Why Is Digital Footprint Important for Businesses?

Straight Answers to a Common Question


Q&A: Why is Digital Footprint so important for business?

We talk a lot about the digital footprint of our clients’ businesses.  And we’re kind of surprised by how much push-back we get — because it’s a very common question we’re asked:  Why is digital footprint so important?

Classical Marketing Theory Still Holds True

Consumers and B2B customers are still motivated in many of the same ways, psychologically.  But HOW the customer journey unfolds has been forever changed by the digital migration.

The Internet Has Become the Modern-Day Yellow Pages

For about a century, up until the mid-1990’s, whenever someone wanted to find a business they didn’t already have top-of-mind they simply consulted the yellow pages.

Today, when buyers are seeking solutions they commonly reach out to the Internet.  In fact, people are shopping across Google more than a billion times a day worldwide.

And It’s Empowered Consumers with Information

The process of buying and selling has been made much more transparent by the Internet.  Specifically, Amazon has made it easy to review many choices and make a purchasing decision quickly.  This has raised buyers’ expectations about:

    • Information Available to Compare Choices
    • Transparency with Pricing
    • Fast Delivery & Other Conveniences
    • Transparent Reviews of the Experience

In That Context, Your Own Digital Footprint Matters More Every Day

We’ve written extensively about the elements of your digital footprint:

    • Major Directories
    • Local Search & SEO
    • E-Mail & Social Media
    • Reviews & Reputation

Today’s commentary is more about the WHY than the WHAT.  The simple fact is that whether you’re selling B2C or B2B, your prospective customers have higher expectations of what you make available to them on-line and the transparency you provide.

It’s important to realize that your digital footprint is there to be found.  And that’s a good thing.  As long as you’ve carefully crafted what you leave behind.

If You Don’t Manage Your Digital Footprint, the Internet Will Crowdsource it for You

And you don’t want that.  Why is digital footprint so important?  Because every potential customer can see it.  And many will look at it.

A good general rule of thumb is that the more expensive and/or personal a purchase is, the more likely customers will scrutinize your digital footprint for clues that either build confidence in you or ruin it.

In other words, if you sell cheap widgets with a simple decision tree and not a lot of risk then consumers will spend less time in consideration.

On the other hand, if you’re providing a service where a technician comes inside someone’s home, you’ll probably be researched more carefully.  If you’re going to cut, color, and style a woman’s hair for $350, she’ll pay a lot more attention to your digital footprint before making an appointment.  Her balding husband, on the other hand, may just take the first available stylist at a much cheaper salon.

You Have to Know the Health of Your Digital Footprint & Have a Plan to Build & Maintain It

The same way just about every business in America spent anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to several tens of thousands of dollars every month in the yellow pages, modern businesses must invest a reasonable amount of money in ongoing “care and feeding” of digital footprint.

Being “findable,” and making sure potential customers feel confident doing business with you based on what they find is a solid investment in growing your business organically.

Yet, many times we find clients don’t really have a good handle on digital footprint.

Not sure where you stand?  We offer a free audit of your digital footprint.  It’s a no-obligation, zero-risk way to get some good information.  We will show you where you stand and offer some practical ideas for improvement.

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Steven Ludwig
After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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