Marketing Foundation Pillar 3 – Online Presence in Your Strategic Planning
As one of the pillars of a strong marketing foundation, your web presence plan plays a pivotal role in driving the success of your business. In today’s digital landscape, having a robust web presence is not just an option but a necessity for any business selling products or services. With the increasing penetration of the internet and the proliferation of smart devices, consumers are spending more time online than ever before. According to a report by Datareportal, as of October 2021, there were 4.9 billion internet users worldwide, accounting for over 63% of the global population.
This shift in consumer behavior has led to a significant change in how businesses operate and communicate with their customers. For businesses, it presents both strategic challenges and an opportunity to reach new audiences, offer better customer experiences, and gain a competitive edge in the market.
A solid web presence allows businesses to be where their customers are – online. It increases visibility, making it easier for potential customers to find and engage with the business. An online presence within your overall digital marketing strategy also provides better customer experiences. With features like personalized recommendations, live chat support, and easy checkout processes, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction and build long-term relationships. This also leads to increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
One of the key advantages of an online presence is its measurability. Businesses can track their marketing efforts in real-time, allowing them to make data-driven decisions and optimize their marketing strategies. This results in higher ROI compared to traditional marketing methods.
Incorporating your online presence into your strategic planning process can yield several benefits for businesses. It can lead to wider exposure, increased audience engagement, and more sales. According to a report by eMarketer, companies that use digital marketing strategies have a 2.8 times higher revenue growth expectancy.
In this post, let’s understand why building a solid web presence is crucial for businesses in today’s digital landscape. It can help them reach new audiences, offer better customer experiences, and achieve higher ROI. Therefore, it should be an integral part of any company’s strategic digital marketing and planning strategy execution process.
Understanding Web Presence
At the core of your web presence is your website. Think of it as the virtual storefront of your brand. A well-designed and user-friendly website makes it easy for customers and potential clients to access information about your entire company, your products, services, company values, and find out what you’re all about. Your website is yours and needs to let your brand personality come to life and shine while showcasing your expertise.
But your web presence is so much more than your website. It’s all about making a splash online because standing out among the competition and connecting with your right audience of customers and prospects is what leads to success. A killer website is just the start.
Think about social media. Social media platforms are like your hype crew, cheering you on and getting the word out about what you do. Whether you’re building a following it on Facebook, posting cool tweets on Twitter, showing off your style on Instagram, or making professional connections on LinkedIn – each platform has its vibe and can help you connect with your audience on a whole new level.
But wait, there’s more!
Don’t limit yourself to just the big social media players. There’s a whole world of forums, blogs, and online communities where you can post content and get people talking. It’s like joining different cliques, and trust us, you want to be the popular kid in every group.
The nature of a company’s web presence has evolved significantly over the years, from static websites to interactive platforms, influenced by the rise of mobile devices and apps, all culminating in enhancing user experience.
The Evolving Nature of Web Presence
Remember back in the day when all your small business needed was a website? Those days are gone. But it’s not all bad. When websites became interactive, things started to get pretty cool. Suddenly, websites weren’t just one-way streets. Your customers and prospects could actually interact with your business—leave feedback, search for things, and enjoy multimedia content. It was like a whole new level of engagement!
Then, smartphones and tablets took over, and the game was changed once again. The internet was in your pocket 24/7! Websites had to learn to play nice with different screen sizes, and responsive design came to the rescue.
Now the game has changed once again with mobile apps. Apps take personalization to a whole new level. Businesses that have built apps for customers and prospects have more data insight into behavior enabling them to quickly adapt to changes in the market.
The best part is that the evolution is still happening. Who knows what the future holds? As businesses begin to find ways to integrate AI into their mix of new businesses, we might be in for some mind-blowing experiences that we can’t even imagine right now!
The Value of a Web Presence to Your SMB
- Expand Your Reach. With a solid web and strong online presence, you can break down geographical barriers and expand your reach beyond your physical location. With over 63% of the world’s population using the internet, according to Datareportal, businesses can tap into this vast pool of potential customers. For instance, an SMB specializing in handmade crafts can sell its products not just to local customers but also to consumers worldwide through an e-commerce website or online marketplaces. Imagine reaching customers from around the world, not just from your local community. Many SMBs and local businesses have achieved remarkable global reach by setting up e-commerce websites and leveraging social media to showcase their products or services to a worldwide audience.
