4 Steps to Establish a Seamless Online Presence
To develop a truly integrated digital marketing strategy, your company must first establish a digital presence over web, social, and mobile that reflects your company’s core values, supports your business goals, and resolves the wants and needs of your target audience. If this sounds like a useful proposition, here are four steps to help you build a seamless digital presence for the New Year.
STEP ONE: Clarify VVBGBM
As my grandma used to say, let’s begin at the beginning. In this case, it begins with a vision. No, I’m not getting sappy here; many successful companies have followed this simple formula:
Vision+Values=Business Goals=Brand Message (VVBGBM)
In other words, your company’s (leadership) Vision and core Business Values define its Business Goals, which in turn shapes its Brand Message. If your brand hasn’t yet sorted all of this out, make sure to do so before moving on to Step Two.
STEP TWO: Design (ReDesign) Website to Support Business Goals
Once you have a clear business direction and brand message, it needs to live somewhere, i.e. on your website. In a digital economy, a company’s website acts as its online storefront and distribution hub all rolled into one. Here’s how you build one:
- Summarize your brand’s message with concise, well-written copy that promotes your unique value proposition.
- Offer a simple site structure and layout. Create an exceptional user experience for your target audience. If relevant, provide a clear path to the sale.
- Humanize your brand with an About Us page that tells your brand story. For extra points, do this with pictures and/or a (brief) embedded video. Don’t worry about showing your face - we want to see it.
- Give out information about your products and services. Share testimonials, case studies, and/or samples of your work. If you’re a start-up, place more emphasis on your vision and values.
- Make it easy to contact you via social shares, a physical address linked to a Google Places map, an email, and a phone number. Transparency builds trust and affinity.
- Integrate with social (Step Three) and optimize for mobile (Step Four).
STEP THREE: Set Up Profiles on Relevant Social Networks
Don’t go crazy here. You’re better off properly engaging on one or a few social platforms than having 20 profiles set up where the crickets can be heard chirping. Pick 2-4 of the most relevant networks for your brand focus (probably some combo of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram).
STEP FOUR: Ensure a Seamless User Experience over Web, Social, and Mobile
As consumers integrate the Internet, social and mobile into their daily lives, you need to do this. Careful, though; similar to Greek philosophy, SoLoMo integration can be a complicated, slippery slope prone to paralysis by analysis. Start off simple, like making sure your brand message, content, look, and feel are consistent over all media. Whatever you do, don’t say one thing here and another thing there. Silos/inconsistency=bad; Integration/consistency=good.
Also, make sure your website is optimized for mobile. You can do this by building a responsive website, mobile site or app. The goal is to make sure your website looks and functions the way it should on smartphones and tablets as well as PCs and laptops. Depending on your budget, though, you may have to make some tough decisions on this front. With hundreds of mobile devices of varying sizes and pixels, you’ll probably never bat 1000. Remember, I said “optimize,” not “perfect.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
Your brand’s digital presence should a) reflect your vision and values, b) support your business goals, c) connect with your target audience by helping resolve their wants and needs. By following these four steps, you’ll have laid the cornerstone to an effective integrated digital marketing strategy.
Image courtsey of Avant-Guardian Musings: by Dorthy Barenscott