Having a strong online presence is a crucial component of your marketing strategy, no matter what size your business is or what industry it belongs to. And while building your online presence can be time consuming and frustrating, it’s not something to be taken lightly.
With 64 percent of all in-store sales influenced by the internet, if the majority of your potential customers are online, you should be, too.
Not sure where to start? You’re not alone. Here are seven tips to help your online marketing efforts go forth and prosper.
Wow them with your website
Your website is the core of your online presence.
All businesses, no matter how small, should have a website. It can be extremely basic, but it should contain the fundamental information customers — especially future customers — need and want to know.
While there was a time when small businesses thrived through word-of-mouth, technology-savvy consumers are at an all-time high. And your business can’t afford to dismiss making your online presence known.
Be sure your website is current. There’s no reason a business should lose potential customers over little details.
Own a restaurant? Make sure your menu is updated. Freelancer? Include contact information and social media outlets.
What you name your website is also very important. And with the vast amount of domain extensions available, you’re no longer confined to what’s left in the .com world. So go wild or play it safe. Either way, make sure you pick a name that can scale with your business.
Search engines are your friends
Once you have a website, it’s vital that it can actually be found by search engines. After all, 81 percent of consumers use search engines to research a product, service or business before making a decision.
Take advantage of this by looking at search engine optimization (SEO) recommendations for your website. Make sure you’re incorporating keywords for your market throughout your site.
The most important strategy to ensuring proper optimization and achieving visibility online is to create relevant and high-quality content your ideal users are searching for, and ultimately, read and share. This positively impacts your domain authority.
At the same time, be sure you aren’t stuffing your content with keywords otherwise you’ll make no friends with the likes of Google and Bing as these companies (and many other search engines) are continually blocking black-hat SEO tactics.
Social media is an extremely important part of your online presence. So much so that 15 percent of surveyed consumers have purchased a product thanks to social media.
Not only does it allows customers to engage with your brand, it’s also a great way to grow and maintain your brand’s reputation.
Not every social media channel is relevant to your business, so know your options and chose your channels wisely. From Facebook and Twitter, to YouTube and LinkedIn, know your target market and where they are… then be there.
Once you’ve decided which social media channels to use, get a clear idea of the content you can share. The more compelling and engaging your material is, the more likely your followers will like, comment and share your posts.
And don’t forget to integrate social channels into your website so customers can easily share your content.
Though you may feel a website is sufficient, if you’re serious about taking the next step your business should really be mobile accessible.
Because consumers are spending more time on mobile than ever before. In fact, in the US, mobile digital media time outweighs desktop use by nine percent.
If a potential customer is using a smartphone and can’t access your business easily, they’ll just go to someone they can. So make sure your website is ‘mobile friendly’.
Take it a step further by creating different experiences on various devices. Those visiting your site on mobile may not be prioritizing the same wants and needs as those on a desktop.
Whether it’s via your website, an online community, or through your social media channels, you should always be looking to provide consistent value.
Know your goals and how to reach them, then stick to them.
Don’t just build an online presence because you’re supposed to, build it strategically so that it can help your overall business objectives.
Creating consistent and valuable content will help you gain credibility and authority in your industry or niche, which is important for your online growth and visibility.
This will not only build trust with your followers (they’ll start to recognize that you’re not just in it for yourself), it will also help you build relationships with others in your industry or niche (through sharing their content with your audience). It’s also a great way to reach others’ followers who might be interested in your content.
Track your success
So you’ve created a website, your content is being shared, now what?
If you don’t track the right metrics, you’re doing yourself a disservice as you’ll never really know what's actually working; fooling yourself into believing you're doing it right.
Without tracking these things, you won’t be able to recognize trends or why a spike (or worse, a drop) in traffic has happened. It’s extremely important to test different things and figure out what works best for you.
To drive the most ROI, set aside some time each month to evaluate your metrics and decide what changes you’d like to make to your overall social strategy.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Never before does the old adage ‘patience is a virtue’ mean more than when building your online presence.
Establishing your online presence doesn’t happen overnight. It requires time and patience.
You must be willing to commit to growing in this aspect just as you would in scaling your business.
So while you may want to pull from a slow-growing social outlet or not dedicate the time to build that mobile app, know that with due diligence and patience, results will come.
Originally published at thenextweb.com.