Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Build your online presence on the right platforms to achieve your business goals and deliver robust, clear media that aligns with your brand tonality.
A commonly held belief by many ill-informed business owners is that consumers know they exist just by being online.
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
There's a good reason why a small number of brands dominate page one of Google with their website listings, Amazon page links, and customer testimonials.
Those businesses have optimized their online presence by applying strategies that consistently improve their rankings.
And it no longer matters whether you're an eCommerce company or a brick-and-mortar store.
According to Bright Local, 98% of consumers use the internet to find a business.
That's why having an online presence is essential for your brand's success.
To help you create yours, we've outlined 8 tips on building your business's online presence.
1. Make a website
Your first step to building your online presence is making a highly optimized website.
Because your site acts as a digital business base, to which all your marketing strategies can lead. If you design it correctly, your website will convert leads into buyers and turn one-off purchasers into return customers.
However, a website is more than a conversion platform.
You can use it to make a lasting first impression, promote your brand's personality and vision, boost your business's credibility, connect with your target audience, create trust, and build customer relationships.
But most importantly, your website is how you'll stand out for the crowd.
- You can make your website using a CMS (content managing systems) or website builders such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. And ensure it ranks high in the search engines and increases your business's online presence by using proven tactics.
When making a highly optimized website through a reliable website builder, like Pixpa & Zyro, you must focus on following the basic principles of web design, but double down on branding and conversion opportunities. Your site must have crucial design elements in place for it to attract, engage, and retain customers, including:
- A clear description of who you are
- User-friendly experience
- Strategically placed CTAs
- Be aesthetically pleasing
- Showcase customer testimonials
- Easy to find contact information
- And numerous ways of making contact – email, social media, phone, and live chat.
Surface credibility is extremely important in the world of online marketing. Keep in mind that your website serves as your virtual storefront. It’s usually the first point of contact between you and your potential customers. Before they decide on whether to purchase your product or avail of your service, they’ll check you out online first. Therefore, it’s important to build a website that looks professional, contains useful information, easy to navigate, and free of technical glitches.
2. Create value
In a highly competitive market, it can’t be helped that many businesses offer the same thing. Why do customers patronize a certain brand? And, how do they choose which one to support among the many options they have?
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, the answer is pretty simple: Customers tend to gravitate toward products and services that add actual value to their lives. Remember, a customer is someone who is looking for a solution to their problem or an upgrade to their current situation.
Creating value for your customers is all about improving their experience and overall satisfaction with your business.
And excellent customer value benefits your business in numerous ways:
Such as gaining your customer's trust and increasing your brand loyalty, encouraging word-of-mouth marketing, and increased likes and shares across social media platforms. All of which help build your business's online presence.
HubSpot tells us we create value by being customer-centric, focusing on our customers rather than solely selling.
There are numerous tactics you can use to create value; here's the top 5:
- Provide relevant and informative content for your customers. It not only helps serve your audience it also improves your online presence.
- Create a buyer persona to discover your customer's pain points. By knowing them, you can help relieve them.
- Understand and promote your UVP (unique value proposition). Tell your audience what value your product or service provides.
- Identify elements where your business can provide more value in comparison to your competitors.
- Use loyalty programs. According to the HubSpot loyalty report, "73% of customers said they're more willing to recommend a company with a loyalty program", and "79% are more likely to repurchase".
And another way to create excellent value is to give free advice. You can do it by appearing on a podcast, guest posting on other popular websites, and responding to questions and comments.
3. Personify your brand
Brand personification is a marketing technique where you give your brand a personality.
The goal is to increase the connection between your brand and consumers. And by giving them human qualities, they can relate to; consumers can naturally connect with your business. It's a projective technique based on human relationships, meaning the more personal you can make your brand, the better the relationship will be between you and your audience.
When you begin to personify your brand, focus on authenticity and ensure you paint an accurate picture of what your brand represents because "90% of consumers said that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support".
Meaning, if you try and make your brand appear as someone it's not, consumers will see right through you, eroding any trust and undermining your brand's integrity. Instead, look within, and ask staff members to help create stories that accurately reflect your brand's personality, values, goals, and beliefs.
