7 Ways to Enhance Your Digital Presence
In the 1990s we had the dotcom boom during which it became a land grab to get websites with great domain names. In the late 2000s as smartphones and social media took over the world, everyone just had to have an app or at least a Facebook page. While we don’t think of ourselves as fortune tellers, we see a theme. Software has created many more digital platforms than just the web. As Marc Andreessen famously wrote, “Software is eating the world.”
In order to have a first-class digital presence you don’t need to predict the next hot new app or be a first mover on each digital platform. In this post we’ll outline some steps you can take to make sure your business’ digital presence is in optimal shape by leveraging the platforms and tools that are predominant today. Let’s dive in to the 7 steps every company should take to enhance their digital presence:
1) Digital Analytics
It shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re fans of data. Everything digital has data that we can gather, measure, and analyze. The most common web analytics tool, Google Analytics, is a great place to start. Additionally, almost every major platform offers its own analytics tools. Make sure you are taking advantage of those data gathering tools. Collecting and analyzing this data is the only way to know if any new strategies are making an impact. The most common goals to measure are site visits, time spent on site, clicks, and any contact or other form submissions.
What to expect in return: You should have access to reports or dashboards showing the metrics you care about.
2) Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a broad category term that refers to solutions that improve your website's visibility on search engines like Google. If you’re tired of hearing about SEO, I don’t blame you. As a business owner, you probably have 3 spam emails in the last 24 hours from digital marketers pitching their SEO services, but the difference can be significant. Less than 1% of search users go to the 2nd page of search results. Ensuring that your site appears at the top of search results for services or products you offer is critical for driving inbound traffic.
SEO isn’t just marketing bunk, it is important. Search engines make the internet usable. They have become the doorway to the internet. In the early days of search this was all about meta tags and back links. As consumer tastes and demand shifts, the technology market continues to evolve. An increasing amount of searches start directly from the browser address bar these days instead of the actual website. Other software companies are constantly building new consumer experiences like image based search or new shopping experiences. It’s important to make sure your website is “visible” by these tools.
Tools like SEMRush, Moz, and AHrefs can assist in keyword research and give you a baseline for your SEO performance. These tools will help tell you how people are coming to your site and how search engines “see” your site. They will offer suggestions for how to update or modify your website to meet these growing needs. Search engines, and other platforms, will give more weight to websites that they “understand” better.
An important, free tool that not enough businesses take advantage of is their “Google My Business” listing. Claim your business on Google My Business. This service puts your business information on Search and Maps, letting customers who use Google find you even easier.
What to expect in return: More organic traffic. Organic traffic is traffic you didn’t pay for. You should have a higher number of potential customers and greater brand visibility as a result of work on SEO. More traffic can help you improve your website as well.
2a) Advanced SEO - Accessibility
SEO can be a bit of a black box, but it’s generally accepted that every site will have an SEO “score.” One of those factors is “accessibility.” Accessibility means ensuring that your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. In addition to having some impact on that SEO score, you could be opening yourself up to more customers.
Tools like accessiBe and WAVE can help you check your site's accessibility and they offer solutions for accessibility gaps they detect. These will require some manual work and some software development work.
3) Online Reviews
Encourage your customers to leave reviews on sites like Google and Yelp. Positive reviews can significantly boost your search ranking and also provide validation to prospective customers.
What to expect in return: More organic traffic and maybe even higher conversion rates from website visitors to qualified leads.
4) Email Marketing
Regular newsletters and promotional emails can help maintain active communication with your customers. These emails could be anything from announcing new products or services to general conversation about the industry. The goal of email campaigns really depends on the audience you use. You can use a tool like MailChimp to re-engage your existing customer base. If you’ve sent an email, MailChimp’s design and user experience will turn you into a mailing list pro in no time.
More personalized email marketing requires a tool like Reply or HubSpot Marketing. These tools allow you to craft individual messaging to any contact list you create. Pair this with a tool like ZoomInfo to find contact information for customer leads and deliver a personalized message to them. These tools run on “email sequences” that you create. It’s a series of messages that you specify to automatically send at scheduled intervals. These emails create more data, specifically open rates and reply rates; you can use these tools and data to test different phrases and messages.
What to expect in return: Email marketing can drive customer engagement, improve customer retention, and increase sales. More site visits in general will provide additional data you can use to continually improve your site.
Regular blog posts can help establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Substack and Medium are great platforms for starting a blog, especially if you can’t start the blog on your own website.
Also consider looking into Google Trends. You can use this tool to look for, ahem, trends in search terms. This can help you identify gaps between what people are searching and what your business sells. Creating content to fill that gap can drive new visitors and improve your SEO at the same time.
SEO improvement is primarily driven by having more content and more links. This creates more credibility for search engines and other digital platforms. Content that touches on new keywords or topics that your core website hasn’t addressed in the past will also improve SEO. Finally, getting customers or other influencers to share or engage with this content will also boost that SEO.
What to expect in return: High-quality, relevant blog posts can attract repeat visitors, boost customer engagement, and increase brand loyalty.
6) Social Media
The basic tenet is to “go where your customers are.” Maintaining active profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn can help you connect with your customers. These platforms are another outlet to share any blog content you create. You can also adapt blog content, or create new content that is better suited to each platform.
Social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can help you schedule posts and track performance. They integrate with just about every social platform. They will let you preview how the content will look on each platform so you can make any necessary changes before pushing it out to the world.
What to expect in return: Higher customer engagement, improved brand image, and a new sales channel. You can use social media for reviews and customer support which help increase customer retention.
Creating content isn’t easy, it takes time, and when done organically it can take months or years to see a real impact on your business. That’s where paid advertising comes in. Spending some money to show an ad or story to your prospective audience is the business model for every search engine and a means to amplify the recognition of your company.
The biggest tools in the space are Google Ads and Facebook (now Meta) Ads. Both offer a variety of advertising formats as well as bidding strategies. The very first internet ads charged per thousand views, or impressions in digital parlance. Now you can pay per click or per action. Digital ads give you the opportunity to expand your digital footprint. Take search ads for example where you can literally be on top of the search results:
What to expect in return: Digital advertising can bring immediate visibility, drive targeted traffic, and increase sales. When starting a digital ad campaign, everything should be measured from the first time a person sees an ad to the time they visit your site and click to call you.
Digital presence is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity. As our world continues to become increasingly digitally interwoven, the question isn't whether to enhance your digital presence, but how to do so most effectively. By harnessing the power of analytics, SEO, accessibility, content creation, and advertising, you can ensure that your business is not only visible in the vast digital landscape but that it also stands out.
Investing time in your Google My Business listing, offering valuable content, maintaining active social media accounts, and encouraging customer reviews can make a significant difference in your brand's digital footprint. By effectively employing email marketing, engaging in insightful blogging, and leveraging advertising tools, you can draw customers in, retain their attention, and ultimately lead them to engage with your business.
Every journey starts with a single step. Whether you're starting from scratch or optimizing what you already have, it's crucial to approach the task of enhancing your digital presence with an understanding of its importance in today's business world. The steps outlined in this blog post provide a strong foundation for you to build upon.
Remember, the digital world never stands still, so maintaining and improving your digital presence should always be an ongoing endeavor. Stay adaptable, keep up with the latest trends and technology, and continuously measure your success through the lens of data analytics. The future of your digital presence looks bright, and we're excited to see how these strategies will shape your business's journey into the ever-evolving digital landscape.