This is definitely a popular topic. Everyone invested in growing a business wants the shortcuts to improving their online presence. Why? Because the key to attracting clients now and in the future is how you stand out online.
The internet is like a vast ocean teaming with life and promise. The life forms are diverse in size, appearance, and skill. But they all have one thing in common: every one of them is a predator, and every one of them is prey. If you live in this ocean, your survival may depend on many thingshow fast you are, how smart you are, an adaptation that makes you deadly, or maybe how good you are at distracting a predator in order to make your escape. Regardless of what you use to survive in this splendid, exciting ocean of opportunity, the goal is to live as long as you can and grow as big as you can to secure your legacy.
Of course, to do this you have to gain your share of the resources (beating out your competition to do so) and avoid being eaten. Sounds simple enough if you are a fish and you live where there is an abundance of prey, unless you find yourself surrounded by sharks. Not so simple if you are a business because the problem isn’t just the sharks.
The interesting twist in this metaphor is that, as a business, your success isn’t just about you finding your prey…umm, I mean customers. It’s about your customers finding you, and then seeing you as the most attractive thing in the ocean. Guess how you do that!
Let’s review five ways you can give the online presence of your business a beauty makeover.
1. Improve Your Website(s): Humanize, Polarize, Optimize
A website has to convey the basics about a business: what products or services it offers, how to make a purchase, and how to get questions answered. But if that is all it does, then it is a hook with no bait and it won’t catch many fish. Here are three ways you can pump up your website so that “hook” offers the juiciest bait possible.
- Humanize your website with content that makes a connection. The most powerful marketing doesn’t look like marketing. It looks and feels like a relationship. And that is what you want with your customers – a relationship. It all begins with a story…a compelling story.
- Polarize by focusing both website content and structure on user experience (UX). Build customer perspective and interactive options into your website through links to digital marketing sites, chat functions, easy-to use shopping carts, and other tools. Make your website mobile-friendly; and make it accessible with well-designed pages, zoom function, and ADA-compliant tools.
- Optimize with professional SEO services that increase your visibility. This isn’t preferable – it is essential. To be able to sell, you must first be found.
2. Interact: Social Media Marketing
It is estimated that nearly 60% of people worldwide rely on information gained through social media to make purchasing decisions. That is too much influence to ignore! Posting on social media sites is now one of the leading ways to reach target audiences, engage with customers, and conduct invaluable marketing research and campaigns. Social media sites are numerous and their popularity varies greatly; the largest are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter. It is worth the effort to find out what social media sites your customers prefer, and base your efforts on their choices.
3. Influence and Instruct: Blogs, Articles, and White Papers
As with social media, educating target audiences through web blogs, articles, and white papers is vital to communicating value and expertise to customers. As stated above, marketing is most powerful when it doesn’t look like marketing. Offering helpful content to internet audiences is a great way to build familiarity and trust that earns customers, and stimulate interest in your brand. Just make sure it is QUALITY content. If it isn’t, instead of producing the desired result it could produce the opposite.
4. Incentivize: Online Advertising
Who loves to pay for advertising? Yep, no one. But greater than the cost of online advertising could be the cost of not using this formidable tool. Advertising on high-traffic sites such as Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram allows a business to increase brand awareness and web traffic, market to specific target audiences, acquire new leads and followers, and generate sales. Another advantage of online advertising is the variety of formats available: text+graphics, video, audio, diagrammatic, etc.
5. Investigate: Surveys and Studies
Satisfaction surveys and opinion quizzes are effective tools for engaging online audiences. They are also great sources for research that supply ideas for marketing as well as product development. Conducting studies on how your main competitor(s) present themselves online is also helpful when crafting your approach to improving and maximizing your online presence.