Infuse your chosen personality into all of your marketing strategies, such as your website, social media platforms, and blogs. And create a logo and other brand elements with cohesion, so they suit your personality.
4. Leverage your SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) is a tactic used to build your online presence and increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website via organic search engine results. It can be divided into two categories, off-site SEO and on-site SEO.
Is anything you do that contributes to your website's organic rankings, such as using relevant keywords, including external and internal links, and creating relevant and informative content that matches your audience's search terms and queries?
Several technical elements affect your on-site SEO, like website loading speeds, UX structure, and mobile responsiveness.
Refers to any action you or a third party take off your website to raise the ranking of a page or pages with search engines.
Optimizing your off-site SEO ranking also helps increase users' perception of your website's popularity, trustworthiness, relevance, and authority. You achieve this when other authority websites, pages, or bloggers, link to or promote your site.
And if you're a locally-based business, you can use SEO to show up on Google by creating a Google My Business account.
Google My Business helps increase your brand's visibility by using high ranking keywords that place your business in the map pack. It combines all your Google platforms, such as your Google Maps profile, Google+ profile, and Google reviews.
5. Be active online
This should go without saying, but a soft reminder can’t hurt. One of the simplest and most effective ways to build your business's online presence is to be active online.
For example, post regular, up-to-date content on your website, blog, and social media accounts. Join forums connected to your niche, get involved and noticed by providing helpful information. Engage with your community and subscribers and always reply to their questions promptly.
Social media is potent for this strategy and for increasing your online presence.
You can participate with your community using the following three activities:
- Sharing relevant, useful, engaging content on your platforms.
- Sharing useful and exciting content created and shared by other authorities.
- Sharing your expertise, praise, and thanks by adding comments to other posts.
Use of Social media scheduling tools can help you stay active online without it taking up all of your time.
You can queue and schedule posts, manage your overall social media process, and improve your efficiency. Enabling you to focus on your business while maintaining a regular and consistent online presence.
Being active online not only makes you more visible to customers but to search engines as well. Search bots tend to reward online sources that consistently post new content. They recognize it as a sign of credibility and tag you as a trustworthy source of information in your niche. So, when someone makes a search query about your niche, your website and social media platforms have a greater chance of ranking high on search results.
6. Build relationships
Building solid online relationships with others within your industry can hugely increase your online presence.
For instance, strong relationships enable you to establish strategic partnerships with podcasters, influencers, and blog writers, which could lead to being featured in their content (excellent for your off-site SEO)!
You might even be asked to appear in their podcast or guest post in a blog. This opens up new opportunities to reach potential consumers outside your established online community, and possibly even outside your niche. The farther the reach, the more eyes you can get on your business.
7. Produce content
You know content is king; users devour it. And you can quickly build your business's online presence by producing relative content and showing up on social media, search engines, YouTube, and other websites.
And according to recent Demand Metric survey, "90% of businesses use online content to promote their business", and 70% of consumers say, "their preferred way of discovering a company is by reading an article."
Start by strategizing which platforms you want to appear on; it might be social media or Amazon. And prioritize the platforms your customers are most active on.
Then research the style of content that's performing by using a content strategy tool.
8. Analyze your results
You only know if your chosen strategies are working by analyzing and reviewing your results. And now, you can explore everything you do online by using a varied range of analytical tools.
They can help you assess how your website's performing. If people are bouncing and from which page. If your CTAs are converting. How well your content is ranking, and if the value you're providing is working.
Start by reviewing your results every three months. If you're happy with the improvement in your online presence, you can then check them when required. Like when you load new content, create a new marketing strategy, or join a new platform.
Tools to help you:
- Free analytical tools - For determining how effective your online content and social media campaigns are performing.
- Email marketing software– Providing measurable email-marketing campaign statistics.
- A/B testing – For testing two variants, such as CTAs or a landing page on your website.
Now you know the strategies required for building your business's online presence.
Tricks of the trade to improve your website ranking and position you in Google's Map Pack.
How to give your brand a personality and build strong, lasting customer relationships.
Now you know how to ensure that when 98% of consumers search for a business online.
They'll see you.
So, don't wait; start implementing.
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