I’m always baffled whenever I come across a client who doesn’t understand the power of the internet and taking advantage of social media. It is ironic that many business owners are usually reluctant about investing in an online presence and growth marketing. But they always want sales. Although, it appears like one is most likely going to achieve fame from a scandal than from doing the right thing but there are many ways you can achieve your business or personal brand goals without getting your hands dirty. Listed below are five reasons you should invest in an online presence and growth:
- Visibility- establish brand awareness, reach more people beyond your physical location, bigger growth potential,
- Credibility- improves trust, gives competitive advantage, makes conversion easier,
- Marketing- advertising and sales, the bloodline of any business
- Authority- establishing your brand or self as an authority figure
- Adaptability- the future is online.
Any business without an online presence in this 21st century is like a dinosaur waiting for extinction.Victory Enofe (circa 2018)
Studies show that businesses with an online presence do better due to the increased number of people shopping online and using smart devices. According to Statista, the number of people shopping online globally is growing; from about 1.66 billion people in 2016, It is estimated that over 2.14 billion people will become online shoppers by 2021. And these numbers are growing daily, which means you have a higher chance of selling your products/services online.
The newer generations (millennials and generation z) are more inclined to technology and do almost everything online. Especially if you provide goods or services, you’ll want to put your business out there.
The power of recognizing a brand cannot be overestimated. This is why I want to ask you this simple question.
How many people in your city/town know about your business apart from your friends and family?
Reflect on this question and try to answer it. I’ve prepared a fun quiz to put things in perspective. Kindly try this quiz below before you continue reading this post.
The results from the quiz above will show you the importance of visibility for your brand. Now ask yourself this question:
If my business logo was up there will anyone recognize it?
Brand recognition and familiarity improves growth
People tend to buy what they know or are used to seeing. If you keep seeing images of a particular brand, you’ll develop a degree of trust for that brand and if the brand connects with you emotionally, you will most likely be comfortable trying it. It’s a matter of time and chance. And once you start using a particular brand you’ll hardly want to try another. Unless you’re given a reason to (this is where consistency and improvement come to play).
Brand positioning for growth
Brand visibility is the reason supermarkets arrange popular brands at eye level on their shelves and other brands at the top or bottom. These are strategic decisions. The more familiar you are with a product the easier it is for you to select that product amid many others, especially if it is within your sight and grasp.
The same thing applies to physical stores. When visiting the mall, the most expensive shops are situated closer to the entrance on the ground floor. The shops that are on higher floors and harder to reach are usually cheaper. The power of visibility is at play in this case as usual.
Another typical example is the positioning of billboards along roads and highways.
If you’ve observed, you would have noticed that the billboards are always facing oncoming traffic. And the busier the route the more costly the billboard will be. Of course, other factors influence pricing like size, season, demand, competition, etc.
It is the same reason the sides of some buildings are used for placing adverts (strategically located for visibility). Despite how popular Coca-Cola is they never stop pushing advert campaigns they’ve maintained some spots at Times Square since 1920. (Source: interestingengineering.com)
Coca-Cola runs ads on the internet, TV, billboards, newspaper,s, etc. they sponsor major sports events such as the Olympics and the World Cup just to have everywhere covered. They don’t stop there. Coca-Cola also gives branded refrigerators to their distributors and retailers so you can see the brand more. They go as far as making signages for restaurants, bars, and eat-outs just so their brand can be more visible.
These things cost a lot of money, but they understand the value of visibility, the cost is worth it.
There’s power in having a visible brand. Big brands are conscious of this. You should too if you want to be big.
Note: Strategic Placement
Strategic placement plays an important part in brand visibility. Where can you find the most people at once? The internet! You can find your potential and ideal customers online, this is why you should invest in digital marketing. Promote your content on social media, advertise your products and promos via search engines. That’s a sure way to increase your brand visibility by investing in your online presence and growth.
In this 21st century, credibility in business is very important. And for your business to improve trust, you must learn to communicate more with your customers directly. This is why big brands have social media presence even though they have popular websites that they spend money maintaining. The power of social media networks cannot be exaggerated.
Did you know that Facebook had over 2.6 billion active users in the first quarter of 2020 alone. This means 2.6 billion people logged into their Facebook accounts within 30 days).
There are other social networks like Instagram (owned by Facebook), Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.
