Recent research revealed that 89% of the UK’s 64.1m population are now online. Equating to an online audience of 57.3 million in the UK alone, brands and individuals need to question how effectively they use the internet to grow their businesses.

This statistic from global digital marketing agency, We Are Social was one of many valuable insights published in January, providing marketers and brand owners greater clarity on tactics and channels with the potential to offer the greatest return for their efforts:

  • 59% of UK residents are active on social media channels (38 million).
  • There are more mobile connections in the UK than people! (74.8 million).
  • 50% of the UK population (32 million) are using social media on their mobile phones.

Marketers will be familiar with the acronym AIDA, developed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis to describe events which occur when a consumer engages with an advertisement, from initial Awareness or Attention, to Interest, Desire and finally to Action. No matter how good your product is, or how great the level of service you can provide, you won’t survive and thrive long-term if customers are not aware of your existence. Fortunately, in many ways the Internet has made this hurdle easier for businesses and individuals to overcome. It has opened up many new channels that enable even the smallest enterprises to generate widespread brand awareness, engage with, and sell to their target audiences.

Regardless of the digital marketing tactics you choose to utilise such as your website, content marketing, search engine optimisation, pay per click advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, blogging, image or video marketing – all offer many of the same benefits. They allow us to reach our audiences more quickly, easily and cost-effectively than many traditional forms of advertising and marketing. They also provide large volumes of data that can be utilised to understand and serve customers better, and quantify return on investment.

Recently I led a workshop on behalf of Women in Business NI, and hosted by Crash Services in Newry on developing your online brand. We explored the power of the brand – not only as a visual logo or identity, but also as the embodiment of the ethics and values you or your team hold, and the characteristics which differentiate you from other businesses, and make you memorable. Often it is these elements of your brand that shape your potential customers perceptions of you and their decision to do business with you.

In an era where we put such a heavy emphasis on first impressions, ask yourself – is your online presence conveying the right messages about you or your brand, and if not, what are you going to do about it?