(Last Updated On: July 30, 2021)

Hey… Welcome to Xerago blog! So glad you are here!

We’re sure you have an established digital presence. But is it enough to help you meet your marketing goals?

This is a comprehensive post that talks about digital presence in its entirety and not just about one or two channels. And it will help you find out if your current digital presence is enough and if you are managing it well or not.

Here we discuss the first 5 of the 16 factors that indicate the need for transforming the way you manage your digital presence.

The entire article series is based on our experience in managing the digital presence of 150+ global brands over the past 15 years.

Let’s get started.

# 1. Lack of activities on your marketing portal

You know your marketing portal is of paramount importance.

You keep revamping it once in every two or three years to make it appear fresh and contemporary.

You may also be making changes to it every time there is a change in proposition, offers or any other mandatory information.

But is that enough?

Definitely, not! When you do only this, you just ensure that the correct information is communicated to the audience.

But you lose out on the opportunity to capitalise on the attention of your audience or to provide an experience that can persuade your audience to convert.

The more you let your creativity ooze out on your portal - ideally coupled with analytical insights - the greater the opportunity to gain audience-attention and the ability to persuade.

Here’s an example of analytics-led creative change in a portal.

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So, if you aren’t updating your marketing portal regularly, this is a clear indicator that you need to transform the way you manage your primary digital presence, i.e. your marketing portal.

But you might ask, how many changes does one do in a day?

To be honest, this depends on your industry, the veracity of your value proposition and your audience’s purchase process.

However, to give you an idea, here is the outcome of one of our studies to find the correlation between the number of changes made in the marketing portal every day and the volume of leads generated for a financial services provider in Singapore.

Changes vs Leads

From this, you can see that it is good to make about 11 to 23 changes every day to get the most from your marketing portal.

Is there any other reason why you should make changes to your website often?

Yes! It is because Google ranks only those websites with fresh content higher on search results.

Here is what a study on the correlation between content freshness, crawl frequency and rank position shows.

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This shows that content freshness has a direct correlation with search engine rankings. Sound important enough?

This is a clear indicator that the more changes you make on your marketing portal, the better it is for your brand.

To give you a perspective on the volume of changes we do on our clients’ marketing portals, as part of our Digital Presence Management services, here’s an MIS of the portal of one of our financial services clients across 10 markets, over a period of 5 months.

MIS

Now that we have seen why it is important to update your marketing portal and how many changes you need to do every day, you must be wondering what kind of changes you could make.

Here are four actionable recommendations that can go a long way in improving your online presence and help you devise a lucrative digital presence strategy.

  1. Identify high visibility locations on your home page and inner pages that could be frequently updated.
  2. Assign a product or objective to each location and keep altering the creative and or copy once every two days
  3. Place attention-grabbing creative units on white spaces in your website and use those to gain audience attention and perform the intended call-to-action
  4. Keep moving the lead generation CTAs and change the communication in the pages to keep your marketing portal fresh

# 2. Your focus is primarily on the marketing portal

It’s a no brainer for your audience to expect you to say all the good things in the world about your products and services in your marketing portal. After all that’s why it’s even called a marketing portal.

But, isn’t your audience smart?

They make most of their purchase decisions outside of your marketing portal. They come to your marketing portal only to find specific information that they are looking for or for fulfilment.

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So, if you have to win your audience, it is not enough if you focus only on your marketing portal.

Because, your audience may be talking about your products on Reddit forums, checking your social pages, scanning through user comments in the app store and keeping track of reviews all over the internet, before they even visit your portal.

Here’s one such example, where a Reddit user is seeking some credit card advice. It’s certain he / she cannot ask such a question in your marketing portal and he/she trusts peers more than your brand.

Reddit

Isn’t the above an opportunity for credit card marketers to understand the mind-set of audiences traversing life stages and prioritize benefits?

Unless you are present in Reddit, you would not have any visibility in such opportunities.

This is only the tip of the iceberg and there are numerous channels like Reddit where your audiences are vocal seeking advice, providing feedback and reviews etc.

So, if you think that just having a marketing portal is sufficient for your brand’s digital presence, this is a clear indicator that you need to transform this thinking and start augmenting your efforts.

In our opinion, you need to be actively present on the following channels to make sure your digital presence is comprehensive.

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Also, remember your customers may be gushing about what they love about your brand like the one below.

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If you are wondering which feature or benefit of your products and services to highlight in your marketing communication, you may be able to get valuable insights from such reviews.

Here’s a summary of audience comments on the app store neatly aggregated, analysed and insights presented for one of our long-standing financial services clients.

App store analysis
Actionable Recommendations

Here are five actionable recommendations that will help expand your digital presence.

  1. Identify the digital channels most relevant to your business
  2. Visualize the benefits each channel can offer you and prioritize efforts
  3. Determine how you want to engage with your audience on each of those channels i.e. whether you need to communicate as a brand or an individual.
  4. Come up with KPIs for each channel so you can be sure of the effectiveness of each.
  5. Start engaging with the audience on these channels.

# 3. You don’t engage with your audience on social channels

You might have an agency manage your social media channels, adding posts, stories etc. as per a calendar.

All the beautiful pictures and videos uploaded will elicit comments from your audience. But does your social partner respond to each comment on your behalf?

Here's an example of a brand not responding to audience comments on social media.

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Posting beautiful pictures and videos is all very well. But you need to engage with your audience.

On the other hand, see how brands like Nike and Starbucks behave?

They really connect with their audience, wherever they are.

