The digital market place is becoming very crowded. For certain it has been busy over the last few years but 2012 definitely saw a dramatic increase in spaces never used before being taken up. This conflagration of new corporate users has two prominent impacts.
These are not new concepts. Businesses have been vying for users attention and love for as long as one can remember but the online space is the most recent battleground for users. Add to this the fact that users are inundated with information 24 hours a day and the seemingly small bucket of attention becomes a puddle.
This most likely makes the idea of trying to get through to a potential customer a more than daunting task for businesses, most of whom are struggling to catch up in this world of .com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, UX and UI design interfaces, Canonical URLs and Optimised site architecture. All the while there is this sense that they are being taken for a ride by agencies purporting to be experts in all things web (a statement filled with disaster).
Out of fear of missing out and failing online, businesses have turned to a “ticking the box” approach to digital marketing. Using this approach they try to create presence on all the digital platforms which invariably leads to the dilution of their message and digital brand equity.
The problem is that most businesses do not know what to do, how to do it, where to do it and (most importantly) why to do it. Suffice to say there are any number of considerations but here are a few basic tips.
Know thy self
Anything and everything you do online should be a reflection of who you are as a business. The digital space is as valuable in creating brand equity as any other medium your business may use, so treat it the same way. If you are in a space that has no intrinsic value to your brand — dump it.
When you decide to go digital make sure who ever you get to manage your presence has an acute understanding of what it means to be you, what your customer type is and the values that best represent your brand. Facebook is not for everyone, so if it is not applicable, don’t do it.
Research, research then research some more
This is the era of data and it is there for you to find. If you can Google you can do some decent research to get a basic idea of the ins and outs of digital marketing and online branding. You don’t have to try to be a digital genius but having a look at competitors and trends is a must do for any business wanting to play in the digital arena.
If you are going to do it, do it right
The digital space is not some frolic-in-the-garden-do-what-you-like adventure. There are basic practices that are inherent for every business. Digital marketing deserves all your respect. It has become the prominent means of interacting and communicating for many industries and will continue to grow, so treat it with the necessary level of importance.
If you use a professional agency to perform your traditional marketing then look for a professional digital marketing agency to get you online.
As mentioned, the digital space is noisy and you need to break through this noise to reach your clients. To do this you need to be bold, be willing to take the next step out of your comfort zone and into the digital space. Do something creative and new to stake your claim in the online world. You can use existing ideas and structures to get this done but if you can do something “bold” to get noticed, as well as getting it in the right places, your return will be far greater.
As a round up thought the most important factor that you should consider for all the above is honesty. The web has created an environment in which information is king so being honest will firstly protect you (because someone will find out) and secondly endear you to the user.