Building an online presence for your company is essential to standing out from the competition. This is how to make your business known online.
It's no secret that the world of business marketing has changed dramatically in the last couple of decades. The average marketer will spend around 57% of their total budget on digital marketing efforts, and even more at the beginning of their strategies!
Fortunately, there are ways to save on marketing and get the most out of every dollar you invest into your strategies. It all starts with looking at your online presence as a whole and building a cohesive strategy.
Here's what you need to know to get started!
What Is Online Presence?
Your online presence is defined by your brand's presence across the web on various platforms and modes. Essentially, your combined efforts across your website, online marketing campaigns, social media platforms, business listings, and more define your online presence.
Of course, there are ways to maximize the benefits of each of these fixtures and create one cohesive online strategy. We'll go into the details, but first, let's discuss why it's so important.
Why Is Building an Online Presence So Important?
The more diverse and professional your online presence appears, the better your chances are of building brand awareness, making conversions, and building a loyal customer base. Here's what you need to know:
Let's imagine you ignore several business listings because it's known for having low conversion rates. It sounds fair, right? Well, if that conversion rate is 0.5%, and 10,000 people see it, then you missed out on 50 potential customers because of the little effort of putting your name and business information on a listing.
More importantly, let's compound that. If there are dozens of platforms where you could present your company to new users, those seemingly low conversion rates could add up to huge gains with minimal effort.
Also, improving your existing online presence can help improve your conversion rates. This will directly save money on ad campaigns, build organic traffic to your website, and more. We'll discuss how to do so later on.
Building Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is essential for growth. Most of us could recognize a Google product from a mile away, and we would probably trust that product more than a product from a tech startup we've never heard of.
No matter the size of your company or your target audience, any brand can benefit from this level of awareness. The more recognizable your brand is, the easier it will be to scale your company down the road.
Building Brand Loyalty
There are two umbrellas for various platforms used online. One umbrella covers your strategies to build new customers and increase your brand awareness. The other umbrella includes keeping your existing customers, which is just as important.
Did you know that a 5% increase in customer retention leads to a 25% to 95% profit increase? That's an enormous ROI for such a small investment. It always pays to keep loyal customers, as they may keep coming back for more.
Fortunately, you have plenty of options available online for customer retention. Most obviously, you have social media and email marketing. These can help keep your brand fresh in your customers' minds and keep them returning for more.
Also, making conversions from users who have already made conversions with your business is a lot easier. Retention efforts tend to have a much higher and more sustainable ROI than marketing to new customers. Use these in your strategy as soon as possible.
Finally, the last benefit is simply not keeping all of your eggs in one basket. Imagine pouring efforts into your SEO campaign for months and having nothing come of it. It's not unheard of.
However, by building a strong, diverse, and cohesive online presence, your chance of something "sticking" is very high. The more options you have available to users, the more likely you are to turn a profit.
Building a Strong Website
Without question, your website is the very center of your entire online presence. It's the home base for your entire digital marketing strategy and online reach. This is where your SEO strategy takes place, where your ads direct traffic, and where your email and social campaigns link to.
While it isn't your only online platform, any boost to your website is a boost to your entire online strategy. It is certainly your most valuable digital asset, and it needs to appear so.
Moreover, it's also the best place, both on and offline, to showcase your brand. It's a blank slate where you can add anything you want. You control the style, font, color scheme, messaging, personality, and more.
Also, it's often the first impression of your brand for many users. If that first impression is poor, it may be the last. Here are some important ways to improve your website.
Adopt the Mobile-First Strategy
Since the last few years, the majority of web traffic now comes from mobile devices. Google knows this, your users know it, and so should you.
In many cases, web developers are adopting the "mobile-first" strategy, where they design their websites for mobile devices first and desktop second. The only exception to this is for B2B businesses, as working professionals are more likely to use desktop devices.
This seems like a little thing, but either way, just ensure that your website is fully optimized for mobile devices. CMS tools like WordPress and Shopify are great for automating them, but they are far from perfect.
Improve Loading Times
Slow loading times drive away traffic and hurt your SEO value. Most users leave websites after only a couple of seconds, even on mobile devices, which tend to have slower loading times. Building a strong, fast, mobile-friendly website will help you retain traffic, reduce bounce rates, and improve your SEO strategy.
