External perceptions of businesses are built largely on the foundation that your company chooses to cultivate. Your reputation, whether online or word-of-mouth, undoubtedly underpins your success (or failure). When it comes to reputation building, the tactics no longer resemble a childhood game of “telephone.” The digital marketplace is likely more influential than you think, and I’m not just referring to social media.

Like all business endeavors, planning is paramount to digital success. There doesn’t necessarily need to be a blueprint for your future, but an achievable and fluent scope of projects is essential. Your goals inherently drive your growth, make them realistic and focused to ensure you take advantage of each opportunity to sustainably develop your digital footprint.

The way you position your company starts with an impactful message, and the aesthetics of your first points of contact – beginning with the face of your brand, your website. When developing your wireframe, layout and content, research your peers and competitors to ensure your message and image are consistent with industry norms and yet different enough to resonate with your target market.

Your domain name itself can also be a critical planning tool. Make it memorable and relevant. As the Dot-com bubble “popped” in 2000, the .io’s and .fm’s of the world heightened. Redirected URLs and the inexpensive game of “domain futures trading” has made this concept simple for those who want to be seen as disruptive – especially in financial technology. But no matter whom your business serves, your digital presence is vital to making the right first impression on prospects and developing a leg up on your peers.

Social media, on the other hand, is key when you’re solely digital or engaging in integrated marketing campaigns. Without a strong social presence, your brand may not be recognized in traditional marketing. Printed materials and physical advertisements are becoming rare, have a limited shelf-life, and can quickly drain your budget. Website adverts, SEO improvements, HTML newsletters, LinkedIn groups, frequent Twitter activity, blogging and newswires are filling this tactical gap when building brand recognition.

In 2014, venture capital funding for technology firms reached $105 billion. At this pace, we will see another Tech Boom by the end of 2015. As FinTech firms initiate more IPOs now than ever before, it might be time to focus on your reputation and increase your #DigitalMarketing efforts.

Even if going public isn’t the end goal, your reputation will reap the benefits of the nearly immeasurable reach of a strong digital strategy. Any measure that increases respect for your brand deserves your respect in return.

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