Here's the thing...
Having a functioning online experience allows you to do these 4 important things, and a whole lot more:
- Build your brand.
- Gain trust and establish credibility.
- Attract more customers, more often.
- Make your business accessible to anyone, anywhere.
From Important to Critical
In 2018, Google commissioned IPSOS to put some research together around consumer habits and digital marketing. One of their key take-aways was that between 60-70% of consumers said they’d be more likely to buy from a business with a website, than from one without. In 2020 this has taken on new meaning, as digitalisation has become essential not only for survival, but in order to remain competitive––being online, went from important to critical. There’s some welcome news for small-to-medium businesses here too, and that is: now more than ever, consumers want to support local business, and that starts online.
The First Impression is Now Online
First impressions are critical in creating fans of your brand. It only takes a fraction of a second to make a first impression online, so you need to get it right. To make a good first impression, you need to clearly communicate your Five Ws:
- WHO → Who are you, as a brand?
- WHAT → What does your business do?
- WHERE → Where are you located (both online and, if applicable, off-line).
- WHY → Why do you do what you do? This one doesn’t have to be spelled out, but it should underpin your overall presence.
- WHEN → This isn’t always applicable, but if you have a physical store with opening hours or are running an event or similar, this information should be easy to find.
Remember to make sure the information you’re providing speaks directly to your audience and communicates in a way that’s not only clear and engaging, but authentic (no one likes a catfish!). This is your chance to establish a connection with your consumer and to start building a relationship.
Taking the Next Step
Any good relationship is built on trust, and this one’s no different. Once you’ve nailed your first impression, it’s time to form a connection with your audience and show them you’re valuable. CUE: social media engagement. It’s one of the best ways to express who you are as a brand, show your human side and deliver value to your customers (this can be in the form of helpful tips and resources, or as simple as sharing something funny––maybe, it’s both).
As the need for an online presence has moved from important to critical in the 2020 market, brand authenticity has also become an expectation. A quality example of this in action, is Who Gives A Crap. They strike a solid and consistent balance of authentic, helpful and funny in their content. And yes, all of that works to promote trust.
When you build trust with your customers, you have an advantage in three key areas:
- Your customers will listen to what you have to say
- Your products and services are marketed more efficiently.
- You create advocates, and advocates draw in more customers.
Hot Tip: while it’s important to take care of your online presence away from your website, always remember to link back to it where relevant, as this is where your fans become your customers!
Future-Proofing in a Changing World
To stand out and remain valuable, you need to be agile in your approach and consistently deliver a worthwhile experience. That means, getting on board for an ever-evolving process. It’s one that includes:
- Learning and unlearning as needed.
- Re-thinking how we connect with one another and how we maintain connection.
- Continuing to re-evaluate how we measure success.
We know that this can feel overwhelming, but there’s a key dollop of knowledge we find solace in, and it’s something that has and will to continue to hold true in a changing world. The first step is to understand your user and create value for them where it’s needed most. The rest will follow.