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Every business needs an online presence to compete in the modern marketplace. 81% of retail shoppers carry out online research before they make their purchase, demonstrating just how important it is for businesses to be online if they want to compete with others in their industry. Some small businesses might struggle with the idea of building an online presence, especially businesses that have been running for a long time and relying on other types of marketing. But growing an online presence is a must if you don’t want to miss out and get left behind by more modern businesses.
There are some key things that every business needs in order to build a solid online presence that will help them to develop their brand reputation and grow their sales.
1. Build a Professional Website
A website is one of the most basic things that a business can have to start setting up an online presence. Having a website gives your business online visibility. It helps your brand to show up when people search online, and it provides an online resource to direct people toward when they want information about your business.
Many people know that their business needs a website, but they’re not sure how to get a website or how to make the most of it. The easiest way for many business owners to build a website is to approach a developer or designer to help them get set up. A basic website should have information about your business, but there’s also much more you can do with your site. It can provide useful content to customers and sell your products directly online. We recommend creating a WordPress website or hiring a professional WordPress designer for your business.
2. Create a Brand Style Guide
Creating a consistent brand presence across different online channels is one of the best ways you can increase your brand recognition and reputation. One of the things that can help with this is creating a brand style guide, which lays out the visual elements of your brand. It can also include other important information about your brand identity, such as brand values, tone of voice, mission, and vision.
A brand style guide provides a useful resource for anyone within your business, as well as for any outsourced professionals. You can give it to a graphic designer or a content writer you hire so that they immediately understand the guidelines of how your brand should be presented online. It’s a resource that’s useful across multiple online marketing channels, from your website and blog to your social media.
3. Set Up Social Media Accounts
About 80% of online consumers have made a purchase because of a social media ad. Being on social media allows you to promote your business organically and target your audience with adverts. There are multiple social media platforms that could be useful for your business, but it’s important not to assume you need to use them all. You can’t really juggle more than a few channels, and there isn’t much point in having more than two or three. The best thing you can do is work out which social media platforms your target audience is using and meet them there.
Social media marketing can be very effective, but you have to get it right. You need to spend time making engaging posts and communicating with your audience. Just setting up your profiles and posting once in a blue moon probably isn’t going to have much positive effect. You can also use social advertising channels to give your pages and your brand a boost.
4. Use Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing methods available. It offers an excellent return on investment, giving an average $42 return for every $1 spent. It’s easy to start using email marketing too, and it’s a good way to collect leads that may later turn into sales. To use email marketing effectively, you first need to start a mailing list. There are multiple ways to collect people’s emails, including having people sign up when they buy through your online store and using landing pages. You can provide incentives to encourage people to add their emails to your list, such as free content or exclusive discounts.
Email marketing can be used to keep your customers up to date, build customer relationships and retain existing customers. You can use it to send out news about your brand, promote your products, give people discounts and other special offers, and much more.
5. Have a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing helps to create your online presence and promote your business through a range of materials. Engaging content can be created in different formats, and you can use it in multiple different ways. The content that you create can range from blog posts and infographics to videos and white papers. Your content can help you to develop a voice for your brand and build a reputation. Well-researched and written content is excellent for showing your expertise and building brand awareness.
Sharing content regularly increases visibility, keeps your audience engaged, and can be very helpful for SEO too.
6. Work on SEO
Once you have a website set up, you should make sure you’re taking the right steps for successful SEO. Search engine optimization is an essential part of your online presence. It makes your brand more visible in search engines, growing brand recognition, and awareness. There are many different things to think about with SEO, including whether you are targeting a local audience, a national audience, or an international audience. There are steps you can take directly on your website, such as optimizing each page, as well as things you can do elsewhere. For example, setting up a Google My Business page is one of the best things a local business can do in addition to creating an optimized website.
Never Give Up and Never Stop Improving Your Brand’s Presence Online
A lot can go into crafting a good online presence for your business, but every business has to start somewhere. These initial steps will help you to ensure your brand is more visible online but should not be seen as a “checklist” to be completed. You will want to make sure to maintain your presence online by keeping your website fresh and competitive with others in your industry.