Our recent whitepaper, "The Guide to Digital Presence Management," explores the fragmentation of the local search market, the complex problems this creates for both business and consumers, and best practices for overcoming these challenges and ensuring an effective digital presence.
When considering best practices, there are four key areas that businesses need to address:
Store Pages/Store Locator Management
Local/Social Media Management
Currently the market for local Digital Presence Management (DPM) remains fragmented, with much of the spending going to outdated solutions such as custom in-house software and inefficient manual processes. But the most effective DPM solution is one that integrates all of the needs a local marketer may have and has the flexibility to be tailored to a particular business' objectives and priorities.
Whatever strategy your business chooses, the core best practices for ensuring an effective digital presence revolve consistently around three key points of focus:
Monitoring and Measurement
The first key area, control, is the most important factor in laying a strong foundation for your business' digital presence, and one of the most daunting as there are a seemingly infinite number of digital sources where business information exists. The proliferation of different sites and apps introduces feedback loops as search engines and listings sites scrape old data, amplifying and duplicating incorrect information. The only way for a business to fight back is to be proactive and take control of their information everywhere it exists online to eliminate the chance that a searching customer finds incorrect or outdated information.
The second best practice is aimed at improving the consistency of content across the range of digital channels that consumers use to search for information. The negative effect incurred by inconsistent information is two-fold: consumers receiving different information across sources creates uncertainty that can result in poor customer experience or loss of business, while the performance with search-ranking algorithms also suffers as they give precedence to the most authoritative information, which is impacted by the number of places the same information appears online. And not only should content be consistent, but it should also be rich; more than ever mobile-empowered customers expect the digital information they receive to be highly localized and relevant, and businesses that fail to provide rich content are missing out on a huge opportunity to strengthen their brand voice and engage with customers at the local level.
Monitoring and Measurement
And finally, the third best practice that is crucial to building a strong digital presence involves ongoing monitoring and measurement. In this highly competitive local search ecosystem, businesses need to be constantly measuring their marketing efforts quantitatively to determine their true effectiveness and ensure they stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, through vigilant monitoring of online reviews, businesses gain access to a direct line of feedback that can be used as immediate and actionable customer intelligence that can aid the improvement of reputation and operations management.
With an ever-increasing number of sites, maps, and apps storing your businesses' information, achieving a comprehensive and effective strategy for managing your digital presence can seem like a daunting and highly complicated task. But no matter how many locations your business has, the core of the strategy should always start with the same 3 key focal points: control, content, and monitoring and measurement.
For more detail on best practices for strengthening your digital presence, download our full whitepaper here.