In an increasingly digital and technology-driven marketplace, it’s more and more important for organizations to be accessible to their customers through the internet. According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center. in 2016 79% of Americans had purchased a product or service online. In a report on the study by TechCrunch, they summarize that the majority of online shoppers prefer to shop in-store but convenience, price comparisons, the ability to conduct more extensive research on a firm, and more ultimately led them to buy online.
Being online isn’t the only important factor for small businesses to consider. As we discussed in our blog on social media etiquette, 45% of the world’s population uses social media with approximately one million people joining new social platforms daily. Additionally, a 2018 Forbes article reports that more than 60% of social media users between the ages of 18-34 tend to be more loyal to the brands they follow online. In addition to being online, businesses need to use their online presence as a full-fledged marketing effort in order to maximize their audience reach and increase their revenue generation.
Having a website is important, and so is having a social media account, but there is more to establishing an online presence than just those two factors. In fact, there are five other elements to creating an excellent online presence to capture new customers and retain existing ones.
Website A website the first part of creating your online presence. It is the central hub of your home online. Everything for your digital brand should exist there: Company information and bios, product and service catalogs, original content, and more. The main goal of digital marketing is to drive traffic to your website. Once you have users on your site, the goal is to then get them to convert to customers. Therefore, the quality, design, and user-friendliness of your website is imperative to optimizing your conversion rate. Don’t underestimate the power of updating your website and revamping from time to time.
Google Business Listing Google is the #1 most-visited website. Therefore, having a Google My Business listing is crucial. As a free tool, it allows you to promote your business through Google search and helps you become identifiable on Google Maps. This tool also allows you to post pictures, create paid ads on Google, create a website if needed, generate customer reviews, and more. As a free resource, it’s also the first step to creating a top-notch SEO strategy.
Social Media These platforms are often where brands start out with their online presence. Since the most popular social media platforms generally allow users to create business profiles for free, it is a place where many businesses can begin to brand themselves before launching their website, which may take some time to develop. In the long-run though, social media can be a great way to build traction for your business. According to a 2018 report from Shareaholic, 25% of all website traffic came from social media in 2017. And between 2014 and 2017, social media was the top referral source for web traffic, beating out search engines. A strong social media presence can do wonders for your overall online presence and it’s important to treat it as a critical part of your marketing plan.
Content Marketing It’s one thing to make a post on social media or upload pre-existing content to your website, but original content marketing is something many brands become heavily invested in. Content marketing helps organizations communicate the value of their product or service with free or inexpensive media that can provide knowledge or entertainment for the user. The hope is to lead them to invest in a bigger company offering once they have had some connection with lower price or free content. Content marketing is extremely popular. In a 2018 Content Marketing Institute study, 91% of B2B marketers stated they currently create some sort of content for marketing purposes. And, on the user end, there is certainly a demand for it. A Forbes article states that there are about 5 billion video views on Youtube daily and 44% of the US population has recently listened to a podcast. While it can be time-consuming, content creation and marketing is a proven strategy to help communicate your company’s expertise and to drive sales.
SEO Search engine results have been driving more traffic than even social media starting in 2017. Therefore, creating a site that is going to be search engine friendly and will appear to customers based on the keywords they may use is crucial. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the organic website visibility in search engines through the coding, writing, and organization of content on a website. SEO is the attempt to make the content on your site compatible with the algorithms of top search engines to make your site rank highest with searches you would like to present on. By staying on top of ever-changing SEO trends, you stand the best chance of being discovered by new customers.
Email Marketing While we’ve noted that 45% of the world’s population uses social media, Entrepreneur reports over 1.2B more people also use email and that 72% of people would prefer to receive brand content via email as opposed to social media. This creates a big opportunity for email marketing which is inclusive of both cold and warm emails. Cold emails help you directly seek out the people whom you’d like to convert into customers without waiting for them to find you while warm emails help you continue an engaging relationship with those who are familiar with your brand, especially if they opt-in to your email list. Building an email list is an amazing way to build and interact with your brand’s community as well as to reach them immediately with any important sales, news, or content you want them to be aware of.
Advertising While many aspects of your business’ online presence will be free, making an investment in advertising can make a huge difference. Platforms give priority to those who are running an advertising campaign and it can help your posts or offers stand out among the noise of everyone else on the internet. You can create settings to target exactly who you are looking to convert into customers as well as how often they see it or what posts will follow them through the internet via re-targeting efforts. Additionally, since platforms like Facebook and Instagram create algorithms that often change and make organic visibility harder (to encourage businesses to spend money on advertising), paid ads can boost your brand’s visibility beyond what organic (unpaid) efforts alone can do.
Staying on top of your online presence can be hard, especially because there are so many moving parts. The Vieras can help you with some of your marketing efforts. Check out the marketing services we offer to make your brand stand out online.