- Improved Credibility and Image: A professional-looking website and active social media profiles can significantly enhance an SMB’s credibility. According to a survey done back in 2015, 84% of consumers believe that small businesses with websites are more credible than ones without an online presence. An SMB offering consulting services, for example, can use its website to showcase client testimonials and case studies, boosting its image and attracting more clients.
- Improve Engagement. Your customers are the lifeblood of your SMB, and fostering strong relationships is essential for sustained success. Web presence enables direct communication with your customers through social media interactions, live chat features, and feedback mechanisms on your website. By engaging with your customers effectively, you can build loyalty, build brand awareness, encourage repeat business and employee retention, and receive valuable feedback for improvement. Case studies have highlighted how effective customer relationship management through web presence can lead to loyal customer bases and positive reviews, ultimately bolstering your reputation. An SMB running a local cafe could use social media to share daily specials, respond to customer queries, and create a loyal customer base.
- Increased Online Sales: With the rise of e-commerce, having a web presence can directly impact an SMB’s sales. A recent report from Shopify reveals that global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $5.4 trillion in 2022. An SMB selling organic skincare products, for instance, can leverage this trend by setting up an online store, enabling them to sell products 24/7 and increase their revenue.
- Data-Driven Decision Making: A web presence provides SMBs with valuable data about customer behavior, which can be used to make informed business decisions. Google Analytics, for instance, can provide insights on website traffic, user demographics, and customer journey. These insights can help SMBs fine-tune their marketing strategies, improve their products or services, and ultimately, boost their growth.
Consequences of Not Having an Online Presence
In today’s digitally driven world, having an online presence is as crucial as having a physical location for your business. Whether it’s through a website, social media platforms, or online marketplaces, establishing an online identity is a fundamental step in reaching out to the vast digital audience. However, companies and business leaders that fail to carve out their space in the digital landscape face severe consequences.
Without an online presence, businesses lose countless opportunities to connect with potential customers. The internet provides a platform where millions of people can discover your brand and explore your products or services, regardless of geographical boundaries. By not being online, you limit your reach to only those who are physically near your location or already aware of your brand.
Lack of an online presence also hampers brand visibility. In an era where consumers often turn to search engines for solutions, not appearing in search results puts your business at a significant disadvantage. It’s like being invisible in a crowd of competitors who are all vying for consumer attention.
Moreover, without a digital footprint, your business growth can stagnate. Today’s consumers expect to engage with brands online – they want to browse products, read reviews, and make purchases at their convenience. If they can’t find your business online, they’re likely to turn to your competitors instead. This not only affects your sales and product promotion efforts but also impacts customer loyalty.
In essence, not having an online presence in the current digital marketing landscape is akin to operating a business in the dark. You miss out on opportunities to attract new customers, engage with existing ones, and grow your brand in an increasingly digital marketplace. Therefore, establishing a robust online presence should be a top priority for any business aiming for success in the modern era.
Creating a Robust Online Presence
To create a robust web presence and harness its power as part of the strategic management framework of your SMBs strategic plan and operational planning, you should focus on these essential steps:
1. Website Development
Create a clear communication user-friendly and visually appealing website that represents your brand effectively.
2. Social Media Strategy
Identify relevant social media accounts, online directories, other sites, online channels and platforms and develop engaging content strategies to connect with your target audience.
3. SEO Strategy
Implement SEO techniques to improve organic search rankings and increase your website’s visibility in search engines.
4. Content Marketing Plan
Produce valuable and relevant content to your market data and establish your brand as an industry authority.
5. Online Reputation Management Strategy
Monitor online mentions, search results, reviews, guest posts, and comments, and respond promptly and professionally to maintain a positive brand reputation.
Embracing the digital age by incorporating effective strategic plan and a robust online presence into your SMB’s strategic plan is no longer an option but a necessity. This powerful tool for strategic planners will enable your SMB to reach global markets, engage with customers effectively, build a strong brand reputation, and gain a competitive advantage. As an SMB owner, don’t shy away from the opportunities the digital world offers – leverage the power of web presence and strategic management to make strategic plans that drive your business towards long-term success in an ever-evolving market.
Tomato Fish Is An Indianapolis Strategic Planning Consulting Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.