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How to grow your online presence

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 marketing 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, it’s worth revisiting your target audience. 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

What marketing do you already have in place? Here you’ll need to address your brand and logo and how they work online, as well as in print (see ‘Branding in a nutshell’).

And 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 to do next.

Make an impression with your brand

Does your brand and logo do justice to your current business? Perhaps your business has evolved since they were first created and could do with a refresh. Consider how consistently your brand and identity are used across your digital marketing. Inconsistency can be detrimental to your brand and create mixed messaging.

Open your shop window to the world

Not all businesses operate with a website, as in some instances 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. It’s the digital version of a shop window.

If you already have a website 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?

Is your website 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 seo-friendly to help your customers find you? Most importantly, are your calls to action clear and can people contact you 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’ll be able to update and amend content, upload blogs and add offers.

Keep in touch

Have you considered the value of email newsletters? They can be used to encourage both prospects and customers to sign up to find out about your latest tips and offers. They are a great online marketing tool to encourage prospects to buy and customers to buy again.

If you’re concerned about creating content for your newsletter, we have a few tips to get you started. Content ideas can be generated from a regular blog, news in the industry, special offers, meet the team posts and testimonials. Whatever content you add, it helps to stick to a regular format for both the design and content.

Newsletters are completely doable and a valuable marketing tool.

Don’t be afraid of the blogosphere

Blogs are an asset worth investing in. Although they are time consuming, they can be shared across multiple channels – from your website, newsletters and social platforms.

Not only can they showcase you as an expert in your field, if you provide your target audience with high quality and relevant content, they can help drive traffic from keyword searches.

Get social

Having an online presence on social media will give you credibility, help build trust in your brand and increase brand awareness.

How are you performing on social media? Do your current platforms fit well with your audience, or do you need to rethink your strategy? Take a look and find out where your audience hang out? If they are active on Twitter, it’s probably not worth investing in an Instagram account.

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 engage with other accounts – every time you have a conversation you’ll be increasing your brand awareness.

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 in house, 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.

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