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Reaching Customers in the Digital Age: A Checklist

Today more than ever, customers use the internet for everything from shopping to learning about your brand. That's why it's critical to be customer-focused and know how to manage your organization's online reputation. Most companies need a stellar website with excellent content, as well as high impact social media campaigns to thrive in today's market. 

The following are things almost every business needs in order to succeed:

1. Website

An excellent website serves many purposes. In addition to being an online storefront for your brand, it's where customers and influencers go to determine your credibility. How do certain design and functionality elements help customers decide whether your business is legitimate? The first factor is loading time. If a website takes too long to load, visitors will lose interest and leave before they even get the opportunity to see what your business is about. Since your website is often your first impression, it's inconsiderate to your audience to expect them to wait. You need to show them that you respect their time and overall user experience. Because many people use mobile devices to access the internet, an excellent website should also load quickly across devices from phones to tablets as well as large screens. Thus, speed isn't the only factor that influences customers on mobile devices; your website must also be compatible from an aesthetics standpoint to include a meta viewport tag to display properly and adjust to various screen sizes.

Next, aesthetics matter. The best websites look good in addition to loading properly. If your images lack quality, consumers might assume your business isn't established. Everything from graphics to fonts and color palettes affect the way people perceive your company.

2. Online Presence

The days of advertising on broadcast television have changed with the advent of Hulu, Roku, Netflix and other options that allow viewers to choose what they want to watch, when they want to watch it. There's a reason why Amazon is the biggest company in the world right now: people shop online. Even if they make their actual purchases in-store, odds are they've researched a brand online first. As such, you need to be prepared so that customers can find your business on the internet. A website designed with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind with content-rich pages will yield better results than a website that isn't built with search ability in mind.

That isn't to say companies should abandon good, old-fashioned customer service. In fact, it's more important than ever to be customer-focused as most consumers consider online reviews when making purchases. Leveraging social media and automated review software is a key element to showing you're credible, customer-focused and available as quickly as possible.

3. Social Media

This is where you really get people talking about your organization. Building followings on social media and using it to engage with consumers is a key element to success in online marketing. But you need to be prepared so that you can respond quickly to your followers, particularly when someone says something negative about your business. It's best to have a comprehensive crisis communication plan in place for this purpose.

Tags: Public Relations, Digital Marketing