Your brand’s online presence has a direct correlation to the overall effectiveness of your business. When your online presence, or “digital footprint” has been created properly and is being managed correctly on a daily basis it has a significant impact on your effectiveness. But what is often not understood is that both your on and offline business presence work together for your good or peril, depending on how intentionally you manage them. This holds true whether your company is a B2B (business to business), or a B2C (business to consumer) focused brand.
Whether you are selling products and services to other businesses, or directly to consumers, your online presence, impacts how, if and when your prospective customer deals with your brand.
So, what are examples of your online and offline presence and how do they work together to make your business more effective?
Understanding the Elements of On and Offline Business Presence
Your offline business presence consists of all of the traditional business components used to interact with your prospects and customers that are NOT connected to the cyber world. We are listing just a few of these items to ensure that we are on the same page and have a common understanding.
Examples of your Offline Business Presence
- Your Physical Business Store or Office
- Telephone system
- Your Employees, such as a Cashier or Sales Reps
- Physical products that you sell that customers see, touch, and purchase at your place of business
On the other side of the coin is your online presence or something we call your “digital footprint”. This consists of all of the internet components of your business presence. We are listing a few of these core components below.
Examples of your Online Business Presence
- Your Website
- Social Media profiles and posts
- Review Sites where your customers leave reviews of your business
- Content that you share or publish, including but not limited to: Blog posts, videos, and photos.
Though these two types of business presences are totally different and unique from one another, they are completely connected in today’s business world. If one creates amazing experiences for customers, but the other doesn’t, your business will suffer the negative effects of that. If these two types do not work together, intentionally, your brand will be far less effective than you could be.
Here’s an example of how they can and should work together in your business.
An Example of On and Offline Business Presence Working Together
The Beginning – Offline
Recently my wife and I went on a little vacation to Melbourne Florida to get some long overdue rest. During our stay we visited all of the surrounding areas north of Melbourne, like Cape Canaveral and the like, passing this little local strip mall every time we ventured out. As we passed it each time, we noticed this little local breakfast place. It was always busy with a lot of activity around their business.
The Investigation – Online
We looked up the Sunnyside Cafe online, went to their website, and checked their reviews. The reviews were amazing and it was clearly a place that most locals frequented, so we thought we might try it.
The Experience – Offline
Toward the end of our stay, we decided to go ahead and stop in for breakfast on a Saturday morning. The entire parking lot of this little strip mall was packed, with everyone heading directly to this restaurant, which made me want to find another place to eat, but my wife really wanted to go here, so I gave in. We squeezed through the crowd outside amongst the tables lining the tables on the sidewalk outside the restaurant to the front door and walked in. The place was packed and nobody was in the tiny little waiting area and hostess section, so we waited and just watched.
What followed was an incredible food experience and the best customer experience we have ever had at a small local restaurant. The staff worked together flawlessly. The management team was on top of everything going on. Every interaction with their team was impressive and they all talked about how they loved working there. We even spoke with the owner and thanked them for the experience and how impressed we were with their operation.
The Continuation – Online
Later that day I went to their Google page and did a 5-star review with comments. I also shared the experience on social media and told the story to others and our team.
Modern Buyer Journey Examples
We have put together a few graphics that depict examples of the modern customer/buyer journey. Notice how the typical customer/prospect of today bounces back and forth between on and offline over the course of their buyer journey.
Our Retail Restaurant Buyer Experience Example
B2B Buyer Journey Cycle
These examples will vary depending on the industry, product, and service that is being offered as well as the target customer that the brand is selling to. But it is important to understand and transform your business online and offline business presence to work within how modern buyers navigate their purchase decisions. Failure to transform your brands online presence will impact your effectiveness from today forward.