More than ever before, people use the Internet to find a business, which means your online presence is critical to your success. Most companies today have a website, blog and social media pages. But how can you get people to engage with your online resources? How can you continue to grow your online presence?
Consider these seven tips to help you get started:
- Develop an email list. Your email list will enable you to engage with existing and potential customers regularly. And continue to fine-tune your email list so you can target customers in a way that personalizes their experience with you. Require an email address to purchase an item in your online store, or use the tools in your content management system (CMS) to create forms or pop-up call-to-action requests designed to help you gather email addresses.
- Learn all you can learn about SEO. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the best tactics you can take to build your online presence. Find out what keywords you should use on your website, blog, or social media sites to engage customers so you can move up when people search for businesses on the Internet. Be sure you sign up for local directories like Yelp, YellowPages and Google My Business and use directories that list your services, such as Angie’s List or Houzz. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing to see what SEO keywords they may be using or how they engage with customers — you can learn a lot from your competition.
- Produce content for free. Make a list of the “pain points” your customers experience. Then write content to answer questions or resolve issues they may have — and push it free to your customers through email, your blog, social media, or other online resources. You can also broaden your reach by sharing your content on sites where your customers may be active, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads and more.
- Try online advertising to get your message out. The fastest way to build your online presence is to use online advertising. Remember, if your ad shows up in the top search results, you’ll quickly build brand awareness and increase visibility. Consider advertising on Google, Yahoo, or Bing, as well as your social media sites.
- Experiment with influencer marketing. Who are the most notable figures in your market? Can you advertise on their website or social sites? Many consumers look to these “influencers” for reviews and promotions before buying something. Using influencers, you can get the word out about your company and get people talking about you. The more often people talk about you, the more prominently you’ll appear in any Internet search.
- Develop relationships with others in your industry. If you have a relationship with blog writers or podcasters in your industry, you can work with them to feature your content or appear as a podcast guest. For example, you can partner with an industry association or the local chamber of commerce. Be creative as you forge relationships and keep your growth goals top of mind.
- Show up where your customers are looking. Be smart with where you spend time and money online. If your customers are Instagram users, don’t put as much effort into Twitter. You can also take advantage of remarketing tools to guide your ads to locations where your customers will likely look.
Stay safe while online.
While growing your online presence may be vital for your survival, it also may put you at more risk for fraudulent activity. Take a few minutes to review these simple online safety tips from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). When you take extra care to protect you, your business and your customers, it’s ultimately a win-win for everyone.
Above all else, building an online presence requires time and effort. Be patient and review every action you take to ensure it’s doing what you want it to do. Some marketing strategies will work better than others — don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work right away. The key is to keep trying and over time you’ll see that it will all pay off with improved brand awareness and a healthier bottom line.