There’s no getting around the fact your small business needs a website presence in 2022. However, a mistake many small businesses make is to think that is enough. The new world is digital which means it’s critical to own your online presence. You need to take every step possible to expand your reach by taking a closer look at the bigger online picture. Here we explain why it’s critical to boost your online presence and how to go about it.
What is an Online Presence?
Your online presence is basically how visible your brand is online. A strong online presence makes it impossible for your ideal customers to miss you because you’ve identified the most important channels that will make it easy to find you online. Your online presence extends your reach and secures you a top ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
When someone is searching for your specific products and services online, you are front and center wherever they go including their social feeds. You rule your related keywords raising awareness of your brand and building your reputation as an authority providing top-notch service and products. So how do you boost your online presence? Slowly but surely.
Strategize: Where Are Your Ideal Customers Online?
To be successful when building your online presence, you need to focus on the right places. You don’t want to waste energy or money on spaces your customers would never frequent. So, ask yourself, where do my customers spend their time online? When you know the answer to this question, you can start creating helpful, engaging information with high-quality content. You know Google search is the 800lb gorilla in the room, but that’s not enough. You should set your sights on:
- Social media
- Facebook groups
- Facebook ads
- Google Business Profile
- Google ads, local service ads
- Online review sites
- Industry publication sites
Your goal is to find opportunities that increase your online visibility.
Build a Solid Platform
Hopefully, you’ve already started building a solid platform or “home base” with your website. It’s your hub where visitors learn more about what you offer, engage with your content and can contact you. Although you might think a social media account is all you need as a small business, every business needs a website. Social just doesn’t provide enough information. Even if you’re crushing it on social with thousands of followers, it’s a five-star website that directs leads and sales your way. There’s just no way around it. So, what makes a five-star website?
Here are some tips:
Lead Generating Website:
Using a qualified web developer, like StructureM, ensures you create a platform designed to grab the attention of visitors and feed them into your sales funnel. CMS, SEO, eCommerce and more work together to create a website that always performs at its best while always looking its best with superior design found across all your branded content.
Excellent User Experience:
User experience is a must for any website. It ensures there is a clear message telling visitors what your business is all about in hand with easy-to-use navigation that helps them find what they need. Calls-to-action direct them to the next step to provide their contact information. Critical pages include a contact page (with contact info on every page as well), an About page, and valuable content so visitors find what they need and leave satisfied.
Everyone uses the internet to help find products and services. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps search engines find you, so you rank higher in search engine results when people search for your targeted keywords. Just keep in mind SEO is a constantly changing landscape meaning it is not a set it and forget solution.
Remember, you’re not the only business trying to reach that top ranking. If you want to out-rank the competition you need to harness the power of SEO. Building a strong SEO strategy improves your website’s performance while ensuring you hit your target market.
Always Be Optimizing and Improving
As mentioned above SEO is not a set it and forget kind of thing. So, the sooner you get started, the harder your content starts to work for you. Don’t worry about perfection. Instead, focus on improving your content every day. As you become better at knowing what works and what doesn’t you continue to improve and optimize your site and content and get better at telling people what you offer. It’s a process. The moment you launch, the closer you are to reaching your goals.
Provide Consistent, Valuable Content
So, what’s this content we’re on about? Whether it’s via your website, an online community, your podcast, a YouTube channel, or via social media, you should always be looking to provide consistent, valuable content first. The content might be a blog, a podcast, videos, eBooks, social posts, etc. Whatever form your content takes, the key is it remains consistent and valuable. This is the only way you gain credibility and authority in your industry or niche.
Valuable content is what gives people a reason to follow you. It is the food that nurtures your online growth and visibility, so you need a solid content creation plan. From the online communities you are a part of or manage to social media, high-quality content opens doors and attracts followers. Content builds your online presence only if it is relevant. Ask yourself:
What type of content or knowledge can I share with my community and followers that might not be my own content, but that will still be of value to them?
Content isn’t about sales, but instead what your followers need or crave. This establishes trust because followers see you’re not just in it for yourself but want to help them. It also helps you build relationships within your industry or niche as you share their content with your audience.
Be Social and Engaging
To be “social” you need at least one or two active social profiles you regularly post and engage on. As mentioned above, consistency is key. You can’t just post, but also have to be part of the conversation to increase your following. This is how social media works. You can leverage this amazing marketing tool to gain fans and followers to develop a strong relationship with those who know, like, and trust you.
Start Building Relationships
You can’t build an online presence if people don’t know you’re there. To “be seen” you have to master the art of drawing people into your world. But how? Three things:
1. Join Online Industry Groups and Communities
Seek out online groups and communities who share the same interests or who run similar businesses as you in your industry or niche. Start building relationships with them by providing value and being an active member of that group. Don’t be discouraged as a newcomer that these people are better connected than you. Instead, focus on how they can help introduce you to others who are in your industry or niche.
2. Join Online Groups and Communities with Your Audience
Next, find a group or community of individuals who fit the description of your audience, or your avatar. Joining this type of community provides priceless insights into what your avatar’s biggest pain points are. With this knowledge, you pivot and create the exact content your avatar wants and needs.
3. Remain Present in Your Communities
Once you’re involved in the communities, commit to being present. Every single day, pop in to ask a question, answer a question and offer some feedback. In just a few weeks, you’ll make several valuable connections, while perking up the ears of members who will want to know more about you and what you do.
Remember, it’s all about adding value for others FIRST. No one wants to be the guy who enters a party handing out business cards. Instead, you want to show interest in others, be helpful, build trust and be likable to build strong relationships in the community. Once they get to recognize you, they’ll naturally become interested in what you’ve got going on, and actually want you to share your content over time.
Connect With Existing Brands for Guest Posting and Podcasting
Recognizing opportunities to interact with other brands of authority is important. These are the brands that help you build new relationships while getting your name and brand in front of their well-established audience. Approach existing brands where you’ll provide value to their audience and confirm their audience will actually be interested in what you offer via your own platform. You can add value in two ways:
- Guest posting as a blogger gets your name out there, builds relationships with other thought leaders, influencers and authorities; and shows people the value you have to offer.
- Being a guest on others’ podcast gets you in front of authoritative podcast hosts’ audiences providing a stepping stone for starting your own podcast. You’ll learn how to talk about your business, your brand, and your expertise.
When you’re in good company guesting on well-established blogs and podcasts, you can increase website traffic, gain strong backlinks, and drum up a lot of social love.
Be Patient and Build Momentum
Look, we can share strategies, tips, and steps with you all day, but until you take action and go out and try them, you’ll never know if they’ll work for YOU. Right now, your online presence has huge potential to get you and your business known.
But it takes time, and the right channels and platforms to see results. Don’t overcomplicate things. Your online strategy needs to suit your needs and fulfill your goals using platforms that align with your brand personality and that are appropriate for your business. You need to:
- Build a strong platform with a user-friendly, productive website
- Create consistent and valuable content
- Establish a presence on social media
- Build meaningful relationships in online communities and with existing authorities
These are the steps to help build momentum. You don’t have to be everywhere online, but you do have to be somewhere online.
Do you want to know how to own your online presence? Schedule a call with us today!