The Face of Your Business

An Evolving Online Presence

The Face of Your Business

A website’s purpose is no longer an alternative touchpoint for introverts. Consider how often you use the internet. Not just to browse social media or update your Facebook status. Every time you come across a question you don’t know the answer to, trivial or otherwise out comes your device for a quick search. More than that, you use it to make purchases, find locations to order services, schedule meetings, everything. You probably use the internet dozens of times a day that you aren’t even aware of, such as when you send a text, access your GPS, use an app, game or plugin on your device. Use a credit card reader or tableside touchscreen menu, you’re using some form of internet.

On average, we check our phones about 85 times per day or more. Combined with other forms of media access we might spend over 10 hours a day on the internet. Considering that, you must realize that your potential customer – whoever they may be – will have their first meaningful interaction with your company, online. If you aren’t interested in ecommerce, it by no means excludes you from the fact that people will search for you on the web. Even if you only engage in B2B sales, it doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t looking at your social media content or at your website.

Many well established companies have stubbornly avoided the creation of a strong online presence. In recent years this practice has become more and more detrimental. You might not have put any content on the internet, but your business is there. If your website isn’t modern, or worse, it’s not there at all, you’re doing a disservice to yourself. Think about your reaction to a brand or company that you searched for online that didn’t have a website or at least a healthy social media presence. Think about something you’ve been interested in that only had an outdated or clumsy website. If you’ve never been put off by a brand because of its online appearance, you should consider your target audience’s reaction to the same scenarios.

A website should represent your brand.

Create Your Digital Ecosystem

The Face of Your Business

A website should represent your brand. Don’t select an off-the-rack solution that was built before its developer ever heard of your business. The look and feel of the site and the way your audience interacts with it should be appropriate to your brand message. More importantly, the functionality should be intuitive for your customers, not just any users.

To keep your customers engaged, consider a design rebuild every 18 to 24 months, with regular layout and content design updates seasonally or even monthly. Leverage social media with targeted marketing to drive traffic to your site and increase conversions. Utilize that traffic to build lists and create customer engagement strategies that provide great UX (user experience) and boost repeat business. Partner with related sites to help link back relevant content to increase page ranking and reduce your cost of sale. B2B distributors can limit areas of their sites to clients only, providing quick, well branded, access to sales collateral, scheduling, case studies and product details to reduce cost of sale and streamline the sales process. Some presentations and touchpoints can be supported or even handled by your website, linked with your in-house PLM platform, to provide up to date answers about availability and ETA.

A strong web presence is more than just a beautiful, well maintained website. You should consider ongoing SEO and inbound marketing programs to help turn your digital marketing cost into profit, even if you don’t use ecommerce. And if you do want to sell online, strategies in these areas are essential. You’ll also want social media management or management support, content marketing and paid advertising. All of these concepts should be considered alongside your website or website redesign. A comprehensive digital strategy will represent your brand to your potential customers, yield greater conversions, increase brand awareness and develop brand loyalty. A modern, well made and regularly updated website is still the core of a strong digital strategy and should serve as the centerpiece of your online marketing.

In a recent survey of more than 6,000 companies, 57% of respondents said they planned to redesign their website within the next year. More and more companies are making their websites a priority budget item, hoping to generate more business from their digital marketing efforts.

A redesign isn’t an easy process. It takes time, planning, and more specifically, answers to the right questions. Don’t let the overwhelming nature of a complete digital strategy delay the planning of your new website. Download our free Website Redesign Planner to help you get started on the path to a better web presence.

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    Erin Harris
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