How-To Guide: 8 Steps to Create an Online Presence That Generates Leads
A strong online presence is essential for businesses to thrive in this digital age. Today that requires much more than simply having a website. Businesses need a digital strategy that includes several elements working together to create a powerful online presence. Through video and content marketing, email marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and mobile marketing, you can strengthen your web visibility.
Not only does a robust online presence mean more customers, it means more sales.
But how do you get started?
Building an online presence is not easy by any means. You need a marketing strategy that includes digital marketing tactics. Amid COVID-19, it is a tougher marketplace for many companies, but there is good news and that is, everyone is online and paying attention to different digital mediums. Many companies have been pushed forward into realms they were originally uncomfortable with yet have been finding success and opportunities by optimizing their online presence. Companies are adapting to a completely digital environment, and it’s time to get on board!
Today’s way of doing business successfully online ensures that consumers have anything and everything they want, literally at their fingertips and in real time. Your online presence is the key to success whether you manage a corporation, nonprofit organization or association, so be sure you are confident in it.
Here are 8 steps to improve your online presence:
Step 1: Develop a content marketing strategy that includes video
Content marketing removes the media from the equation and allows organizations to communicate directly to the target audience, delivering content (blogs, video blogs, case studies, infographics, etc.) that moves prospects. If you want to increase organic traffic and generate leads, you must deliver consistent, high-quality content. This type of traffic is unpaid and generated by users who find your website after using search engines. You can drive traffic by peppering keywords, along with inbound and outbound links, throughout your content.
When we think of content marketing aka storytelling, we often think of words, however; that’s not the case anymore. Videos often tell stories better than written words. In the next five years, digital storytelling will be the most important communication trend affecting public relations, according to a global communications report.
Video is a “must” for building your online presence. In fact, video marketing not only has been proven to build brand awareness and generate traffic from search engines and video sites, but on social media sites as well.
By 2022, it is estimated that 82% of all consumer internet traffic will come from online videos. As the best performing type of digital content, video is the constant that continues to hold strong. For businesses, video speeds up the sales cycle, delivering an impressive return on investment (ROI) by bringing your brand to life and capturing customers’ attention like no other medium.
Remember, the simpler and more conversational your video is the more authentic it will come across.
Typically, videos that are short—30 seconds to two minutes have the highest engagement. They should also be informative and entertaining and evoke an emotion. Of course, don’t overlook the importance of audio quality.
Step 2: Use SEO to get found
Search engine optimization is the process of making it easy for your customers to find your website at the right time—when they are searching for your products or services. Known as “organic” search engine results, SEO increases the quantity and quality of website traffic, driving more visitors to your site and potentially more business. SEO is an integral part of every digital marketing strategy. To get highly targeted traffic to your website, create an SEO content strategy as part of your overall digital marketing plan.
There are several ways to improve SEO. One approach is to regularly refresh and update content, such as existing blogs, videos and other web copy. Other strategies include performing keyword research, maintaining an active presence on social media and writing high-quality, longform content (and sharing the links on social).
Step 3: Optimize your website for mobile
Responsive website design (RWD) is more than a buzzword. It is the standard in web design and it also supports mobile marketing, which allows businesses to reach a larger audience than they would by focusing solely on desktop digital marketing processes. With a significant percentage of website traffic coming from mobile, you need to reach your customers where they are—on their phones. RWD enhances a user’s browsing experience by creating a flexible and responsive web page, optimized for any device from a desktop monitor to a smartphone. With a responsive website design, visitors to your website will have a seamless experience when viewing your site on different devices, creating a user-friendly web experience and adding exponential value to your digital presence. In fact, a RWD increases visibility on search engines, offering more SEO opportunities with Google search results.
A responsive website also improves the amount of time visitors spend on a site and boosts search engine rankings. If your website does not easily allow clients and prospects to scroll and browse for information, you are likely missing out on business and losing customers. With consumers spending more and more time on mobile devices, you need a responsive website to optimize your online presence.
Step 4: Implement an email marketing campaign
Email marketing is a cost-effective and efficient way to communicate with your audience. It has a median marketing ROI of 122%–that’s an ROI that is four times higher than any other digital marketing channel! Not to mention, billions of people are now walking around with email on their phones, which is in their pocket. In fact, mobile-opens account for 46% of all email-opens and 99% of consumers check their email at least once per day. It is a tactic that you’ll want to include as you review your marketing strategy and work to expand your online presence. If the proper strategy and timing is applied, open rates will be in your favor.
Before sending an email, think through who you are sending it to, why they are getting the email and the action you want taken. To increase response rate, you should segment your lists so that the emails are personalized for each target audience and their unique needs. When writing your subject, compose it with a “what’s in it for them” (WIIFT) focus.
