— July 10, 2019 Back in the dark ages, if your business wasn’t listed in something called a phone book, no one could find you. Imagine having a question for your mechanic, but you can’t Google them and simply tap the “call” button in their Google Business listing! Instead, you’d have to go to this thick book full of all the businesses in your area, and either look up their name or find “mechanic” in the yellow pages and then find them. Then you’d have to pick up the phone and push buttons (or dial a rotary!!) and hope they answer! How did we survive?! Thankfully those days are gone. Just say “Hey Siri” or “Okay Google” or “Alexa?” and then ask to call your favorite mechanic, and you’re in. Or look up their website, find their FAQ and answer your own question. Or maybe even find their videos showing you exactly how to change your oil or check your coolant… and BOOM you’re all set! But what happens if they don’t have a website? Or social media? Or any kind of digital presence at all? Yes, the mechanic example is a consumer business. But this holds true for B2B brands, too. After all, it’s still a human on the other side of the relationship, connecting with your brand and the humans in it. So that person deciding whether to do business with you is still searching online for information about you and about the problem they’re trying to solve. So… does your business have a digital presence? Here are the 8 reasons you need to! Humans use:
- Voice search
- Web search
- Mobile search
- Social media for recommendations
- Social media for research
- Video platforms like YouTube for search
- Phone apps
- Other digital content
That’s all digital. Are you taking advantage of each of these avenues for customers to find you? Your website should fuel it all. We’ll break down some insights and tips for each of these channels where you need to have a digital presence.
1) Voice Search
From “Hey Siri” to “Alexa?” to “Okay Google,” we’ve become reliant upon simply saying something and expecting a response from technology. People are already conditioned to search by asking, which means search results based on intent rather than exact matches are vital. When you put digital channels like your website, a blog, online resources, and social media to work, people will find you in results. This might mean creating short audio content for Alexa Briefs, it could mean finding your way into Google snippets so you’re first in results with simple answers… but it all means you need to be working on modern SEO tactics.
2) Web Search
Traditional web search still happens. We spend hours upon hours in offices and cubicles at work everyday on laptops and desktops. Sometimes that time involves searching the internet. So you’ll want to make sure your more traditional SEO efforts are dialed in to get people to your business. This includes B2B solutions as well. Focus on helping potential customers to solve their issues directly and indirectly related to your offerings, and you’ll find rewards.
3) Mobile Search
Another place we search is through mobile search (like Google). Search engine result pages (SERP) will show different results if you’re using a mobile device. Is your Google business listing optimized? It should include your address if you have an office, a phone number people can tap “call” and get in touch with you. Your Google business listing is also how you get your business on Google’s right sidebar. Plus having your website and blog enabled for Google’s AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, will help you appear in mobile results. AMP is a Google-backed project designed as an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices.
4) Social Media – Recommendations
Is your Facebook business page easily found? When Facebook users ask their friends for recommendations, business pages get linked to in the responses. It’s an easy way to ensure people can become ambassadors for your brand.
5) Social Media – Research
Another reason to have business social media and to invite employees to connect to it is that potential customers look through social media for information on brands. Do they stand for something? Do they answer questions of customers? How’s the service? While Google may own the general search traffic, social media is another place we go to for research. Make sure you’re active in the channels you use, and show you’re interested in actually connecting with people.
6) Video for Search (YouTube)
You’re not going to be the PewDiePie with 97 million subscribers, but you can still put the power of YouTube to use. If you’re answering questions like “what is” or “how do” then you can create videos. YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google (source: Search Engine Land). Which owns YouTube. People search the video platform natively, but also see those results in Google SERP as well. If you can answer all your customers’ questions in videos, you’ll find traffic that converts!
7) Phone Apps
I once worked for a company where the sales team were essentially independent brands (it was in the home finance industry). Each sales person wanted a phone app, “So my clients have my face on their phone!” At the time, I argued that a better use for a phone app was for clients to be able to pay their mortgage, see the balance, calculate how extra payments would save them money, and other tasks related to their mortgage. We could add other features later like “Contact my consultant.” But the key was to create something of value that would serve clients, then add other bells and whistles. Value first. Of course, a couple years later and it seems like every bank, credit union, or major lender has what I just described. The lesson: If you want to create an app, make sure it has a purpose and brings value. Otherwise people might download it but never open it, or ignore you completely. But if you can create something of value in a phone app, create away! We spend so much time on our phones today that you might just find a captive audience!
8) Other Digital Content
Where else do your customers spend their time? With other digital content providers. Podcasts, streaming music, streaming video, games… how can you take advantage of these platforms? Of course advertising is one tactic. Can you sponsor a podcast that reaches your ideal clients? What about ads in Pandora or Spotify? You can also create your own podcast if it fits your needs, or appear as a guest on interview shows if your story is engaging enough. There’s no shortage of options when creating your digital footprint. Mobile phone photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community