One of the most important aspects of online marketing and advertising campaigns is raising brand awareness, an important step toward ensuring brand loyalty. Undertaking to raise consumer awareness of your company’s services and products is actually a process that can benefit businesses of every size; as new businesses look to gain recognition and attention, established businesses strive to increase customer conversion rates and enhance their competitive position.

Marketing can be, at a certain point, a numbers game. Recent studies indicate that seven out of every 10 businesses that are successfully meeting their profit goals have websites that more than 10,000 potential customers visit every month. Older, printed materials may still have a place in marketing and advertising campaigns, but while direct mailings enjoy a “close rate” of less than 2%, online SEO leads that come from keyword and advertising management have a close rate that approaches 15%.

Being able to convert interested shoppers into customers is a goal that can also be facilitated by savvy social media campaigns and that may take time. While almost half of all online shoppers report that the visual design of a website is essential, the same percentage will shop primarily on websites that take less than three seconds to load. How much time do businesses have to establish themselves and to build brand recognition when the attention span of the average shopper is so short?

In the next several years, most consumer interactions — sales, bill pay, ad campaigns — will take place without any salespeople involved. While customers still stop into retail stores to discuss their purchases with sales teams, an increasing percentage of retail sales is completed entirely via the computer. Research a product online, find the best price, order and prepare for delivery. Brands that fail to keep a close eye on customer needs and preferences could find themselves adrift among heavy competition.

Web design seems to be a key part of the new focus on customer experience, now that direct mailing is fading as a marketing tool. Grabbing customers’ attention and designing websites with an eye toward accessibility and shopping convenience is important, but providing original content and timely response to customer concerns is still a basic part of any marketing strategy. Finding the perfect combination of style and content may seem difficult, but experienced marketing teams and SEO consultants may be able to help steer businesses through an entirely new retail environment.