Updated: Nov 11, 2020
The Pandemic has brought with it a multitude of changes to the way we live and work. Some of us have adapted with ease, whilst others continue to struggle. Adapting not only to uncertain times but to ever-changing customer and regulatory demands.
One of the biggest trends we have witnessed is the sudden increased reliance on virtual working and digital platforms to reach and engage with our customers.
Whether you already had an established digital presence, or you had to start planning to build one. There is an undeniable sense of urgency to get this up and running as quickly as possible to maintain and grow your business.
To quote a famous saying “Less Haste more Speed”. Reacting too quickly to keep up with competitors and trends could become a false economy in the long run.
Lack of forethought and planning could jeopardise all the time, money and effort you invest to get these digital platforms set up. Not yielding the desired effect nor delivering the return on your investment you hoped for.
Having carried out many Brand Reviews Pre and Post the Pandemic. I have shortlisted the top 3 pitfalls I come across most often. These areas are often overlooked in the haste to get a Brand out there and build an online presence.
First let’s look at what this “Digital Presence” actually means. Put simply, your Digital Presence, or Customer Touchpoints, are all the places where a potential or existing customer could come into contact and interact with your Brand/Business.
The first thing that comes to mind of course is a Website. But this could also include Social Media Platforms, Online Directories, and Group/Event/Community Websites that you may also be present on.
In no particular order, here are the top three areas that often get overlooked:
1. Where can I find you?
With so many different choices out there to display and promote your Brand/Business, this has to be the first stumbling block for many. There is a school of thought that advocates being present on every possible platform to increase awareness and visibility.
Whilst there is definitely merit to this if you are a well known Brand. With a wide reach of customers, a comprehensive set of Brand Guidelines and a large Marketing department to support you and keep everything up to date and relevant.
It is not a strategy that I would recommend for a Solopreneur or SME. With limited headcount, or in most cases doing it yourself whilst trying to juggle everything else as well.
When you are starting out, the best approach is to not spread your self too thin. Research where your target audience and ideal customers are most likely to be. What are their interests and which platforms are they likely to frequent?
Concentrate your efforts on 1-2 platforms initially. Build your audience, stimulate engagement with them and build your followers and connections. Only when you feel your have the time, or the resource to take on another channel should you do so. Plan which one this will be, ask yourself, will it enhance your current reach? and most importantly will it deliver value to you in return for the time and effort you will be investing in it?
For example, if what you do is highly visual and directed at individuals. You may consider Facebook and Instagram as your first option. If, however what you provide is more technical and is directed more at other Businesses. You may want to look at LinkedIn or even a YouTube channel as your first port of call.
Above all else, make a list of all the platforms that you are present on. Keep it updated when you add new ones, that way you will never forget to update one whenever you have a new offer or change of messaging.
2. Are you consistent?
This is such a key area to focus on and not overlook if you want to ensure that you capture and convert a prospective customer. We all do our research before we commit to buying anything online. Our customers are no different when it comes to buying our services.
Within less than 5 minutes, a prospective customer could have found every one of your Touchpoints. Having liked what they saw on your website, they may look at your Social Media presence to get a bit more background about you. If they find an inconsistent message or an outdated offer, it may make them doubt their initial thoughts.
If you are investing in a new Website, with professional copy, visuals and offers. It is imperative that you translate that messaging and reflect it on all other Customer Touchpoints. From the logo and banner designs, all the way through to the content and way you describe your company, what you do and what you have to offer.
The customer should know exactly what you stand for and what they should expect from you. Regardless where they stumble across your business.
This not only builds strong recognition and awareness, but it also builds confidence and credibility to your offer.
Remember a Brand is so much more than just a logo and Website. It is how the customer perceives you from every interaction.
When you are posting on Social Media platforms. Ensure that you are keeping your business pages separate from your personal profiles. Photos of what you had for lunch, what your political views and personal thoughts are, should be limited to your personal profile. (Unless you happen to be a chef or a political speaker of course!)
3. Is it fit for purpose?
There is a definite rise in the number of people seeking out Web developers, designers and searching for SEO specialists. All to achieve that highly sought-after top spot on Google search.
Before you commit to buying a Website solution. You really need to have a plan of what you want to achieve with your site.
If you are thinking about revamping your site, or looking to build one from scratch. Take some time to think about what you would like to do with your site in the long term.
As with any investment you make, you want to be sure that the solution you finally commit to will deliver the results. Not just in the short term to be visible online, but also to adapt and grow your business in the future. For example if you have plans to start selling products or services directly through this website in the future. You will need a platform that you know can be easily upgraded to be an ecommerce platform. Without the need to re-invest and start again!
Do your research. There are a lot of providers out there and a lot of solutions. From low cost DIY options all the way through to fully hosted and managed. Every business is unique, as such you need to focus on what your needs are and not what is the most popular choice.
Once you have a few ideas, understand the pros and cons of each type to make an informed decision. Don't simply rely on the expertise of one person who sounds like they know a lot about building a site. Get more than one opinion and seek out more than one provider to get the best comparison and a more balanced view.
When you have shortlisted your options. Check out examples of their work, speak to their customers. Find out what their experiences have been and if they would recommend this type of solution. What you will find is that through seeking out the opinions of people in similar situations as yourself, you will be better placed to find the solution that fits your own unique needs.
Most importantly, don’t over invest in a solution believing you will get more immediate results. Just having the most expensive Website, does not guarantee you will see a flood of new visitors who will all convert to sales. It takes time and it takes effort.
Be patient and invest within your means. There is no point in having a great website with a negative cashflow trying to pay for it.
I hope by highlighting some of these common pitfalls, it will help you make more informed plans and decisions about the direction you take with your own digital presence.
As a closing note. Remember that each of these areas should add value to the customer and make them want to find out more about you. Make sure that you have made it as easy as possible for them to get in touch and interact with you at each juncture.
If this is an area that you do struggle with, or you would like to get a fresh perspective on your Brand Presence. Do get in touch to arrange a Brand Review with me. This report will provide you with a customer perspective of how your Brand comes across through all your touch points. It will also highlight any weak spots or areas for improvement.