In some jobs today, we live and die by our smartphones. A day where we are not staring at our computer is not a productive day. Our time always seems to be planned out to the minute and we are always looking for the next way to improve our lives using technology. For us, it’s easy to forget that not every business operates like this and not every job is control by a keyboard and clicks. Companies that aren’t digital are struggling with what many call “Digital Transformation.” Where a lot of organizations realize this in regards to their internal processes, doing things faster and saving more money, many organizations forget about or don’t manage their digital transformation in regards to the image to the consumer.
It’s important to remember when you work in an industry that doesn’t seem to be very digital (such as higher education) that your consumers, especially if part of a younger demographic, are generally going to go to a digital source to find out more about you. They are going to search for you on Google, they are going to review you and ask about you on social media platforms, and they are going to use the maps loaded into their phones to try to find you. You wouldn’t ignore your personal health, so why would you take the hygiene of your digital image for granted. Here are five examples of things you might be missing if you don’t have a healthy digital image.
Search is an ingrained part of daily life and the way we find out about business and organizations we are not familiar with. For example, I just went to the dentist to talk about braces and Invisalign (which had both been offered to me by previous dentists), but when I came into work later that day, a coworker told me about SmilesDirect, which I had heard about but didn’t know anything about. A quick Google search, and I found out about them quickly through an ad, read some reviews by people who have used the service before and found a location near me. Even dentists need to be at using digital services to talk about why their choices might be a better option. They need to show up when searching for modern alternatives to certain dental services. This applies to how you compete for students who may find your competitors first instead of you.
I’m lucky to live in an area with tons of international food and top chefs; however, finding these places online is still often a struggle. A few months ago I walked by this tiny restaurant, a little out of the way on a street I don’t usually go down. The place was empty, but beautiful and cozy, and some of the best food I’d ever eaten. A week later I was thinking about the great food and couldn’t remember exactly where I was at, so I Googled everything I could think of to try to find it again. Even looking at a map of food in that area, I wasn’t able to see it because it wasn’t listed correctly. Only a month or two later, the restaurant closed. I’m sure part of the problem was how hard it was to find the right information about this place online.
Recently, I was trying to find a gym in my area. I Googled for an extended period and kept finding gyms with websites that didn’t look trustworthy, photos taken from weird angles that looked like they were trying to hide something or were located and an unsafe part of town. I finally reached out and got a personal recommendation, and it actually was one of the websites I had previously seen. In-person the gym looked much better than the photos. Had I not known someone who had delivered a personal recommendation, I never would have visited the gym based on the poor website experience.
When your site or mobile app is hard to navigate, you are going to have a more significant percentage of people leaving your website to find an easier path to what they are looking for, even if you have the superior offering. I was looking for a new phone for my grandmother. I Googled a specific cheaper phone to find out specifications, which carriers it worked with, and if I could find it less expensive than it was listed. Upon my first few searches typing in something like “Phone _____ Specifications,” I instead came across a bunch of links to the company’s support page and could not find the specifications I needed to make my decision. While searching and looking through these pages, I found a better alternative and abandoned looking at the phone altogether just because it was hard to find the right information and use their site.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell precisely what a business does online. For example, if you have ever watched a Geico commercial, you have probably said to yourself, “What does this have to do with car insurance?” Where that advertising tactic works for Geico, having a page that doesn’t explain what your company does or only uses a lot of buzz words won’t help new customers find or choose your business.
If you want more customers, to keep your current customers, and to keep growing or moving into the future, it’s time to improve your digital hygiene. Brush up your online image today by making sure you show up above or next to your competitors in search, your website is easy to navigate and has trustworthy photos and copy, your websites, apps, and landing pages are all user-friendly, and that your message is clear. The future is digital, and your good digital hygiene is essential to keeping your institution healthy.