How to Successfully Build an Online Presence for Your Business
Just as with any kind of business, setting up a company online and simply hoping people will find you organically is unlikely going to get you very far. Marketing is the lifeblood of any business and is what will build brand awareness, a presence online and, ultimately, bring in paying customers. However, online marketing can be a costly and frustrating process to the uninitiated. To help you get started we have put together this guide to successfully building an online presence.
Build a Social Media Presence
It might sound obvious that to build an online presence a business should be easily found on popular social media platforms, but you’d be surprised by the number of companies either not on social media or not properly utilising it. Each platform requires a different approach – for example, Instagram is very image heavy whereas Twitter is more focused on written content. Creating strong, interesting content – which doesn’t always promote your business – will entice people into following your page. Social media can be a great way to find your audience and keep them engaged with your brand and should never be underrated.
Build an Email List
When starting out, and with so much to consider, many businesses overlook the importance of building a list of current and potential customer emails. An email list is a great way to keep in touch with those interested in your brand, offer promotional material and boost sales. Email is also a cheap way to do marketing and often brings a greater ROI than any other form of marketing – 80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention.
Your Website is Your Shopfront
Simply having a website isn’t enough when it comes to building a strong online presence. Your website is your shopfront and may be the first point of contact potential customers have with your brand, so you want it to properly represent you. Your website should be easily navigated, intuitive to use and have a clear menu which also makes clear how to get in touch with your business should someone need to. If you are an e-commerce business, including a way for customers to leave reviews and feedback is a proven way to boost sales and customer confidence.
The Importance of SEO
You’ve probably heard a lot about SEO – search engine optimisation - and how important it can be for an online business, but never been fully sure about what it is. SEO is the process of making sure your website is fully optimised to be indexed by search engines and will appear high up in the results pages for searches related to your business. Say someone is searching for “cheap stationery” and you are a stationery site, you will want to be high in the results to improve the chances of that potential customer finding you and buying from your site.
There are many different SEO techniques you can use to help your site appear further up in related searches: these techniques include submitting your site to Google Search Console to make sure it is properly indexed, having trusted sites link to your site, making sure relevant keywords – words potential customers might search to find your business or products – are on your site, including in URLs and headers. Another great way to boost your presence on Google, the most used search engine, is to set up your company on Google My Business; here you can list your business and any relevant details, including contact details.
Invest in Digital Marketing
Advertising your business on social media platforms or on search engines, like Google and Bing, can be a great way to build a customer base, generate leads and grow brand awareness. The type of business you run will often determine where you should be advertising online – you want to be where your target audience is likely to be. There are many free training courses in digital marketing offered by the likes of Google, as well as local business support centres, to help you get started. Start off by investing small amounts in advertising to find out what works and what doesn’t and allow yourself time to learn the different platforms before you commit any significant sums of money. When implemented properly, online marketing can be one of the best ways to get your brand out there and increase sales.
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