What is presence? Well, depends on who you ask. Some might say it’s a highly underrated Led Zeppelin album.
But if you talk to any marketer, presence is how your business exists and represents itself. Specifically, most of the time this discussion is about digital presence and how brands can build up their online footprint.
As online channels continue to grow in number and influence, it’s crucial that businesses have a strong digital presence so they can raise brand awareness, reach potential customers, engage target audiences and drive growth.
Let’s dive into the subject a bit more and look at some ways you can amp up your web presence.
What is Digital Presence?
Digital presence is how your business appears online. Your web presence is made up of several different components and can be summed up as the impression your brand makes online through content, websites, search engines and other digital media and platforms.
Some users might search for a related product or service and end up visiting your website and reading your blog. Others may be browsing Facebook and come across your social media profile or a paid advertisement.
What Are the Elements of a Digital Presence?
As we’ve mentioned, digital marketing channels are numerous and ever expanding these days. What this means is that businesses need to have a comprehensive marketing strategy for how they will develop, implement, manage and refine their digital presence across these channels.
So what are those pieces to the online presence puzzle? They include:
Your company website is the centerpiece of a digital presence.
When potential customers want to learn more about your brand or your business, your website is often the first place they head to.
As such, everything from the About Us page to landing pages for products and services needs to be optimized and refined. That means consistent branding, helpful information, responsive design and simplified page navigation are all important to a high-quality customer experience. All of these elements are valuable on their own, but you want new users to experience what you have to offer, right?
This is where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes in handy. It is an extremely important strategy for any website. This is what helps your website, and brand, reach its target audience when they’re looking for something that your brand offers.
Let’s take a look at the basics of what SEO is and its many benefits.
Google’s algorithms analyze the content on the page and determine whether or not to provide this content as a result of a searcher’s query. For instance, a cursory search for “how to iron a shirt” will usually bring you websites with mentions of “shirt,” “iron” and “shirt ironing.”
The website content you create is key in how often your brand appears in search. Most efficient digital strategies integrate SEO and keyword research because of their inherent value. There are several different ways to increase your brand awareness and optimization. From meta tags to on-page SEO, your brand’s search engine optimization is just waiting to be boosted.
With a well-designed website that has a great SEO strategy in place, you can help shape your brand’s image as authentic and reputable, making a big impact on online users.
A social media presence is essential to a modern-day digital marketing strategy. Social channels are primarily useful as a means to humanize your brand and lift awareness. Every post you make on Facebook or Twitter is an opportunity to engage followers, as well as project the type of brand identity you aim for. Having an active social media presence can allow you to enhance your digital footprint in numerous other ways, such as delivering personalized customer service and building brand recall when you trend or go viral.
Email marketing is an extremely important component of a marketing strategy. Through well-designed email campaigns, you can reach a vast array of audiences and create valuable brand associations. It’s all about making meaningful connections. Using data and a goal-based approach can create the perfect email, which will land in your customer’s inboxes.
Here are some of the most important email marketing services that are usually offered:
- Lead generation.
- Email list segmentation.
- Email copywriting.
- Email template coding.
- Campaign strategy ideation.
- Campaign automation.
- Analysis and reporting.
An effective email marketing strategy will engage existing customers and would-be lovers of your brand. Use newsletters and promotional emails, for example, to target a specific audience and encourage them to take action.
Search and Paid Advertising
When customers visit your website, they often do so after searching for your company or making a query related to your products and services. How you appear on search engine result pages (SERPs) factors into a web presence. Those with top results (either for general or local searches) get the most clicks, and thus the most business and trust.
While SEO is valuable because it can pave the way for organic search and bring you the right audience, paid advertising content will put your brand in front of the right people even when they’re not actively searching for what you offer.
The more optimized your website and content are, the greater your chances of ranking well. Paid advertising can also get your online presence in front of target audiences and potential customers. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads, display ads and social ads are all useful tools to lift brand awareness and digital presence. And then, if you ever think about selling your business online, you will be in a better position to negotiate.
