If you’re like many small business owners, you get the importance of developing a strong online presence. You may even know that a digital presence is necessary if you want to attract your ideal customers en masse. Sadly, none of this knowledge amounts to an actionable strategy for establishing an effective online presence.
So how do you go about it?
Successful business owners will tell you that putting all your eggs in one basket is not the way to go. You need to implement a multi-pronged online strategy to realize your full online potential and get customers rolling in.
If you remember, in the past, we’ve talked about the Promotion Path, where we spell out how to tackle your marketing (and in what order) to guarantee better success. Below, we reiterate these same items.
First things first, you need a website. It will act as the hub of your business, as the face of your brand and give potential customers as much information about your business as possible.
Remember, owning a business is about iterations. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to start. If you’re up for DIYing, you have the time and a touch of internet savviness, you may be able to create a basic website that’ll serve as a touchpoint for people who may be interested in your product or service.
If you’re not up for creating your own website, we’re here to help.
A Local Presence
If you want to grow your online presence, you should never underestimate the importance of being known in your local area. Location-specific searches make up a substantial proportion of Google searches. One way to get your business on Maps and take advantage of those location-based searches in your area is to create a Google Business account for FREE! After creating your free listing, it’ll begin funneling potential customers straight to you!
A Favorable Reputation & Good Reviews
Yet another thing you need to foster a prominent online presence is a positive online reputation. And one of the best ways to get it is to earn tons of good reviews on every relevant review outlet.
Here are some of the top review outlets to be aware of:
- Google Business
- Your own websites
- Better Business Bureau
- Yelp (we just recommend the free directory listing, not the other stuff)
More than 90% of people factor reviews into their purchasing decisions, so if your business is lacking in the review department, you could be missing out. So, take our advice and get your online reputation up to snuff!
Let’s be real; customer reviews can be equally helpful and detrimental to a given business. Because as great as a 5-star review can be, a 1-star “Beware” review can seriously damage your reputation. While there’s no way to avoid all bad reviews on public review outlets, you can keep the good reviews coming with impeccable customer service. Always make your customers feel valued and do your best to satisfy them at every turn.
One study also found that many consumers care more about how businesses responded to negatives reviews, then the fact that they got a negative review to begin with! So, don’t panic if (and when) the day comes for your first negative review.
Social Media Content & Ads
Social media is an excellent tool for boosting your online presence and reaching your target audience. You can post optimized content on top social media sites to draw users to your site. You can also pay for targeted ads to be shown to platform users based on a set of criteria that you define.
Here are some tips to help you choose which social media sites to look into:
- Facebook - If you’re looking for a general platform to spread awareness, you really can’t beat Facebook, the top social media site of them all. With billions of active users, you’re sure to get your money’s worth.
- Instagram - If you sell products that are pleasing to the eye or lend themselves well to demos, Instagram is the place to build your online visibility. You can share your brand and services with the world using visual media like pictures, videos, and reels.
- LinkedIn - One of the more understated social media sites, LinkedIn is a prime option for small businesses in professional industries, like publishing, professional services, and recruiting.
- YouTube - YouTube is the top video sharing site, where billions of hours of content are consumed daily. If your business is already leveraging video advertising, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be advertising on YouTube.
Findability Through Paid Google Ads & SEO
Getting found online is no easy feat - chances are there are thousands of businesses in your industry vying for the same customers you’re going for. So, how do you get an edge over your competitors? You need to enhance your business’s online findability, and there are two main ways to do it!
Paid Google Ads
Paid Google Ads are exactly what they sound like; they are paid ads that pop up on Google’s search engine and partner sites. These ads are extremely valuable, given the extensive reach that Google has. The site has over 4 billion users worldwide, so you can be almost 100% sure that your ideal customers use the site from time to time.
After creating and posting a Google Ad, businesses can expect a near-instant increase in online visibility, resulting in more website traffic, an increase in calls, or more in-person visits. According to Google, businesses enjoy an average return on investment (ROI) of $2 for every $1 they spend.
So how does Google Ads work? Here’s a quick rundown:
- Google Ads put you at the top of the search results for whatever keywords you choose to bid on.
- Google Ads act as an auction, so you’re bidding on your ad showing to searchers for the keywords you’re interested in showing up for.
- These ads are more affordable per click if your website’s performance and user experience is great.
- Google Ads are great to increase visibility, but as soon as you stop investing in Google Ads, they quit working.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
In contrast to paid Google Ads is SEO, or search engine optimization. It’s the act of driving more traffic to your website by optimizing your content and website copy. It also encompasses attracting visitors through off-site linking via guest posting and link building.
If you have never considered SEO before, we strongly encourage you to start. With consistent and targeted content optimization, you can create a funnel that greatly increases your online presence.
The main factors in SEO are:
- Performance of your website
- Link Building
So how does SEO work? Here’s a quick rundown:
- SEO is like building a home. It takes a lot of investment in the beginning and takes months of work to begin seeing real results. But, once you have finished building that home - you have equity (or in the case of SEO, digital equity in your website).
- SEO is the process of improving your overall online presence to make yourself more findable organically, so you aren’t paying for individual leads like you are on Google Ads.
- Although it is more time consuming, it is more effective as less than 10% of clicks happen on the ads.
There you have it - actionable, fact-based advice you can use to take your online presence from non-existent to thriving. On the fence as to whether you need to look into overhauling your online presence? We can help! You can learn just how strong your online presence is with a free online presence audit! We wish you the best of luck as you take on the challenge of establishing a digital presence for your business.