Big corporations may get a lot of media attention, but studies show customers actually choose small businesses 91% of the time – at least when they can find them.
For more than a quarter of small businesses (28%) who don’t have so much as a website, capturing this willing customer base can be tricky. The good news is that with a bit of strategy and dedicated planning, any SMB looking to develop or grow their online presence can compete against the biggest and loudest in their industry.
Ahead are just a few of the ways smaller businesses can leverage powerful digital innovations to amplify their voice.
What An Online Presence Can Help you Accomplish
Success looks different for every organization. But whether your goal is ‘round the clock availability or more market reach, cultivating a digital presence is an intuitive place to start.
With it comes the ability to enhance your company image and better respond to the needs of your ideal customers and clients. It also allows you to build trust by giving audiences a way to personally engage with your brand.
Your 5-Part Digital Presence Checklist
Even if you plan to do business in person, 76% of customers are going to look you up online first.
The following building blocks can help ensure you stack up to the competition and stand out online:
1. Streamline your digital strategy.
There are so many technologies and tools available one can easily get lost in the tech stack. To take a more attuned approach, start by mapping out what gains you hope to make online. Anything from increased brand awareness and conversions to customer trust are all valid, just make sure your objectives drive your digital transformation efforts. From there you can work to anticipate and address any possible stumbling blocks.
2. Showcase your human side.
Cultivating a strong digital presence doesn’t mean you can’t humanize your business in the process. In fact, qualities like empathy and sincerity are a superpower of many SMBs, particularly when compared to their corporate competitors. Given that more consumers are making purchases that match their values, it’s smart to think (and market) in socially responsible ways. Be it donating a portion of your profits to local causes or championing another community initiative, make an effort to show where your brand might be in ethical alignment.
3. Consider an omnichannel approach.
The more digital ground you cover, the more customer touchpoints you have. But because omnichannel strategies may require a bit of trial and error, you’ll want to be mindful to nurture and optimize the ones that provide the most traction. Look to the data to see which social pushes, SEO campaigns, or sales platforms really resonate with your community.
4. Meet customers where they are.
We all find ways to fill our time online. With smartphones in hand, we shop, read reviews, and connect with our networks – and it’s important your brand capitalize on these opportunities for engagement. “SMBs need to meet their customers where they are by establishing a strong online presence across all of these fronts,” cautions Forbes. “You should also engage customers in online conversations and respond to both negative and positive reviews.”
5. Focus on content quality.
So much of your digital identity is based on the type of content you create. Each piece needs to be representative of your company values and brand standards while simultaneously drawing in your audience. Consider creating branding and messaging guidelines to help with consistency. You may also try running A/B tests that can help you determine the most impactful types of marketing materials for your customers.
Creating A Strong, Consistent Digital Brand
The more hands-on you are while creating or building your online presence, the more brand exposure and awareness you’re likely to gain. Though it may take time, small businesses that consistently work to blend digital tools with a human touch can take on competitors of any size.