Finding the right email marketing software for your business or association comes down to the strategy for how you’ll use email marketing in your overall communications plan. The most basic email marketing services hold your email list and allow you to distribute emails to the list. It’s preferable to start with simple email platforms, like Constant Contact and Mailchimp. Moving up to sequential and small marketing automations, such as AWeber and ActiveCampaign. Those programs allow better control of the email sequences and broadcast capability. For full automated emails, try Infusionsoft and Ontraport. Or there’s enterprise-level email marketing platforms, such as Salesforce, Bronto, and Campaigner.
Knowing who you are marketing to, how you’ll segment and personalize emails, your level of experience and what your budget is, will also help dictate which service you should choose.
Step 5: Establish your social media presence
Including social media in your marketing plan is one of the best ways to boost your online presence. Through social media, you can connect with your customers to build brand recognition and trust. Begin by defining your social media goals within your overall business strategy. Then set specific and measurable goals that you can strive to achieve. In order for social media to have an impact and reach your desired target audience, your brand needs to be on the right social media platforms. Each platform offers different benefits for your business. Examine your target audience to identify which channels will be most effective.
One of the most critical components of your social media marketing strategy is to build a social media content calendar that drives traffic, ensuring consistent and shareable posts are delivered to your audience. Building a following through social media takes time and consistency, but by posting regularly and reviewing the analytics, you can get smarter with your content and fine-tune your engagement tactics to move leads down the sales funnel while boosting your online presence.
Step 6: Use online advertising to reach the right people at the right time
Use online advertising to get your business in front of people who may not even know your company exists. With PPC advertising, you can reach an entirely new audience by targeting interests, buying behavior or demographics.
Google AdWords allows you to target people based on keywords, to position your business near the top of searches—in a matter of hours—even if that’s not where your website would organically show up. You can use Google AdWords to ensure your business is found by your target audience at the exact time they are searching for your products or services.
For PPC, advertisers pay each time a user clicks on one of their online ads. However, if someone is clicking on your ad that is likely worth the cost per click. PPC delivers a measurable ROI—you can see exactly how you are benefiting from the ads and make adjustments as needed in real time. The good news is that you won’t receive unexcepted bills, since you can limit your daily spend and fine-tune your budget.
PPC ads and Google AdWords significantly improve your website performance and online visibility when combined with other digital marketing tactics, such as display advertising and mobile marketing.
Step 7: Develop a mobile marketing strategy to support business goals
Mobile has revolutionized business and it is a key tactic to grow your online presence. It is a must to expand your visibility. To implement a mobile marketing strategy that helps to increase sales while creating happy customers, tie your mobile strategy to your business objectives. Your goal should be to connect with your customers on a personal level.
Mobile marketing, such as text promotions, mobile advertising, location-based promotions, app marketing and mobile coupons work by meeting your audience where they are—on their mobile phones. That means your website must be optimized for mobile so that your customers can interact with you from their phones. If they have a negative experience on your site, they likely won’t revisit it, take the desired action (purchase, subscribe, etc.) or recommend your business to others.
Step 8: Fine-tune analytics and conversion
There’s a lot to be measured online! So how do you know if the time and money you are investing in expanding your online presence is actually capturing leads? Luckily, there are plenty of tools to track and measure the value of your online presence—website, social media, ads, email marketing and blogs. Every platform is different and requires specific actions to improve ROI. But to know what you are measuring, go back to your marketing plan and review the goals you established.
Social media analytics tools, for example, will show you which tactics and strategies are working, and which aren’t. Even better, most social media platforms provide analytics so you can better focus your time, effort and budget. For your website, Google Analytics is a free and powerful tool to gauge the performance of your site. There are also tools, such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Talkwalker, which allow you dig a little deeper into the analytics for your social media presence.
For email campaigns, don’t rely solely on open rates and click-through rates to measure effectiveness. Check the bounce rate, measure web traffic from email campaigns, review the conversion rate to see how many people are clicking the links in the emails you send and track your spam complaints. Remember, you should integrate email with other platforms, such as social media, search marketing and mobile marketing to further build your online presence.
Once you complete a full audit and examine your platforms, as well as the traffic and the leads you are generating, you may need to fine-tune your strategy and tactics.
Developing a strong online presence is one of the most important investments a business can make! It makes it easier for potential customers to find you, allows you to showcase your products and services and helps build relationships with your customers.
In order to be successful with your digital marketing strategies, you first need to understand how to build your online presence and know which platforms make the most sense for your brand.
Contact us today to find out how we can start building your digital presence.