As published on ShellyPalmer.com
The post-holiday months see many Americans promise themselves smaller waistlines, bigger bank accounts and more active treadmills. So whether personally you’ve decided to fall in love or cut down on your red meat intake, as a business there’s one “resolution” you can’t afford not to make: building your online presence.
Go to Your Customers
But where are they? They’re on social media; compulsively checking their email; playing games online; reading news on a tablet; getting directions from their smartphones. The short version: they’re online. And they’re online now more than ever, much in part due to mobile devices. Over the past decade, there has been a not-so-gradual shift in media. In 2013, US adults spent more time on digital media than on television for the first time ever.
As consumers and potential customers continue to spend more time online, companies continue to increase their spending on digital advertising. In 2014, companies planned to increase their digital marketing budgets by an average of 27%. That number is sure to increase for 2015. The CMO Council predicts that within the next four years, digital ads will account for 33% of total advertising revenue. This number would nearly mirror television numbers. TV advertising is on par to generate $173.7 billion worldwide in 2014, and that number will increase to $214.7 billion in 2018. In that same four year period, internet advertising is expected to grow from $133 billion to $194.5 billion.
Make sure you’re not left behind, spending all your marketing budget on traditional media when your customers are more likely to be on Facebook than listening to the radio.
What Can You Do?
While making sure your physical doorway is welcoming is important, keeping your virtual doorway impeccable is far more critical. Here are some tips to help you diligently maintain your online profile.
- Make sure you have a mobile-responsive website. Mobile ad spending forecast to increase from $8.4 billion in 2012 to almost $37 billion in 2016 on smartphones and tablets.
- Be active on social media (that includes listening, not just one-way projecting). Social marketing budgets will double in the next five years.
- Post relevant content to your social channels. 42% of marketers say Facebook is critical or important to their business.
- Respond to reviews in a timely manner. 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
- Ensure your contact information is accurate across the web. 85%of consumers use the internet to find local businesses.
- Monitor your competition — know what they are doing online. Understand how your business and your competitors are perceived by customers.
Like any new year’s resolution, building and maintaining your online presence isn’t easy. It takes time, hard work and a conscientious effort. The rewards, however, will be felt in customer satisfaction, revenue growth and customer acquisition. As with anything, if you can’t manage it on your own (and you likely shouldn't, because you have a business to run), reach out to people in your company, new software and other tools to help you build your online presence.