If you're concerned about your loading times, test them with Google Pagespeed Insights. Your pages should load in under 0.4 seconds for the best results.
Reduce Redirects and Errors
Excessive redirects and errors across your website will look unprofessional, and they will also hurt your SEO efforts. If you want to build organic traffic through Google search, you will need to keep your website clean and up to date.
Focus on Usability
A strong UX design will translate into a better SEO strategy and higher conversion rates. For example, if people click on your Google link or ad campaign and don't know how to get off of the landing page, it's unlikely they will stay for long.
Always ensure that your links and navigation systems work properly, that your site is accessible, and that the page structure is clear and legible across your site.
Generally, work to improve the usability of your website. Ensure that links work, navigation systems are clean and legible, and your pages work as designed.
Overall, there's no substitute for professional web design services. Unfortunately, DIY websites stand out like a sore thumb in today's competitive digital world.
Building an Ad Campaign
Ads are one of the most effective tools available for building short-term revenue. Depending on the platform, you can target your audience with incredible precision, which can lead to great conversion rates and a high ROI.
However, with the rising costs of ads, it's just as easy to lose money on advertisements. That's why it's important to lay the right foundation for a successful PPC ad campaign.
At the beginning of an ad campaign, your primary focus should be improving conversion rates and setting yourself up to save money. Your ads may serve as the first impression for many users, so here's how to get the most out of them.
Conduct Market Research
Like any marketing campaign, ads require some understanding of your target audience. Geographics, demographics, interests, and more.
Of course, some of this is obvious, but some will require some digging. You can start by looking at your competitors and who they target their ads toward, what keywords they use, and more. From there, use your other marketing tools like your social media platforms.
After you grab the low-hanging fruit, conduct your pre-campaign market research with surveys, ongoing competitor research, and small-scale test campaigns. The more you do now, the more you will save on future campaigns.
Try A/B Testing
An important part of ongoing market research is testing your campaigns. A/B testing is the simplest and most affordable way to do this.
Before launching a full-scale ad campaign, try launching two smaller ones. Each should be nearly identical but with one key distinction. This could be personalization, a different "call-to-action" (CTA), a different landing page, or a different aesthetic.
From there, track both campaigns using your favorite analytics tool. Whichever one outperformed the other, you should keep. Over time, this will build a great understanding of what works best for your audience, while helping your current campaigns in the short term.
Choose the Right Type of Ad
Depending on the nature of your business, certain ad formats may work better for you. For example, a video game company probably won't use search ads very often, at least not for building brand awareness. In their case, video ads would be much more appropriate to showcase the features of their product.
Diversifying is a great strategy here, but only if it's relevant to your brand. Try to choose the right types of ad platforms and don't skimp on quality for any of them!
Improve Your Ad Creation
The better the content of your ad, the more likely it is to grab attention and make conversions. An ad with low conversions is not necessarily a waste, as long as it's building awareness.
Ads need to be clear representations of your brand and concise enough that users will read and engage with them. Ads are not like blog content. There are zero bonus points for a higher word count.
Building a Social Media Presence
Around 7 in 10 Americans use social media on a regular basis. If you aren't on social media, you may be missing out on a goldmine for building exposure.
We know it can be daunting to build a social media strategy from scratch. However, with a little effort and persistence, you'd be surprised what you can accomplish. Here's how to get started.
Choose the Right Platforms
Depending on your target audience and goals, you may benefit more from using certain social media platforms. For example, older demographics tend to use Facebook and LinkedIn more often, whereas younger generations prefer Instagram and TikTok.
It also depends on the nature of your business. For example, a photography studio or tattoo shop would fit more naturally with Instagram, whereas a political advocacy group may perform better on Twitter.
Use Trends Wisely
Trends and hashtags should be reserved for when they are relevant to your business. Otherwise, they can appear too forced, which won't help you build a quality audience.
However, when you do post something new and relevant, it's okay to use a few hashtags. Also, if you find something trending that's relevant to your brand, and you have content lined up, use it. Just remember that if you're trying hard to make something work, it probably won't!
Having a regular posting schedule is essential for both outreach and keeping your existing audience engaged. On most platforms, we recommend posting at least once a day.
We understand that this can be a challenge for most business owners, which is why we offer social media marketing services to help you get started and stay consistent!
Building an SEO Strategy
If you're unfamiliar with search engine optimization (SEO), it's the process of ranking your website for search engines like Google. The higher you rank, the more organic traffic you will build. This is the traffic you don't have to pay for or prompt.
