It should be fairly clear by now that simply having an online storefront is not enough to earn you a strong reputation or even grant you a foothold into your market. It takes commitment to a wide variety of efforts and a strong, data-based strategy to back up that presence in order to grant you the visibility you need to attract attention, let alone inspire loyalty.
Some brands have begun to comprehend the relevance of a memorable website and a strong online presence in general due to the pandemic – with no brick-and-mortar stores to fall back on, they had to find ways to push their digital channels to the forefront and match their physical stores’ earning potential. Suddenly, you either pop up in the first few results for certain phrases, or you don’t exist at all, and friendly customer service doesn’t help one bit if there’s no one to please in the first place.
As the world quickly shifts towards more e-commerce and more online transactions, your brand needs to find a way to stand out and get noticed. These are some of the most promising tactics you can add to your strategy and refine them over time to get better results.
Don’t neglect ongoing optimization
Google and other search engines listen to your customers, and you should follow their lead. You, in fact, have to follow their lead if you want to keep your prime spot in the SERPs, since they’ll penalize any attempt to “fake” your way to the top. The answer lies in refining your SEO strategy to reflect the algorithm changes for your search engines of choice.
From reputable link building, keyword optimization, technical optimization, all the way to blogger outreach for the sake of diversifying your content output, your optimization will depend heavily on how creative you are and how much you know about what search engines (and customers) recognize as legitimate and valuable.
Data-based decisions bring best results
Understanding what your customers want at any given moment is half the battle when it comes to establishing your online presence. Their preferences and needs drive your brand, so it’s only natural to use them when building your marketing strategy, crafting your content, and implementing smarter customer support solutions. To avoid bias and human errors in analyzing and collecting this data, more brands use customizable reporting software to collect, filter, and analyze the most relevant information from your digital platforms.
Automating this process also gives you more time to focus on creative solutions rather than investing hours on menial analytics tasks that the software can tackle with ease and in a fraction of the time. You’ll have access to piles of data to spot gaps in your existing digital strategy and to follow what your customers want you to improve – be it the checkout process, your social media posting schedule, or your content topics.
Leverage your current customers
When someone visits your website, they rely on a slew of cues to make their decisions. If they are greeted with a sleek, easy-to-navigate site, they will most likely gladly browse for what they’ve been looking for. If they come across a few pop-ups, they’ll feel their experience is undisturbed and seamless. However, they’ll feel alone. You can show them that there are other customers just like them browsing your online store and making purchases with the help of an integrated social proof tool that discreetly notifies your visitors every time someone makes a purchase with a brief, non-intrusive pop-up message.
Social proof is the notion of inspiring trust and showcasing the existing interest in your brand to new website visitors who aren’t certain if they should trust your store or not. Plus, leveraging social proof helps inspire FOMO, or fear of missing out, which will further entice them to go through with the purchase if they’re still on the fence.
Influencer collaborations still matter
Hand in hand with your customers’ testimonials (to which we’ll get shortly), your brand needs to rely on influencer endorsement on social media to get more brand exposure, and of course, inspire more trust in your target audience. Their support for your business puts you in front of their followers, which immediately brings you closer to increasing your conversion rates and ultimately your online revenue through such sponsored posts. Remember that you should focus on long-term relationships with few influencers, and not on one-off collaborations.
Reviews and testimonials are vital
Word of mouth (or WOM for short) has always been the most reliable tactic to earn customer trust and long-term loyalty. The digital world has created its own WOM version in the form of publishing testimonials, reviews, and ratings, not just directly on your brand’s website, but on every single social media platform, search engine, and business database that allows such forms of rating.
Instead of touting your own horn constantly, let your customers tell your tales of success, share their experiences with you, and use them as conversation-starters, as proof that you fulfill your promises, and as a chance to promote your business indirectly. Their word is much more powerful than your content alone, so it’s essential to leverage customer opinions and experiences online.
No brand can survive the current influx of user-made content without reciprocating with the same level of interest. Simply put: you need to be active online in order to inspire the same kind of activity from your customers and followers. Engagement is not so simple to bring about, but when you combine your data-collecting efforts with ongoing analysis and creativity, you can manage to pinpoint when, what, and where you should post to garner interest.
Nowadays, you’ll notice that in addition to emails with personalized content, discounts, and offers, social media contests, live-streaming, and interactive polls have become the trendiest, most inspiring form of content for most audiences. That will likely evolve, and your brand needs to follow suit in order to stay relevant. Your role in this process is to regularly ask relevant questions, respond to comments, appreciate shares, join in discussions on forums, engage with guest bloggers, and of course, continue refining how you interact with your customers on all of your platforms.
Remember that as promising as these methods may be, they will lead to results only when you implement them systematically and consistently, in line with what your customers prefer today. They are adjustable, and they give you plenty of creative room to adapt, so there’s no excuse to not make the most of them in your own, unique way.
Instead of focusing on immediate results and temporary gains, adapt your goals to match your methods and to maximize the potential of your brand to earn the trust of your target demographic.