The role of social media in building credibility
The role of social media is to establish relationships with your customers, encourage interaction and make communication between brands and the customers seamless. This can also be achieved on a website. But social media is more effective for this purpose because there are more people you can engage and interact with.
One can start an initiative/activity and it’ll go viral in a short time. With the use of hashtags, trends are set in motion and maximum engagement is achieved.
The role of your website in building credibility
Your website is more of an online representation of your business. It is your brochure, gallery, showroom, or store depending on the purpose of your site. Your brand/company puts up information for their customers which may or may not stir up a conversation because there is usually no room for that. But they use social media for better engagement with their customers and supporters and stir up conversations or trends as the case may be.
It’s important for you to create a website for your business or brand to build trust and increase reputation.
Brands/Businesses communicate the latest info, promos, product launch events, press releases, and so on through their websites. This way there is a trusted source of information from the business to their customers.
Social media conundrum
Brands/ Businesses usually struggle with maintaining their credibility on social media where they have less control over their accounts (unverified accounts) because sometimes they have not established themselves in the market fully, so fraudulent people may try to take advantage of that. A typical way this happens is by creating fake Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts. Most fraudsters barely go as far as cloning your website but those with resources could. This is why it’s important to use a security certificate to increase your website security and get the trust badge from search engines and browsers.
Pros of working with pros
This is why it is essential to use professionals when creating your online presence (website, social media, etc.). There’s a need for uniformity of your brand and coherence across all platforms to increase trust. This also makes it easier for your customers, followers, or supporters to find you.
If you type my handle @iamvic3 on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook it’ll lead you to one account (mine).
Uniformity/ consistency increases trust.
You can’t have @businessname on Twitter and @businessacronym on Instagram. It makes it hard for your followers to recognize your brand identity across various platforms. And when there is no recognition, they won’t know your official username, therefore, trust will be far from you. This makes your brand credibility questionable. It’s all in brand psychology. Your online presence and growth depend on how credible and trustworthy your brand is perceived.
Getting a verified account is sort of a necessity for big brands and known public figures. But if you’re just starting, focus on establishing visibility and credibility first.
Marketing and advertising
Difference between marketing and advertising
Marketing and advertising are two controversial terms thrown around by business owners interchangeably. According to American Marketing Association, Marketing is the process of identifying the needs of your customer and coming up with the best ways to meet those needs. Advertising on the other hand is the act of promoting your products and services through paid channels. In other words, marketing comprises advertising and many other activities. You can read more about it here.
The goal of marketing
This is arguably one of the most important parts of running a business. What’s a business without sales? It will be riddled with debts, unpaid bills, and unpaid wages, most likely job losses, and eventually failure of the business.
Many businesses fail before they even start because they never planned for marketing. Or they did but failed to execute properly. The goal of marketing is to drive sales.
The goal of every business is to make money and most importantly, profit.
The way and manner you represent your brand online and offline is part of marketing. In your advertisement, presentations, and how your staff portrays/represents your brand effect marketing your brand.
Fear of marketing
Marketing is one of the most dreaded tasks for entrepreneurs. I’ve heard people express how much they hate marketing. They don’t want to work as marketers in organizations, and they don’t like marketers. I find this statement ironic because we are all subconsciously marketing something.
Some examples of marketing we do subconsciously
Now, I’ll illustrate for effect. You meet a girl you like (apparently she’s your type and it seems like you have her attention), so you both go out on a date so you can get to know each other better, and talk over the phone every day. Now you know a lot of the things she likes, and you want her to be your girlfriend.
So what do you do? You give her the things she likes, take her to places she wants to go to, and treat her the way she likes to be treated. right? Well, that’s marketing. You’re selling yourself to that person.
The Fast-food chain analogy
You own a fast-food franchise and you’ve managed to secure a prime location close to a university campus (now we all know that students are always hungry lol).
First, you have solved one problem, you have identified your ideal customer and secured an outlet close to them. What next? Get to know your ideal customers well and finally, find more of them. I will discuss more of these in another post.
I have gone through the pain of discussing 3 Steps to Sustainable Growth Strategy for Businesses. Read all about it here.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” — Peter Drucker
After breaking down the above information to determine who your ideal customers are.
Next, create a sales funnel, and follow every step till you get your first customer.
Marketing is the heart of the business because that’s how you figure out how to make money. Amazon spent $18.88 billion in marketing in 2019.
Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.- Henry Ford
As you can see the revenue grew as well as the marketing expenses. This shows that even big corporations spend a lot on marketing and advertising. Numbers don’t lie. Big brands don’t undermine their online presence and growth
Once your brand has established its credibility it’s on its way to becoming an authority in that industry. You can achieve this with consistency, excellence, and constantly giving value (knowledge sharing). This opens more doors than simply advertising.
Titans of industry
Oftentimes, brands are associated with personalities. For instance, Tesla and SpaceX are associated with Elon Musk, Amazon is associated with Jeff Bezos, Microsoft is still associated with Bill Gates even though he took the backseat since 2008 and Microsoft is being run by someone else today (Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO), KFC is associated with Col. Sander even after all these years, Facebook is associated with Mark Zuckerberg. You get my point, right?
Cult of personality
Brands typically embody the strongest persona at the helm of affairs of the company and this, in turn, tends to affect the dynamics of how the media and their audience perceives them.
Nine years after Steve Jobs’ passing people still associate Apple with Jobs.
“If you are the CEO, you are the brand.” — George Farris
These men I’ve mentioned are authority figures in their respective fields and whatever they put their name on tends to succeed.
Icons of authority
People will listen to you once you’re an Authority figure. Elon Musk was appointed as a member of two presidential councils by the Trump administration but he resigned after Trump backed out of the Paris accord (According to The Verge).
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was a Managing Director at the World Bank, sat on the boards of some global corporations such as Twitter and Standard Chartered Bank, GAVI to mention but a few. And currently serving as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
She is an authority figure in finance and economics hence has served as Finance Minister to two administrations and also served as Minister for Foreign affairs in Nigeria.
Be a press magnet for the right reason
These two examples are people who built their careers in the private sector and also served their nations and advised governments around the world. These types of people do not need to pay the press for promotion, they are Authority Figures. The press seeks them out like a heat-seeking missile shot at a jet.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you’re a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
The WHO takes Bill Gates seriously, not because he is a medical professional but because he has done more for Global Health than most people, and he adds value. Hence, be valuable.
The way we do business keeps changing daily. In most recent times, the rapid change can be attributed to the after-effects of the Covid pandemic. Most businesses have not recovered while some thrived and even grew bigger than they’ve ever been, for examples Amazon, Microsoft, Zoom, DoorDash, Tencent, Netflix, and lots more.
What do these businesses have in common?
They are all online, using technology. According to Statista internet access and adoption are rapidly increasing worldwide, with over 2.14 billion digital buyers in 2021 compared to 1.92 billion online shoppers in 2019 and 1.52 billion in 2016. In 2020, over two billion people purchased goods or services online, and during the same year, e-retail sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.
With these figures, it is evident that the world is rapidly adopting the use of technology in doing business. Smartphone users account for over 70% of all retail sales online. With such unprecedented growth, it will be unwise to not adapt to these changes. There has never been a better time to get your business online. There are so many platforms and technology to take advantage of when it comes to having an online presence and growth. And with projected figures of 6.38 trillion USD by 2024 for retail eCommerce businesses it’ll be wise to jump on the train before it leaves the station.
People often wonder why DSTV advertise their packages on DSTV. Simple answer, visibility.
Most times DSTV advertises an upgrade to the package you’re subscribed to. They show you what you’re missing on other packages. Sometimes people upgrade their subscriptions simply because of these strategic adverts.
We do marketing and advertising for the sake of visibility, awareness, and sales.
Be seen and heard
Once a brand has established its presence in the mind and eyes of their target market, they are only an offer away from converting those visitors into customers.
Become a household name
And once they have become a household name, they retain some form of authority in that industry or region. This means they can set a standard, influence prices, positively and negatively affect the perceived value of the brand they represent. This is why companies use celebrities and also dissociate from infamous celebrities when they are involved in scandals that may hurt their brand.
Manage your affiliations for growth
It is commonly said that in show-biz all publicity is good publicity, well, not in the business world. Some scandals can tarnish the image of companies forever and lead to public backlash.
“Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.” — Beth Comstock
Change is inevitable
Stay abreast with market trends, adapt quickly to changes, and lead innovations using technology. Find a way to reach more of your ideal customers and make work easy for your staff.
If only Blackberry and Nokia had adapted quickly to the changes that swept the mobile phone industry in the first decade of the new Millenium, they would have still held large market shares.
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