Build a Strong Online Presence in 7 Effective Steps

by Lauren Schneidewind on January 20, 2017

If you want your small business to be noticed in the crowded global marketplace, you need to establish and maintain an excellent online presence. A BIA/Kelsey study shows that 97% of consumers use mainly the Internet to search for local products and services. With such impressive statistics, you can’t afford to ignore the power of online marketing.

Building an online brand for your business is not only time-consuming, but it also requires a solid strategy. Try following these 7 effective steps:

Step 1. Create your strategy.

Before doing anything else, determine what your short-term and long-term business goals are. How can you achieve them with help from the Internet?

During the process of building your online presence, you need to monitor the results of your efforts. Most importantly, pay attention to how your strategy is helping you achieve your business goals.

Working on your online presence just because it sounds modern and everyone does it is not reasonable. Apply a strategic approach and thinking if you want to see real changes.

Step 2: Scope out your competition.

Whenever you plan to launch a campaign or program, or introduce a new product or service, start with an analysis of your competition. Check who the current players are on your business field. How do they present themselves on the Internet?

Start with their websites and look at design, user experience, and on-site optimization. Other elements to study: on-site navigation, menus (plus sub-categories), options for a mobile version. Also, assess the way your competitors present their business and build their brand on social media. Learn from them if they are finding success.

Step 3: Focus on your website.

Now, when you’re done with the preliminary research, focus on your website. If you still have no site, then contact a company that specializes in web design. They will help you with the details – from free domain name search and registration, choosing the appropriate hosting plan, to the overall design and layout of your website.

If you still wonder whether it’s worth it to make such an investment, check the statistics: 84% of small business owners consider their website as important or critical to their business.

If you already have a website, are there elements that need to be improved?

Step 4: Take advantage of SEO.

The essential part of having a website is that search engines can easily find it. 89% of consumers rely on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, to find information about a product or service. Which means that you can use this to your advantage.

Note that search engine optimization, or SEO, is not a one-time activity but rather a constant process. Learn how to apply the information regarding your website’s performance and update it accordingly. Another way to attract search engines to your site is by regularly providing new, engaging content.

Step 5: Create your social media profiles.

Based on your online strategy, as well as on the nature of your business, decide which social networking sites to choose. Again, you can use the experience of your competitors and the strategy they already apply.

When creating business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and Tumblr, make sure to include sufficient information to make them effective. As a result, your brand will become easy to recognize with a higher likelihood of turning followers into customers.

Step 6: Create a consistent brand voice.

Your goal is to attract the attention of your customers and make them keep coming back to your website. It’s important to offer quality content while maintaining a consistent brand voice for your Internet presence. Instead of pushing people to buy, it’s better to educate your audience and offer them solutions to problems. Remember, if your followers like the content you provide, and this content makes your brand recognizable, they will start sharing it. The result is an increase in the popularity of your company.

Step 7: Track your results.

So, after you develop a strategy, analyze the competition, create a website, and start social media profiles, how do you know if all this works? By tracking the results of your efforts.

Make it part of your weekly schedule to check the number of likes you have on Facebook and to see how many Twitter followers you’ve attracted. You can use Google Analytics to monitor the traffic to your website. Tracking these numbers will help you recognize trends and identify what’s working best for you.

As you can see, building an online reputation that serves your marketing goals is time-consuming. At the same time, everything you invest in the Internet presence of your business, including money, time, and energy, will pay off in the end. Use these 7 steps to develop a reputable, strong brand. Remember, this is anything but a one-time effort.

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