Organic traffic is far more relevant than paid traffic, and it's far more likely to convert. Think about it. Do you trust a result on Google that you found or another one of the thousands of ads you see more?
By offering answers to people's questions, you can attempt to convert them into customers. With strong CTAs at the end of your content, you can easily position your product or services as the solution to their problem.
However, search engines have some strict rules about who they rank. Here's what you need to know.
Improve Your Website
We won't spend too much time on this, as following the web design tips above will go a long way. Google's algorithm is designed to rank high-quality websites with relevant users based on their searches. They use over 200 ranking factors specific to the quality of your business website.
You can have the best content in the world, but if your page loads slowly, your site isn't optimized for mobile devices, or the page structure is off, nobody will ever see it. A user-friendly website is a foundation upon which you can build your SEO strategy!
Develop a Diverse Keyword List
Your SEO strategy is only as strong as its keywords. Ranking for as wide of a variety of relevant keywords as possible is the best strategy. You especially want to diversify your short-tail and long-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords are the obvious ones in every industry. Think "ice cream," "pizza," or "car." These will certainly have the highest search volume but also the highest competition.
That shouldn't deter you from trying to rank for them, but it will require a long-term effort. In the meantime, aim to rank for long-tail keywords like "soft serve ice cream near me," "best pizza in Boston," or "used 2017 Subaru Outback."
These keywords will certainly have a lower search volume. However, they will not be nearly as competitive, and the traffic that finds you will be highly relevant and more likely to convert. The more you use, the better your chances!
Build a Strong Content Marketing Strategy
If your website is the foundation, this is the house. A 5-page website only has a few weak opportunities to rank on search engines. However, with a blog or other content marketing strategy, you can have endless opportunities to rank.
Content marketing is also essential for diversifying your keyword list and converting users into customers. For example, a mechanic may try to rank for keywords like "how to change rotors on a 2010 Avalon." In that case, they can write an informative article, highlight some of the challenges and tools needed for the job, and position their services as the solution.
Blogs are by far the easiest form of content marketing to start and the easiest for Google to index. Diversifying your content (videos, infographics, etc.) is a great idea to help skip the line on search engines, but we always recommend a blog to start. Just remember to focus on quality.
Ideally, you should aim for up to 5 blog posts a week for the best results. At the very least, aim for one a week, as Google strongly prefers active blogs.
Blogging is also great to integrate with your email and social campaigns. Adding share buttons and sharing blog articles when you're running out of new ideas can help, but keeping up with such a high volume is still a challenge. Fortunately, professional content marketing services can certainly help you meet your quota!
Build Off-Page SEO
There are so many important tactics that businesses often overlook for off-page SEO. SEO does not only take place on your website. There are plenty of off-page factors to consider.
First, you need to get your business listed on Google Business Profile and other important directories and listings. Keep your information as consistent as possible (down to the letter) for the best results. Inconsistent information may confuse Google.
From there, try to stay active on these platforms by responding to customer feedback. Get on Google Maps, share your content on social media and link to your website, and stay active across your online presence.
More importantly, develop a backlink strategy. Backlinks are links from other sites to yours, and directory links are not included.
Start by asking local affiliates to link to your site. Don't buy "1000 links in two weeks" or similar scams, as this will only hurt your strategy. Build great content and try to reach out for organic links as much as possible.
Integrating Your Online Strategy
For the best overall results, we highly recommend integrating your digital marketing strategy. This includes staying consistent with your brand across your online presence and leveraging your existing marketing strategies to benefit others.
We mentioned sharing blog content on social media or through your email newsletters. Those are great examples. However, why stop there when you have so many other opportunities?
Consider linking your ad campaigns to landing pages in your SEO content. Add social widgets to your emails. The possibilities are endless.
More importantly, stay on brand. Developing a strong and recognizable brand early on will only pay dividends over time. With the right branding services, you can build a brand as recognizable as Google to your target audience!
Build an Online Presence Today
Now that you know how to build an online presence, put these tips to use right away for the best results. You can turn your entire digital marketing strategy and online presence into a cohesive marketing funnel with the right planning and tools at your disposal. Remember, any investment you make now will only help you down the road!
Stay up to date with our latest digital marketing tips, and don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or for help with your strategy!