I want you to have a look at a poll that I came across recently.
Business managers and owners voted for what they were most looking forward to in 2014. This includes their plans for the business year, as well as their targets and aspirations.
Have a look at where ‘Building online presence’ ranks in. Shockingly, it’s one of the least voted options, reaching a grand total of 7.55%.
On the other hand, 41.51% want to expand their customer base, and 37.74 % want to grow their business.
Are those two things even possible without a strong online presence?
Well, the voters taking this poll seem to think so. Its obvious that business owners do not value digital presence as a viable aspiration in 2014. To me, this is extraordinary. All of the articles that I write on IQDigital‘s blog are about just this. Focussing on user experience and online engagement may seem indirectly related to business growth. But in the bigger picture, these two key points will market your business, boosting sales and establishing your company as a credible brand. Building an online presence means cementing the future of your company.
Here in the UK, businesses are so focused on expanding their client base that they forget about everything else. If your digital presence doesn’t have any type of WOW factor, then it’s ultimately the same as 90% of your competitors. How does your brand stand out? Why should anyone buy from you?
Let’s take an example, you go to a networking event, and you hand out a few business cards. Isn’t this where it all really starts? This is branding. It’s about the presentation of your business card, how your logo looks and what your design evokes. It’s the same in the digital world. People will log on to your website, browse your social media accounts and will make up their minds based solely on this information. It might not seem fair but that’s just the way it is.
I believe one of the biggest problems today is that business owners don’t realise that their web presence is just not that good. I understand this mind-set. As I mentioned in my previous article, Everything Is Designed, Few Things Are Designed Well, you have to have a different perspective on your online presence. There are brands that obviously care a lot about their clients and make a big effort in everything that they do. These are the businesses that will move forward. Businesses that don’t care come across that way: like they don’t care. A web user is smarter than you think. After hundreds, if not thousands of hours spent online, users can spot when a company just wants their money and nothing else. They can see when a business won’t give them anything back.
You see, in this economy and in any industry there is a lot of competition. So, before we make our purchasing decisions we research. We make our minds up based on each company’s Why: their digital presence, social media channels and website. Consumers today have become so exposed to marketing that they know their tricks. I know that if I ask any company ‘who is the best at…?’, then they are going to proclaim: ‘us, of course!’. This will be their answer even if their products are rubbish and their prices sky high.
Don’t be another red brick in the wall. Be different. Put extra effort into helping people, adapt the #GiveOrDie mind set. Trust me, the reward will be tremendous. Spend more time with your online activities, change your agency or your web development team if they don’t deliver. And please, please, please don’t say you don’t have time for this. If you don’t focus on your online presence, I can promise you that one day, sooner or later, you will be out of business. And that’s a reality check for you, mate.
The more you try and grow your business, advertise on portals, go to networking events or partake in any other marketing activity, the worse it gets. You know why? Just think for a minute. You invest money and time but your conversion rate is low. Really, it all comes down to your web presence. It’s hard to admit, but that’s the truth.
To sum up on how to grow your business, here are my suggestion:
- Start with your digital strategy. Revise it, set your targets and distinguish your target audience (it’s not everybody); think of your ideal client and work from that.
- Revise your social media presence: Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare and your hub, your website. (This step all depends on your industry, and which channels you use)
- Create a content strategy (if you don’t already have one), and think about what you share on different platforms.
- Have a WOW aspect in everything you do. Use your creativity!
- Engage on social media sites. Monitor hashtags and trends etc.
- Embrace quality and provide value as you would in real life!
There you have it, an action plan for your business to grow. Start from the root and you will find that your business will become something that you never imagined. Now that’s the truth.
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