Defining and perfecting your digital footprint?


I do a lot of research online, daily. Perhaps more than the average human, given the industries I have a passion for…

And I am constantly amused with what’s out there and how some companies in this day and age present themselves online. How is it that so many people don’t give enough thought, or seems like no thought has been given to how they present online. I know something they don’t, what their competition looks like.

Let’s make a simple analogy. When was the last time you Googled yourself? Do you know that all you say and post out there is in the public domain? If you don’t want your face with something embarrassing plastered on a billboard, why do we act like ignorant beings online? All the more reason for a company and brand to put thought into their digital presence.

We are faced with hyper-competition in almost every industry; fair enough, you compete with different values in target markets with competitors. But, if you are not alert, Joe soap, offering a cheap and probably very nasty service could steal your ideal prospects without you even realising it. What are your digital competitors doing – do you know, who is competing with you for the ideal spot on a targeted keyword or visual ad space? In my previous article, I mentioned that many of the clients I meet do not recognise some of their competitors as “real competitors”. Hello Mr. Analogue, smell the digital coffee! They are the figurative space invaders stealing your digital footprint and booting you off the rankings! So yes, they might have an inferior product or service, or they might be the new kids in the industry, but they still look better and more accomplished than you. A dude with a laptop in his mom’s kitchen can do more damage to your client base than your rivals whom you have been competing for ages. In the eyes of the buyer (who you have never met, don’t know what they like and what their digital habits are) the difference between you and the laptop Dude is that he is more tech and digital savvy, therefore looks more accomplished and knows him as client better.

What is the answer, where does one start? This might all seem very overwhelming…

There are a couple of steps that may help in seeking that Perfect Digital Footprint:

Who are your clients? And take note I say clients in the plural.

There exist a vast range of stakeholders (many of them clients) in any typical business: they might vary with the different products and services you offer. You then also have your ideal mammoth client, who is quite different from the “very nice strategic” client, who differs substantially to your “bread and butter client”.

Let’s face it you need all of them to be a sustainable business. A good start is to identify each of them. Know your clients in all the categories above.  ho are they, what they need, their common problems or concerns and what they need to flourish? If you don’t know all the aspects of all clients, take the time. Perhaps a good old fashioned whiteboard, snack-up your team, and Game-Storm. Get to know them – Get to know what makes their world better.

Once you have identified your clients in all sectors, its time for a deep dive into “Competitor Ocean”. Traditional competitors and Digital competitors. You might even find across your products and or services and sectors of clients as mentioned above, the competitors vary. You might have one set of competition in your “bread and butter” client range and another set of very different competitors in your “ideal client” range. Variety might be the spice of life, but to avoid competitor heart-burn, we need to analyze and categorise.

The fact is you need to know your competitors as well as you know your clients. Competitors, employees, shareholders, clients all make up levels of your stakeholder landscape with a significant impact on your business strategy. What are they doing well, where are they failing and why? What works for them and what doesn’t? Most importantly what are they doing better than you? (Apart from being half a meter away from their mom’s freezer and working in their pajamas?) Confidence is the product of understanding the stakeholder landscape. If you know the playing field you can turn the attention inward to critically look at your own presence.

How do you present yourself digitally? Is your digital presence good enough from your prospective client’s point of view? First impressions still last, what are the impressions you are making before any verbal communication has taken place? What are the key elements you want your brand to present? Game Storm and identify key brand communication, values, messaging, platforms, and content. Does your prospective client, for instance, want to see price or not?

Creating the perfect, ideal online presence starts with knowing what your clients want to see, how you want your brand to impact and then create the perfect balance between the two. Define how you want a potential client to connect with you, then, ensure you are enticing, appealing and irresistible. Clients need direction, tell them what you want them to do once they found you. Don’t leave them hanging, they will leave within seconds. Give them clear direction and instruction, make the process seamless and user-friendly.

For example – Do you share reviews of yourself? If not, how will you obtain them? Social media, website? Google? On which platforms are your clients? Be there and make a lasting impact.

My number one advice is to seek the help of a well-rounded team. South African companies often make the mistake of starting and ending with a web developer. Make no mistake you need a good one. The problem is their forté is designing, you can’t spend a fortune on design and expect this expert to be a copywriter/storyteller/ SEO specialist… After spending a chunk of budget you are then disappointed when people point our spelling errors on your website. Or worse…your website doesn’t attract any attention and feel sterile and brand foreign. You need a combination of visual, written and digital experts to create a brand true presence and attract and retain the visitors you seek.

Google understands the quality of content – a good copywriter does far more than just filling the page with factual information – combine this with a human that understands SEO and your natural ranking on Google will be most impressive and profitable. Let me know if you found value in this article, I would love to connect and hear if this helps you in the process of identifying your ideal online presence, then taking it from dream to reality Look out for the other articles in the series of The Evolution of Sales in this Digital World.