The buyer's journey describes the path to purchase a product or service. In other words, people don't typically buy on a whim. They often go through a process that allows them to be aware of the possibilities, consider their choices, evaluate options and make a decision.
Many consumers look to the internet to tell them which products and services they need. According to a Salesforce survey, 85% of consumers conduct research before they make a purchase online. Among the most used channels are websites (74%) and social media (38%).
For example, someone who is searching for new winter boots might start by researching the best brands. The brand Sorel dominates search results with options to purchase from many different stores. The buyer will also find a website, social media pages, product reviews and news articles, helping influence their purchase of a pair of boots from Sorel.
Without a digital footprint, your brand could go unnoticed. A positive digital presence increases awareness and strengthens credibility.
Here are five effective ways you can build an online presence to support your brand image:
1. Create a user-friendly website
A website or landing page is an important asset to drive traffic to your brand. To increase time spent on the site, it should be user-friendly, easy to navigate and accessible from any device.
Create a seamless and memorable customer experience by incorporating your brand's colors, fonts, logos, images and videos.
2. Be active online/embrace social media
Social media is one of the first places people will go to find out more about your company or brand. Post and engage with your followers on a regular basis to stay relevant and to nurture conversations around your brand.
Social media connections increase brand awareness and potential sales. According to HubSpot, 92% of marketers said that their social media presence has generated more exposure for their business.
3. Personify your brand
Brand personification is a technique that encourages people to think about brands as if they were people. This is a compelling method that forces you to take a step back and gain some clarity on who your brand is, what your values are and how you want to be known.
Remember to be authentic. If you force characteristics on your brand that don't align with your values, people will notice. Check out our blog “3 Ways to Build an Authentic Brand” for tips on how to determine and showcase your brand voice.
4. Think mobile
According to Statista, almost 188 million people will shop using their smartphones by 2024. It’s more important now than ever to deliver information in a mobile format so you can reach new prospects and enhance your search rankings.
Factor in the mobility of your website to avoid pages that load too slowly on smartphones and layouts that are difficult to view.
5. Create valuable content
Creating and distributing compelling and valuable content is another way to build your online presence. Share news updates about your brand and maintain a regular blog with fresh and original content to draw consumers to your site. Paired with earned media placements, you can ensure your brand stays top of mind for your target audience.
A content library is a helpful tool to improve your online reputation. Through SEO analytics tools, you can determine how to create the most impact and attract more consumers to your content while highlighting all the good you are doing.
Most people will do research before making a purchase decision and will naturally expect to find your business online, hopefully in a positive light. If your brand doesn’t appear on the first page of the search results, consumers may question the reliability and legitimacy of your business. Create a positive digital presence that entices consumers to want to learn more.
Related: Best Practices for Creating a Survey Email Campaign