How to Think More Holistically About Your Digital Presence
It’s important to consider this when your business builds a website. You have just created a digital asset for yourself.
And some businesses may need more than a website for their digital assets. Your business may need more too or it may not.
For some, that website is just one piece of an overall digital presence they are trying to cultivate.
But how much of a digital presence does a business need? The first step to figuring this out is to see how the website is performing and what are people asking for. So let’s dive in to figure this out.
One website alone can serve several different functions for businesses.
For some, the website functions as a marketing tool. It’s an interactive digital pamphlet that can be found by anyone. But it doesn’t do much more than that. Perhaps it offers a contact form.
And some businesses may not really need to have a website that does anything more than that. They could certainly be missing out on opportunities to make money online, but their business model may not even necessitate that.
For others, a website needs to go beyond. It needs to offer the necessary functions for commerce. It needs for customers to perform some different actions besides browsing.
Websites can do a lot but for businesses, they are limited in the functionality that they can do.
What if a business needs more for their online presence than a website?
We can determine by sitting down with our clients and hashing out their needs. When we work during the discovery process, we dive into creating customer profiles.
Knowing who needs your digital presence, why they need it, and what they need to do with it determines the core features and functionalities required.
And during this discovery, we determine whether or not a client needs a web application in addition to a website. For example, a website that requires membership to use certain functionalities would need its own web application.
Remember, it’s always all about what your customers need. But it’s also about helping customers figure out what they need. So think about how you can build your digital presence to make life easier. What are some steps that your customers take right now to do business with you that can be more convenient?
A digital presence is what you are willing to offer your customers digitally in addition to what you physically offer. Some businesses come to the correct decision that they don’t need much of a digital presence besides a website.
The trap that I see businesses fall into is they feel they need to check all of the boxes to fulfill their digital presence
That fact is that every business doesn’t need to take a one-size-fits-all approach for their digital presence. Some businesses really don’t need to build a web or mobile application for their customers, for example. A website is good enough.
Some have a true need to check off all the boxes, but only when it comes from customer demand or anticipating customer needs.
Seeing what customers really want and need, while determining if these require an application, is the way to go.
While some businesses may not need to go all the way and build a web application for their digital presence, they may need to still think of their digital presence internally.
These businesses may decide they still need to consider digitizing their operations and having an internal digital presence
We’ve seen businesses that have saved a lot of money through digitizing certain operations. Some businesses have seen success in using web applications for parts of these operations., Some find that there are applications already out there they can use and don’t have to re-invent the wheel internally.
For businesses that want to consider going digital for their operations, they should determine what is really needed, if they need to build it themselves, and if it will result in a net positive or negative for their operations.
If there are any parts to a businesses’ operations that are slow and inefficient, then there’s an opportunity.
Businesses should identify the parts of their businesses that are losing time on operations. Time is money, the cliche is very true. And inefficient, messy operations can get a lot of businesses into trouble unless they invest in their internal digital presence.
Whether a business needs an external or internal digital presence, or both, should be based on a careful cost-benefit analysis
Focusing on the why is important.
For example, let’s take a photographer that is looking to expand their business.
At first, they may just want a showpiece website to show off their work. But after a while, they want to start selling their work.
So they need to turn that showpiece website into something that can do e-commerce. But what if the photographer sees more opportunities for revenue?
So that photographer then decides that they want to partner up with other photographers to sell their work. And what if they create a membership structure for customers to buy their photos? Ah, we are starting to get into web application territory now!
So you can see how when the needs get greater on both sides, the digital presence grows. But this only works if there is truly a need on both sides.
What should your business’ digital presence be? What does it need to be?
There are more than enough web applications out there. There are more than enough businesses that are on social media.
What businesses need to do is figure out where they stand in the digital landscape, know what their presence should be, think about what it could be, and evolve gracefully over time.
We would suggest to any business that they should map out what they want their digital presence to be. We can offer assistance in whether that presence is overblown, undercooked, or just right.