Blog posts, eBooks, white papers, case studies, sales one-pagers, product spec sheets — these are all content marketing assets that are crucial to building an online presence. Content, in many ways, will be your most potent tool for defining and strengthening your web presence. High-quality content can help you increase your chances of ranking well for key terms and engage prospects, nurture leads and become a thought leader.
Reviews are an important pillar in any company’s online presence. For as much effort as you and your team put into making positive content, potential new customers are likely to trust the opinions of other people who have experience using your product or service. Feedback from previous users is a very important component of a digital marketing presence.
According to data collected by review software company Trustpilot, 89% of global consumers check online reviews as part of their online buying journey. Yes, this means most consumers do their research online before spending money, which is where the value of good customer reviews can be seen.
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What Are the Hallmarks of a Superior Digital Presence?
Digital presence requires refinement. Customer preferences and perceptions are formed in large part by their interactions with the above elements of a digital presence. To ensure you make the desired impact, ensure that your digital presence:
- Is unified and consistent: A consistent presence is central to brand awareness and recall. The same color scheme you use on your website should be used on your social media profile and in your content assets. Taglines, imagery, tone and style and other aspects of digital marketing need to be brought into alignment across platforms and channels.
- Takes the physical into account: Sometimes, physical interactions with customers can impact your digital presence. Consider showrooming or interactive retail; these depend on a physical and digital presence that work as one. Interactions with customer service can also inform user-generated reviews, which in turn can either support or undermine your web presence. Prepare for all such intersections of digital and physical presence to build a resilient brand.
- Is optimized for mobile devices: Even the most carefully crafted digital presence can be disrupted by poor performance on mobile. Website pages that aren’t optimized for smartphones or tablets can frustrate customers. Yet mobile also presents opportunities, not just challenges, particularly regarding apps, local search and social media presence.
5 Ways To Improve Your Digital Presence
Digital presence requires constant attention. Focusing your time and effort on areas of improvement, however, can help you make the most of your resources and build a strong digital presence. Here are 5 tips for doing just that:
1. Don’t Overlook the Small Stuff
Lots of effort will be put into optimizing your website, and for good reason. But don’t let that come at the expense of other elements of digital presence.
For instance, online directories and search business listings must contain accurate data like your business hours, locations and contact information. Customers who encounter outdated or incorrect information may then have a negative experience with your brand, which ultimately diminishes and subverts your digital presence.
2. Go Beyond the Basic
While it’s important to not forget the small things, you should also endeavor to do more than the bare minimum. In terms of content marketing, for example, don’t stop at regular blog posts.
If you want to really amp up your online presence, consider guest blogs that can expand your marketing reach and demonstrate authority and thought leadership that resonates with customers. The same can be said for email. Drip campaigns are good, but an email newsletter that delivers added value to customer inboxes can really set you apart.
3. Leverage Visual Content
Your website needs strong copy that is optimized for keywords you intend to rank for. But it could also benefit from well-produced visual content that helps relay your brand ideals, mission and message to potential customers on a deeper level.
Visuals like video content and infographics can be impactful content assets, as well as highly shareable material for social media. When you incorporate your brand imagery, iconography and color scheme, you can better project a consistent digital presence that online users can immediately recognize or associate with trust, authenticity and knowledge.
4. Be Active on Multiple Social Platforms
Speaking of social media, it’s not just Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that you need to be active on. There are numerous other platforms that can help you build up digital presence.
The key is to target those platforms your customers use most. For instance, B2C brands may want to have profiles on Pinterest or Snapchat; for B2B companies, a LinkedIn profile is a must, while a presence on Quora can also help.
5. Always be Dynamic
A static digital presence is a recipe for brand stagnation. Search engine algorithms and customer preferences are changing all the time, so your brand needs to keep up to date with a relevant digital presence. This means paying attention to UX trends and other developments that impact how your digital presence is delivered and refined.
A digital presence, like plants, thrives with attention and nurturing. With time, you can create an online footprint that brings your brand to the top of customers’ minds or SERPs.
Editor’s note: Updated March 2022.