It can be difficult for a pure brick and mortar businesses (if any still exist) to transition to a digital environment. But it doesn’t have to be. Think of the process as digitizing your business to reach people in a different environment more effectively. Take all of the things that draw customers to your physical location, and offer them online.
Establish Your Authority
When customers visit a physical location, it is easier for them to determine if the people working there experienced and friendly. When visitors reach a website it is far more difficult to determine the type of business and people the site represents. Give your visitors a better idea of why they should trust you with their business.
Adding a testimonial section to your blog is a great way to establish your authority. Ask current clients to discuss their experiences in detail so those who are interested in your services or products are able to get a feeling for how you do business. It is the feeling of walking into a building or talking to other customers that matters in this context more than information. You need to create a digital experience of community. Encourage social media followers to help with this project and ask if they are willing to share a photo of themselves to make it even more personal.
Marie Forleo’s B-School cleverly uses customers’ opinions to assuage potential customers’ concerns:
If you have an “About” section, be sure to include images of any awards, certifications, or relevant degrees. Link to the institutions that awarded or featured you, so as to make it easy for visitors to fact check and learn more about how these items verify your authority.
Maintain Visual Consistency
Visual consistency is as important in a digital environment as it is in a physical location. There is a reason companies have employees wear uniforms or dress in a single color, it creates visual consistency that makes it easy for customers to identify the people who are there to help them. Print ads and signs are visually consistent for a similar reason: It is important that when consumers see information about your business, they instantly make the connection. And visual “cues” make that easier.
Translated to the online world, this means you can build as much emotion as you want into your websites, emails, social media, infographics or blog posts, but it will amount to little unless your design and flow work the way users expect them to. A clean, visually consistent web or app interface gives users feelings of comfort, control and familiarity.
Creating visual consistency online seems complicated because of the graphical nature of the environment. There are many free resources, such as Canva, that help people of all experience levels create the digital resources they need to brand and market themselves in a visually consistent way. It is important that businesses take the time to plan out the colors, typography, and type of images they want associated with their brand online.
Graphics are necessary for emails, social media, workbooks, infographics, blog posts, and so much more. The visual element of your digital business is as important as the way an office is decorated or the sign outside.
Offer Free Resources
In a digital environment it is important show people why they should trust you with their business. Testimonials and credentials are valuable for this purpose, but even better is a sample of your work.
No matter what type of business you have, there is something you can teach people. YouTube is an excellent way to promote your blog while giving potential customers something of value for free. This allows customers to get to know business owners, or employees, even if they can never visit a physical location. It makes the experience of interacting with a company feel more authentic. A marketing professional can make tutorials that walk people through how to use various marketing tools. A photographer can show visitors how to frame a shot, edit in various applications, or review photography apps. A veterinarian can make videos explaining first aide techniques for a variety of animals, grooming tips, or product reviews. You get the idea… Showcase your skills and services and prove to potential customers why they should support your business.
Your videos can be posted in individual blog posts in addition to being found on the business YouTube page. The YouTube page is also a great way to incorporate the visual branding elements the business has developed, and can link to the business blog for viewers who find the company directly from the YouTube videos.
If you don’t feel comfortable in front of a video camera, tutorials are an excellent option. The key to making a tutorial truly valuable is to make it the absolute best of its kind. Don’t leave out any steps and utilize multiple pictures for each one to ensure clarity.
Create Personal Connections
Social media is one of the most commonly discussed methods of creating personal connections with potential customers. However, there is another way that is even more personal. Begin speaking at and attending conferences where your target demographic is likely to be.
Blogging conferences are a great place to get to know individual bloggers. The niche markets which are represented are extensive and most businesses find they fall within one or several. By speaking at these conferences, you can connect with bloggers passionate about your field. It is beneficial to your business and a blogger who hosts an interview with you, a review of your service or product, or a giveaway.
Attending and speaking at industry specific conferences allows business owners to network within their field and make valuable connections. Speaking at those events lends credibility to your authority and can be featured on the company blog.
Over To You
It is possible to promote your blog simply by doing the things necessary to ensure your digital presence is as robust as your physical presence. For those businesses that operate entirely in a digital environment, this is even more important. It is vital to make the business as multi-dimensional as possible to become and remain competitive. Promote your business blog by establishing authority in your field, remaining visually consistent and recognizable, offering free resources of value, and creating personal connections with live events.