Online Presence: A Major Investment For Your Business Growth
By Nancy Habeeb Bou Saleh
In today’s fast-paced digital world, establishing and maintaining a strong online presence is very essential to any brand’s success and survival, no matter how small or big the business is or what industry it belongs to. But the problem is that many business owners don’t truly understand what ONLINE PRESENCE means, and many more don’t understand how to build it and improve it.
To start, let me first give you a brief idea about what online presence is.
What is online presence?
Online presence is one of those buzzword phrases in the world of marketing nowadays. It is the whole existence of an individual or business on the web and other parts of Internet, which can be found via an online search.
In this electronic era, people are more likely to search online to get information about companies, products and services. So even if your company does not conduct business online, customers and potential customers are expecting to see you online.
Generally speaking, your online presence is what allows people to find you, interact with you, get to know you and trust you. It is your virtual 24/7 showroom and an extension of your brand that never sleeps.
When you have an impressive online presence, you are able to attract customers from all around the world at all times of the day. Therefore as a modern business, you must build and maximize your brand’s online presence to ensure that you are not left behind. But the main question is HOW? Let’s find out…
How to establish and maintain your online presence?
Customers nowadays are tech- savvy and in most cases they depend on a company’s online presence as a validity test of its credibility in the market. So in order to create a long-term and effective online presence, here are a few essentials you need to do, and some tips to help you get started:
1- Create a great Website: Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media says “If you don’t have a website, your business will become increasingly invisible, until it vanishes altogether.”
All businesses should have a website regardless of their size. Having a website is a necessity, not an option. Without it, your company doesn't exist. It doesn’t have to be too fancy or complicated. Keep it simple with pages that contain at least the basic information that your customers or potential clients need.
TIP: It is very essential to have an official website that is professionally designed, easy-to-navigate and mobile-friendly, and the most important thing is to update it frequently.
2- Utilize Social Media Marketing: When building an online presence, companies must use social media for a variety of reasons, one of which is that they are FREE. Another reason is that a big percentage of your target customers is using social networking sites so why not be there where your customers are? If you neglect social media marketing, you will be missing out on an incredible number of potential customers.
From setting up a business Facebook page, opening a Twitter or Instagram account, or maybe creating a channel on YouTube… Note that you don’t have to be on each and every social media channel. The most important thing is to choose the channels that work best for your business and this will ultimately boost your online presence.
TIP: Keep in mind that consistency and engagement are key to promoting your brand, so make sure to consistently create and share compelling content so that your followers will like, comment and share your posts.
3- Email Marketing: Despite all the new tools and techniques out there that promise to help grow your online presence, the most valuable and personal connections with your clients are established through email marketing. Accordingly, Email marketing should definitely be part of your business. Start by create a link on your website allowing visitors to sign up for email updates or newsletters. Then collect the email signups and add them to a mailing list. Finally choose an email service provider such as Mail Chimp, and start connecting with them frequently.
TIP: Remember that the key to effective email marketing is to send your target audience quality information that captures their attention and instills brand recognition. But also try to keep mailings rare to avoid spamming and losing your customers’ interest.
4- Start Blogging: A blog creates a communication channel between you and your target audience and helps you in creating a strong online presence. Blogging lets you share new and relevant information. For example, you can blog about your company’s products and services or about relevant industry trends. Blogging will position your brand as an industry expert, and will drive traffic to your website.
TIP: Don’t forget that you should be consistent with posting. Build a content calendar and stick to it. The key here is, delivering relevant, quality content in a timely manner.
5- Directory listings: Another area you should focus on in order to establish a strong online presence is to make sure that your business is mentioned in online directories and listings. A business listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number, and other details make your business more visible on the Internet.
There are thousands of websites and directories on which local business owners are allowed to create free business listings. Popular directories like Yelp, Yahoo! Local, Google+ Local, and Internet Yellow Pages allow you to take advantage of their popularity in order to direct a great number of people to your site.
TIP: Whenever you submit your business listing, bear in mind to use the same exact information every time. This helps to ensure your listings are complete, accurate, and consistent across sites.
6- Video Marketing: The last most important tool for firing up your online presence is VIDEO, which you can actually integrate in most of the above areas previously discussed. You can upload videos to your website, share them on social media, send them in email marketing campaigns, and post them on your blog. Video marketing is evolving and it allows you to make a more personal connection with your audience.
Here are few statistics about the incredible importance of video marketing for your online presence:
- A study by Eye View shows that using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%.
- According to Brightcove, 74% of consumers say there is a connection between watching a video on social media and their purchasing decision-making process.
- According to Forrester research, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate.
- Blog Posts incorporating video attract 3 times as many inbound links as blog posts without video. (Source: SEOmoz)
TIP: When creating video content, make sure to think about your audience, educate them, keep the message concise, make the first few seconds count, optimize your videos for search, and analyze your results.
To resume, an online presence is one of the most important investments that a business can make. The more you share of your business, the healthier your online presence will be and the greater your brand’s success will be.
A strong online presence gives your business a competitive edge.
Has your company already created its online presence? If not. Now is the time to ACT!! Start with the basics and contact us to get a free consultation.