A guest article by Howie Bick from The Analyst Handbook

A lot of business nowadays has moved online and onto digital platforms. With more and more customers spending time on social media, and various websites, it’s becoming more important to have a strong online or digital presence.

An online presence means connecting with your audience, engaging the community you have, and staying in front of your target demographic. Whether that’s through content, paid advertising, or partnerships, staying at the forefront of your consumers mind is important for businesses nowadays.

With the way the world is today, with less in person interaction, and more digital communication and connectivity, having a strong online presence is one of the key aspects of business today.

Organic vs. Paid

Generating traffic and visitors to your site is one of the essential elements to creating a digital presence. Whether it’s through organic or paid, there are various ways and strategies to direct people who are online, to the place where your business is located.

An organic presence puts a heavy focus on putting out content, and finding ways to drive traffic, engagement, or recognition to that content. Whether that’s through specific social media platforms, through email lists or sequences, or any way you can generate visitors or traffic to your site without using paid advertising is often considered organic, at least from our standpoint. There are lots of ways to do it, whether it’s through commenting, partnering with other brands or social media accounts, or creating free giveaways or promotional items to help draw traffic to your social media accounts or to your business platforms. Organic traffic or reach is tough to develop, as it requires lots of work, time, and energy to create one. It’s becoming harder and harder as more brands, companies, and accounts are looking for ways to generate income or revenue through their social media accounts, or online presence as well.

A paid strategy primarily involves using paid advertising, whether it be banners, advertising spots, or sponsored categories as well.

By using a paid advertising approach, you can circumvent the process and time it takes to build a strong online presence, by using the dollars you have in your pocket. You can position your company or brand in places where it takes lots of time, work, and energy to get there, by using advertising. By paying for advertising, you’re trying to appear right in front of the consumer, and direct them to their site. By using headlines, sub-headers, and ad copy, you’re trying to find ways to catch their attention, then have them visit where your business is located.

Keep in mind there’s often an ad or a sponsored tag attached to the advertising, but you’re able to get directly to the consumer or your target demographic at day one.

Omni-Channel Approach

Another thing many people and companies have spoken about, is having an omni-channel approach. An omni-channel approach is an all-encompassing and wide range approach that covers multiple different channels, mediums, and spotlights throughout the many media or mediums that are available. Having a digital presence on all the social media platforms where your target customer or consumer is spending their time is a great idea. It allows you to stay in front of your consumer, connect with them on multiple different platforms, and have unique relationships with them depending on the platform you’re on. Each medium or media outlet has a different type of content or relationship with the consumer.

Having a digital presence in a variety of places increases the amount of people you can reach; it enhances the awareness and exposure a company or brand can have and gives a company more opportunities to touch their consumer and create relationships with them as well. By having an omni-channel approach, you’re able to generate traffic from multiple different sources, and you’re also able to see data behind each medium, each customer from that medium, and what’s been working versus what hasn’t been working.

Digital Capabilities

Many businesses have resisted or refrained from moving their businesses online, due to the nature of their business, the way their leaders have led, or the values their leaders have believed in.

It’s become an interesting debate, especially during this time, as more and more companies have had to shift their business online, enrol their businesses in digital or online platforms, or increase the digital capabilities they’ve had. It’s been incredibly interesting to see how businesses have had to adapt to the wants and needs of their customers during a time where personal interaction is limited and meant to be at a distance.

For example, many restaurants have had to change and adapt the way they’ve done business, by enlisting their restaurants on various delivery platforms, offering customers delivery options, or bringing take-out orders directly to their cars.

More and more businesses have had to move their companies and businesses online, as the world has gone into a working from home environment, with a heavy usage of online communication. Companies have had to increase the amount of digital capabilities they’ve had, as the consumer has gone into a more isolated and virtual state. Communicating through messaging systems or having the necessary integrations or systems in place so employees could work from home, or performing their necessary job functions, have been important in companies maintain their income or revenue streams in the time were in today.

Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see the way businesses change their structure, the way they adapt to digital ideas or systems, and the way they plan on doing business.

The times we’re in today show the importance of having digital capabilities and infrastructure in place and ready to go. As new platforms or systems arise, it’ll be interesting to see which companies are at the forefront, and have learned from the times were in, and which decide to go back to their old habits and either avoid or delay their business digital capabilities in the times going forward.

Conclusion

The way business is conducted and orchestrated nowadays is heavily based and predicated on having an online or digital presence. Creating a strong digital presence takes time, it takes work, and it takes energy over a long period of time. It requires creative ideas, lots of different strategies, and utilizing different methods in order to continue growing.

The strategies available to you within the online or digital arena, whether it’s a paid or organic strategy, or a blend of both, offer you various benefits and many advantages to connect and interact with your customers. Getting to your customer is an important part of any business, and with more and more of a usage and dependency on digital mediums, it’s important to implement these strategies on a variety of mediums. Having an omni-channel approach presents businesses the opportunity to connect with a larger audience, increase the amount of touch points they have with their customers, and build communities in a variety of different mediums with different types of content.

The digital mediums and platforms that are available nowadays have enormous amounts of potential and opportunity for companies both big and small. Businesses capabilities when it comes to digital platforms or presences can be incredibly important and productive for businesses, especially in times like these.

The metrics, data, and numbers that digital mediums and platforms offer you are incredibly valuable as well. A lot of what business analysts do, is to try and figure out where companies can improve their businesses, where their digital presence can be optimized, and the types of areas a business can further develop.

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