In the early days of the Internet, an attractive website was all you needed to establish a memorable online presence. Fast-forward to 2020, and things couldn’t be more different: Today, people browse the Internet via multiple channels, and your web presence has to extend to all of them. There’s also a lot more competition for consumers’ attention, so businesses have to be strategic about cutting through the “noise” to leave a lasting impression.
What is an Online Presence?
Put, an online presence is a quality of being “searchable.” If you’ve built a robust online presence, your business will be easy to find, whether your customers are using a conventional search engine (like Google or Bing) or social media. Ideally, your online presence should incorporate a consistent tone and visuals to establish a strong brand identity.
8 Ways to Build Your Online Presence in 2020
The exact techniques used to establish and maintain an online presence vary somewhat between industries. Still, there are certain “best practices” that virtually any business can use to boost their reach:
1. Build an email list
There’s a reason almost 4 billion people are still using email in 2020: Email is direct, personal, simple to use, and accessible on any device (while requiring very little mobile data). Email usage is also set to grow substantially because over 90% of Gen Z (people aged 15-24) regularly send and receive emails. Email is one of the only forms of online communication that appeals equally to all age groups.
Fortunately, building an engaged email list is almost as easy as using email: Offering your customers an incentive, like access to exclusive offers and discounts, is usually all it takes to persuade them to sign up. To retain their interest, keep your newsletters exciting and informative: In addition to great deals and new products, your newsletters should serve as a portal to your business’s video and blog content.
2. Master SEO
The bad news about search engine optimization is that it changes frequently. The good news is that, by staying abreast of these changes, you can potentially gain the edge over your competition. Integrating the latest SEO tactics into your online marketing strategy will push your website higher in consumers’ search results, so they’ll see you before they see your competitors.
To master SEO, perform regular SEO audits where you reassess the keywords you’re using to make sure they’re still performing well. Keep your site up to date, both by conducting on-page content updates and by blogging at least two to three times per month. Off-site, make sure you share your published content across social media channels and try to earn high-quality backlinks. Finally, don’t forget to complete your Google My Business profile and give your customers incentives to leave positive reviews.
3. Have a social media presence
Social media is a great place to share your content. Still, its benefits don’t end there: Social media has become one of the consumers’ favourite ways to engage with brands, whether they have a question, a customer service issue, or want to pass along a favourable recommendation. Did you know, for example, that more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities? Over 80% of Instagram users alone follow at least one brand, for instance. If you don’t already have a Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram account for your business, you’re missing out.
Credit: on image
4. Make a website
The vast majority of businesses already have a website, but they don’t always know how to make their website engaging and memorable. When creating a website for your business, try to stay away from generic template sites. They might look professional and be very easy to use, but their prepackaged designs have become ubiquitous. This makes it all but impossible to create a recognizable brand image without turning to custom web design. If you aren’t sure how to create a memorable website yourself, work with a local web design firm to get the job done right – Your investment will more than pay for itself over the long run.
5. Produce content
Content – notably blog articles and videos – should form the backbone of your SEO strategy. Producing high-quality content will organically generate backlinks and new leads, especially if people start sharing (e.g., liking and retweeting) your content on social media. Creating content that is informative and entertaining will also enhance your brand image by encouraging consumers to view your business as helpful and personable.
6. Experiment with online (paid) advertising
Paid advertising is another “shortcut” option you can use to boost your online presence while you work on steadily building organic traffic. By advertising on major search engines, like Google, Bing, and Facebook, you can push your website to the top of consumers’ search engine results.
7. Show up where your audience is
Before you start posting on social media, you should do some fundamental data analysis to determine which platforms your customers are using. If 80% of your customers use Facebook every day but seldom use Twitter; for example, Facebook is where you should concentrate your marketing efforts.
To find out which social media platforms your customers prefer, try performing a necessary customer survey. You can also look at which social media services your most successful competitors, prioritize.
8. Automate your process
Image credit: Salesforce
The number one barrier to establishing a memorable online presence isn’t skill or technical savvy – it’s time. Managing multiple social media accounts, creating content, and maintaining a website while simultaneously running a successful business is challenging, and often overwhelms small teams. Wherever possible, you should use your content management system (CMS) to automate processes that don’t require a human touch, like data and payment collection. You should also outsource labour-intensive tasks, like content creation, to freelancers or content marketing firms.
If you don’t have time to build an online presence yourself, AllinBrand can help. From data analysis to web design, content writing, and more, we have the tools you need to thrive in today’s dynamic digital environment.