Improving your online presence and extending your digital reach is about being visible. It’s about showing up in search engines, being seen on social media and having a website.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the thought that you’ve got to be everywhere. That’s not the case. Making the right choices to suit your business and creating consistent messaging will give you a good start.
The first priority is to put aside time to review your own marketing. When you’re in the midst of fulfilling orders and meeting deadlines, your own marketing and brand awareness promotion is one of the first things to go. Then, when you need it most, there’s a lot of catching up to do!
Take time to reflect on your current marketing, and be prepared to start with the basics. And whatever you do, don’t overwhelm yourself with tasks.
Take one element at a time and work through it methodically.
Know your audience
Before getting to grips with your current online presence, do you have a clear idea of your target audience? Make sure you can define what they do, how old they are age and where they live. And ask yourself what problems do your products or services solve for them? Having an accurate vision of your target market, will help you make the right choices when it comes to positioning your online marketing.
Time for review
The next step is to review what marketing you already have in place. Here you’ll need to address your brand and logo and how they work online, not just in print (see our article on ‘Branding in a nutshell’). Where can you be found online? Do you have a website, what social platforms do you use, can your audience sign up to a newsletter, are you demonstrating your expertise with a blog? All these elements are part of your online marketing presence and will help you be found through online searches.
Once you’ve determined what you already have in place it’s time to analyse how it’s working for you and create a plan of what steps you need to take to make improvements.
Make an impression with your brand
Does your brand and logo do justice to your current business? Perhaps your business has moved on since they were first created and could do with a refresh. Consider how consistently your brand and identity are used across your digital marketing, and if inconsistent, how detrimental this might be to the impression you are creating about your brand.
Open your shop window to the world
Not all businesses operate with a website, as in some circumstances social platforms are sufficient, but as businesses grow and develop over time, so do audience expectations. Is it time for you to invest in a website? A website gives you the perfect online opportunity to show off your business and build strong brand awareness. In essence, it’s the digital version of a shop window.
If you already have one in place it’s worth asking yourself a few questions to determine if it’s working hard enough for your business. Is your current offer detailed on your website, or does it need updating? And would someone not familiar with your business, understand your offer?
It’s always important for a website to be user-friendly. If not, your potential customers might skip right off before you’ve even had a chance to say hello! Do you have a clear structure and pathway for users to follow? Is the font choice easy to read and the language concise and engaging? Are your pages optimised for seo to help people find you? Most importantly, are your calls to action clear and can people contact your easily?
Another aspect is how you update your website, whether you do this yourself via a content management system (CMS), or rely on a third party. Having a CMS will allow you to update content whenever you need to and keep your website current, without hindering the progress of your business. You can update and amend content, upload blogs and add offers.
Keep in touch
It’s also worth considering the value of creating an email newsletter, encouraging prospects and existing customers to sign up to find out about your latest tips and offers. If you’re concerned about creating content for your newsletter, this can be generated from a mix of blog posts, industry news and offers, which with a little thought, can be planned in advance and based on a regular template. It’s completely doable and a very valuable marketing tool.
Don’t be afraid of the blogosphere
We then come to blogs. I can almost hear you groan in pain! Although they are time consuming, they are an important way to increase your online presence. Not only can they be shared across your marketing channels, they are a key tool to entice customers by answering search-based questions. It's all about providing your target market with high quality and relevant content.
Having an online presence on social media will give you credibility, help build trust in your brand and awareness. It’s certainly no time to be shy. How are you performing on social media? Do your current platforms fit well with your audience, or do you need to rethink your strategy? Find out where your audience hang out, if they are on Twitter, it’s probably not worth investing in an Instagram account. And what engagements are you receiving from your posts? Do you need to revisit the type of content you are publishing, or review the quality of images to make them more appealing?
It’s important to remember that social is just that – social! It’s no good having a one-way conversation without engaging with others. Consider how much you get social with other accounts, helping to spread brand awareness.
Create a list of hashtags based on subject areas related to your business. Cut and paste them into posts to save entering them each time you schedule a post.
Make time for marketing
It’s clear that marketing your business and improving your online presence is going to take time. As a business owner, it’s something that you’ll place great value on and you’ll be looking at ways to work effectively and efficiently. While there’s many aspects of improving your online presence that you’ll be able to achieve inhouse, you may want to consider outsourcing other aspects to experts.
Whichever approach you take, don’t hold off improving your online presence because you’re not sure where to start.
Do you need some help? We’re a team who focus on getting to know and understand our client’s businesses, and take an integrated approach to design and marketing.