Creating a Digital Presence for your Business
Your Digital Storefront
In the modern age of business, a Digital Presence is necessary to the success and growth of your organization. If you want to expand follow these 4 steps and put your business in front of the world:
- Digital Brand Discovery
- Value Chain Analysis
- Omni-Channel Strategy Development
- Business Offering Analysis
These 4 steps are the first stages of developing extending the reach of your company. If you want to be found by more people follow along as we explore the importance of your Digital Presence.
I. Digital Brand Discovery
Understanding your customers and the way they engage with brands will provide you with insight into what is necessary to take your brand to the next stage of development.
Identifying business opportunities on the internet is the first stage of developing your company’s Digital Presence. Often we take for granted how connected the world has become. Amazon, GrubHub, and Uber are just some of the redefined or reimagined businesses that exist as a result of the internet.
Take this time to thoroughly review your current customer base. Evaluate their demographics, interests, and buying habits. The internet provides information at our fingertips. It is your responsibility as a business owner to make this information work for you. An example of the impact the internet has on the growth of organizations is exemplified by the use of Social Media. According to HubSpot’s Brand Discover Insight Report,
The average consumer spends 2 hours 13 minutes a day on social networks/services – that’s a lot of time for brands to grab a consumer’s attention.
You must ask yourself, how do we push the limits and what information is key to expanding our Brand Visibility? Does this require introducing new products or services? These questions will open your company up to new opportunities in the Digital Landscape.
Dig deep into your customer information to determine how you want your company to be viewed on a larger scale. Keep in mind that once you unlock the Pandora’s Box that is your Digital Presence you will need to send the right messages to the right people to entice engagement and realize a return on your Digital Marketing Investment.
II. Value Chain Analysis
Step back and analyze your internal operations and the way you are servicing your customers. This will allow you to reflect on the opportunities presented by a Digital Presence and proper use of Technology.
Your business can push the limits in the modern digital age by finding opportunities to improve your internal operations. Your growth is dependent on the value that you provide to your customers and to distinguish yourself from your competition you need to thoroughly review and optimize your business operations.
When you perform a Value Chain Analysis you have to look at your Primary Activities which directly affect what you provide your customers, as well as, the Support Activities which enable you to perform your operations. Porter’s Value Chain Model to the left shows the connection between both activities and your profits.
It is up to you as the business owner to decide what will differentiate your company from your competition. There are two types of strategies that companies typically use to gain an advantage over their competitors, Cost Advantage or Differentiation Advantage. Your competitive advantage will determine your focus during your Value Chain Analysis. A Cost Advantage means that you will beat your competition on pricing; therefore, you need to find ways to cut your operational costs when evaluating your operations. On the other hand, the Differentiation Advantage requires that you find ways to optimize your operations to provide better products or services, so improving quality will be your primary concern with a Differentiation Advantage.
According to Strategic Management Insight’s Post, Value Chain Analysis,
M. Porter introduced the generic value chain model in 1985. Value chain represents all the internal activities a firm engages in to produce goods and services. VC is formed of primary activities that add value to the final product directly and support activities that add value indirectly.
III. Create Omni-Channel Strategies
It has been said that your customers are your lifeblood in business, so understanding your audience’s needs and connecting with them in the Digital world presents an opportunity to expand your business.
First, you may be asking yourself, what is Omni-Channel and why should I care about it when developing my Digital Presence? Well, that is a great question if we are telling you that you need an Omni-Channel Strategy when developing your Digital Presence. BigCommerce defines Omni-Channel in their Post, The Complete Omni-Channel Retail Report: What Brands Need to Know About Modern Consumer Shopping Habits in 2018,
Stores selling both online and offline — likely also selling through multiple online channels (i.e. on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, B2B). We’ve also been referencing the importance of listing your product wherever consumers are already spending their time. This is increasingly known as contextual commerce, a more strategic take on the overarching omni-channel term.
In the course of running your business, the lines get blurred on doing what needs to be done and what should be done to grow your business. This is more evident when working on your Digital Presence. Technology allows more ways to deliver messages to consumers at a lower cost. Developing a strategy that delivers your unique value propositions to your audience where they spend their time is a sure way to grow your organization’s Brand Visibility and Digital Presence.
According to BigCommerce’s Report, 51% of Americans say they prefer to shop online. This single statistic says that you must develop an effective Omni-Channel Strategy in order to compete in your market. Understanding your customer base’s buying habits and their content consumption is a step in creating a solid Omni-Channel Strategy. Once you have completed the first step, Brand Discovery, you should understand where your audience is, what they engage with and how they are engaging with your organization. Here we are taking this a step further by discovering gaps in offerings from your competition. This will allow you to focus on the channels that your customers are not being serviced by your competition.
As you develop your Digital Presence you must continually monitor the progress of your initiatives across all channels. Not only do you need to develop your presence on these channels, but you must also offer your audience easy methods of purchasing what you have to offer. If they want to walk into your store be sure they can find you if they want to purchase on a website or social media be sure that you allow them too.
Omni-Channel Strategies involve in-depth looks into consumer behaviors, market trends, and digital trends. Your company needs to be prepared to analyze data and use it to your advantage.
IV. Business Offering Analysis
Keeping your product/service offerings fresh will ensure that you stay relevant. When developing your Digital Presence you need to evaluate these offerings to be sure that you position your company properly in the Digital Space.
To succeed in the Digital Market you need to evaluate your product/service offering. Look back to when you began your company, what was it that you did to establish your offerings to the public? What makes your product or service unique from your competition or is it time to make it unique?
Evaluating your company’s pricing structure to ensure that you are competitive yet profitable. This leads back to our discussion about establishing your company’s competitive advantage, either you are competing on price or quality. If you are competing on price, then you need to compare your prices with your competition to remain competitive. If you are competing on quality, then this is a great opportunity to evaluate the quality you provide and your competitions. Also, be sure that you have a clear value proposition to clarify why your product or service is higher quality than the rest in the market.
Your companies culture needs to involve continual learning that improves your capabilities so you can shift to your customers’ needs. Large corporations such as Amazon, Cocoa-Cola, and Uber have done this and have been quite successful if you consider their humble beginnings.
Your leadership is important to begin this process; great vision and a fearless attitude are needed when managing your Digital Presence. Your company needs to remain agile yet steadfast while taking the steps necessary to open your company up to the Online Battlefield.