Shouldn’t you also respond to every audience-comment in your social pages?

Isn’t that the whole reason why you even ventured into social media?

On the flip side, if you don’t respond to your audience comments, your potential social followers will see that you aren't interactive enough and will not follow you.

And what happens if you don't get new followers on social media?

Here’s the list of actions that your social media followers are likely to do, according to Sprout Social.

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Source: Sprout Social – Social Index

If you do not actively engage with your audience on social media, it presents a negative brand image and inhibits your audience from doing businesses with you.

So, if you currently do not engage properly with your audience, you need to transform at the earliest to gain maximum benefits from social media investments.

Remember there are several reasons why your audience responds with social media comments. Some may pour love. Some may enquire about your product. Some may share reviews. Some may express dissatisfaction. Some may abuse your products and services and so on.

You need to be prepared for all such comments.

Here’s a glimpse into the response library of our banking clients’ social media command center for handling comments related to dissatisfaction.

Social Media Canned Responses
Actionable Recommendations

Here are five actionable recommendations to maximize your social engagement.

    1. Since you will have multiple social media channels, you need to be able to see all the comments in a single place. So, the first step is to find and configure the right technology that can do that for you.
    2. Visualize a comprehensive list of scenarios for which your audience would leave a comment
    3. Develop a response library for each scenario
    4. Set up a team that tracks audience comments, maps to particular scenarios, picks the response option and post those.
    5. Set up a process to route conversations that require individual attention or that cannot be classified in to any pre-identified scenarios.

# 4. Inconsistent Communication across Channels

Crafting the line of communication is a marketer’s core responsibility.

Gone are those days when you could reach your target audience on ATL channels that offered no chance for communication dissonance.

However, with the proliferation of digital channels, the ability to reach audiences at an individual level has grown manifold.

Today, you can reach your audience through a banner in the website, an email, SMS, push notification, a browser notification, WhatsApp, a microsite, social media ad or on your PPC ad etc.

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Source: QuickFMS

However, given the nature of channels, you are mostly likely to have multiple agencies managing multiple channels.

For instance, you will have a digital agency handling your marketing portal, a digital marketing agency handling your performance marketing and an analytical marketing agency handling your 1:1 marketing campaigns.

When you have multiple agencies handling your interaction channels, it is highly likely that the same person in your audience ends up seeing different and sometimes even conflicting messages.

If you reach out to your audience with highly inconsistent messages, it creates poor customer experiences for them and has a negative impact on conversion.

This is especially true when you aspire for an Omni channel approach.

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If your communication is not consistent across channels, you will not be able to create the intended brand recall and salience.

If your current situation is similar to the above, then you need to transform the way you are currently handling your digital presence.

On the other hand, being consistent across channels is rewarding.

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Source: QuickFMS

Actionable Recommendations

Here are four actionable recommendations to achieve consistency in your communication.

  1. Regardless of whether you know your audience by their name / ID or not, the first step is to have an identity resolution platform in place to de-anonymize visitors
  2. You need to have a campaign management platform in place with all inbound and outbound channels integrated
  3. Map the next best action to each customer and build creatives for that
  4. Deploy the same creative on both inbound and outbound channels so the visitor will see the same creative on all channels

# 5. No personalized engagement with your audience

Alright, this is not the first time you are hearing this. And this will not be the last time either.

Your audience demands communication that is highly relevant and contextual aka personalized.

Whether you do it or not they believe you are tracking their behavior and expect you to provide communication that is highly personalized.

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Source: RedPoint Global/Harris Poll

If you keep sending generic communication to your audience, you are not only making them apathetic to your communication, but you also lose the opportunity to persuade them at a time when their attention spans are high and you can nudge them towards conversion.

When you provide personalized content, it results in good conversions. But the benefits are more than that and each of these actions will have a positive domino effect on the brand.

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So, if you are not giving personalized experiences to your audience, regardless of the reason, you need to start now.

Here is a glimpse into how we offer personalized content to a first time and a returning visitor of a Malaysian banking client of ours.

Personalization
Actionable Recommendations

Here are four actionable recommendations for you to offer personalized experiences to your audience.

    1. The primary reason for marketers currently not offering personalized experiences to their audiences is because of lack of access to technologies that enable that. So, the first step is to deploy a personalization platform and surrounding components
    2. The secondary reason for not delivering personalized experiences is the lack of personalization use cases. So, the next step is to identify the scenarios that will trigger personalized content
    3. The next step is to build and deploy creative variants to enable personalization.
    4. It isn’t wise to expect personalization to provide you with success right in your first attempt. Since, we start with heuristics, there is no guarantee of outcomes. So, you need to continuously test the efficacy of each personalized content and keep on optimizing those on an ongoing basis.

Summary

Well, we have come to the end of part one – There are two more parts. You can find the part 2 here and part 3 here.

In this article we have looked at why brands should look beyond their portals, the importance of businesses having a strong digital presence, omni channel communication and personalization.

Here's a summary of actionable items for your digital presence management transformation based on factors discussed in the article.

  1. Keep making changes to your portal, keeping it fresh for search engines to crawl and rank them high
  2. Expand your digital presence marketing to both your inbound and outbound channels and ensure consistency in communication
  3. Set up a social media command center and always respond to audience comments
  4. Ensure your communication across channels is consistent in terms of branding, messaging, choice of words, mention of products etc. and you follow the ethics of digital presence by disclosing complete, accurate and truthful information about your products or services.
  5. Deploy a personalization platform, visualize and test personalization scenarios and give highly-personalized experiences to every single customer.