The other day I was trying to find the perfect dress for a company's dinner party because I wanted comfortable, professional clothing options. When I searched for "Women's dress" on Google, I found the brand Betabrand.
Amazingly, the company dominated the top four search results. The first two results were their website, the third was their Amazon page, and the fourth was a review of their product.
Deciding I wanted to look into it further, I searched for Betabrand on Google and found their social media pages, a Wikipedia page, their website, their Amazon store, and reviews.
They were impossible to ignore online. Ultimately, I ended up making a purchase.
What is An Online Presence?
In the digital age, it is absolutely essential for your business to have an online presence. Whether it’s a website, an e-commerce platform, a social media page or a combination of all three, getting your company online will reap major benefits. Even if your company does not conduct business online, customers and potential customers are expecting to see you online. If they don’t see you there, you could be losing out on the opportunity to increase your customer base and get the word out about your business.
The term Online Presence has meant many things over the years. Years ago, setting up your website meant you had an online presence. It was good enough to have a pleasant looking homepage, smart navigation, pretty images and good content. No longer is this true. That’s not to say that all those elements of your website are not important. They are. But there are so many other things involved in the process today. The basic list looks like this:
⦁ Website design and development
⦁ Search engine optimization
⦁ Social media marketing
⦁ Web analytics
Website design and development
I’m sure you’ve heard that your website is your home base or headquarters that invites visitors in and directs them to their destination. Your website is the place that needs your initial, constant and primary attention. When visitors get to your website they expect to recognize where they are and that it is the place they intended to visit. This can easily be done by ensuring that your logo is placed at the top of the page and the images and content represent your company’s products and/or services, personality and characteristics. These elements are communicating your brand. Although branding sounds like something only large corporation does, it is really something you probably do naturally if you are in business. You choose a name, a logo, specific images and content that represents the essence of your company. After you have established the look & feel of your website you then can focus on the other various elements that make your online presence complete.
Search engine optimization
In order for your website to be found by search engines, it needs to be optimized. The Free Dictionary description of optimize is: to make as perfect or effective as possible. Optimization involves using a keyword that best describes your business, products and services. These keywords are what potential visitors will type into a search engine to get the results they are looking for. To be picked up by search engines it is important to optimize your pages, images and content.
Blogging is a great way to talk about what your company is doing and how that will help your existing and potential customers. Blogging adds interactivity and authenticity to your website. It also encourages viewers to visit your site and then, hopefully, stay on your site longer. Blogging frequently and using good SEO will also help you appear on search engines more often. It might be necessary to do a certain amount of research about your blogging subjects. This doesn’t involve weeks of research and trips to the library but if you are going to post something to the public you should know that it is accurate and full of unique facts. This is not to say that your articles all need to be 100% original, but your readers are going to want to read something new and educational.
Social media marketing
Increase your visibility by networking through social media outlets. You will need to listen to what people are saying and comment with relevant and helpful input. Just blurting out your information is not enough. You need to participate and share. Pick two or three social media outlets to start with perhaps the standard networks Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. After you create your account and check the program functionality you may want to search for friends or just choose a few anonymous people to connect with. You can also post a couple of comments about something interesting or entertaining. Then as you learn more about how social media works you can search out specific group companies or individual. Just remember that if you participate in the networks others will respond to you.
When it comes down to it, the web analytics tool of choice is Google Analytics. It is free and relatively straight forward. When installed on your website Google Analytics will generate detailed statistics about the visitors to your website. The tool will track the basic demographics of your visitors, what pages they viewed and for how long, as well as, which search engine the visitor used to search for you. After you put all the effort into building your online presence it’s really important to track the results.
Why Does Your Business Need an Online Presence?
⦁ Make it Easier to Build Relationships with Customers and Potential Customers
⦁ Make it Easier for Potential Customers Come to You
⦁ Make it Easier to Market Your Brand
⦁ Make it Easier to Showcase Your Products and Services
Having a complete and effective online presence is extremely important for online and brick & mortar businesses alike. Building an online presence requires effort, but over time it will pay off with increased sales and better brand awareness in your industry.