posting the same content on different online platforms; it might seem efficient, but it will only tarnish your brand’s reputation, losing you followers and credibility in the process. Diversify instead. Post compelling photo stories on Instagram, snappy quips and announcements on Twitter, or business leadership articles on LinkedIn and on your official blog. Whatever platform your message takes off from, make sure it delivers a consistent brand message.
7. Integrate online platforms.
Integration simply means sharing the information, features, or services of one online platform to another. For example, while promoting website content through different social media platforms through links, you can promote your social media accounts on your website through embedded posts and app widgets. However, you should offer the same brand experience across all platforms.
Integration opens up more possibilities for your business, allowing you to tap into non-traditional retail channels to boost sales, for example, or build a customer database on your company website or social media channels, feeding more curated content and special promotions via targeted email marketing.
Building a strong online presence for your brand can bring with it unprecedented demand for your products and services. As your trusted business advisor, we are here to help ensure that your business possesses the necessary resources and infrastructure to fuel growth—whether online or offline.
With ventures such as AdSpark, which provides data-driven mobile and digital marketing solutions, and RUSH, a digital-first customer engagement and loyalty program, we aim to provide enterprises with the necessary tools to help them on their journey towards digital transformation. Empowering businesses through technology, we are always ready to help shape their future and enable them to build a better nation.