For new or established businesses, online marketing is a huge opportunity for brand and financial growth. Learning how to improve your online presence will take your business to new heights, but it can seem daunting without the right guidance.
What Is an Online Presence?
An online presence is the representation of a business or individual entity on the internet. There is a spectrum of online presence, ranging anywhere from non-existent to strong. The stronger your business’s online presence, the more visibility and engagement you command across digital channels such as websites, social media, and email.
This six-step guide to setting up an online marketing presence will walk you through the most important aspects of growing your business online. After establishing an online presence, you can identify and focus on the channels that are most effective for your individual business.
6 Steps for Creating an Online Presence
You don’t always need an online presence consultant to get started with internet marketing. You can use this six-part plan to build a foundation, then bring a digital marketing agency in once you’re ready for the next stage of growth.
1. Set Your Online Marketing Goals
As an entrepreneur or marketing coordinator, you need to know what you’re aiming for. You probably hear buzz from your network about different methods for creating a web presence on a weekly basis. Chasing down every one of these leads will leave you exhausted, disorganized, and possibly even broke.
Entrepreneurs frequently self-identify as “doers,” which can leave you particularly susceptible to this approach. Before jumping in head first, learn how to set marketing goals that will help your business succeed in a sustainable way.
Your goal-setting process should include:
- Aligning your mission statement with your potential goals
- Setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely targets
- Building a strategy that ties in objectives that will help you reach your targets
- Measuring your results and correcting course when necessary
An example goal might be: Leverage online marketing to grow profits by 25% over the next two years. You will then need to create short term objectives that help define the immediate activities required to reach your goals.
2. Create an SEO Strategy
With an estimated 3.5 billion Google searches per day, optimizing for search is a cornerstone of building an online presence. Not to mention, 35% of searches for products start on Google. The fact is, search engine optimization (SEO) should be baked into every digital marketing strategy you build at your business.
Identify the intersection of:
- keywords that are valuable to your business
- keywords that most accurately embody what your business offers
Don’t focus all your efforts on ranking for keywords that your customers or clients don’t recognize you for (unless you’re introducing a new product or service).
You can use tools like the Google Ads Keyword Planner or SEMrush to do keyword research. These tools can help you find popular search phrases and identify how competitive you must be to rank well for them.
Creating a solid SEO strategy will be paramount for your web design (in step 3) and content marketing strategy (in step 6). Reach out to MARION today if you need help from a reputable SEO company in Houston.
3. Build Your Business Website
The next step in creating an effective web presence is building your business website. But first, why create a website when you can make a Facebook page in 1/20th of the time for free?
The simple answer is that you own your website. If Facebook decides to make a change or Instagram throttles the reach of your posts, your digital presence could be smothered. However, you can always maintain control over your business website. The best approach is to keep your core web presence on your website and use other digital channels like social media and content syndication to drive traffic back to your site.
The next important question – what makes a good business website? The two main components are:
- SEO-friendly web design
- Good user-experience (UX)
SEO Web Design
Most people naturally understand the need for a visually appealing website that makes it easy for users to navigate and find what they want. What some business owners don’t naturally intuit is the need for your website to cater to searchers and search engines. Your digital real estate cannot sit idly by – it must attract users.
You could feasibly generate all your web traffic through traditional advertising, digital advertising, referral sources and word of mouth, but why not tap into the 3.5 billion daily Google searches mentioned in step two? This SEO checklist for new websites will get you started.
For more advanced techniques, get help from an Austin SEO company like MARION today.
What about the visual appeal and user experience of your business website? Keep in mind that there are differences in UX and web design – what looks best is not always the most effective.
You’ll have to choose between creating a website using website templates vs. custom web design. Website templates are more cost-effective but will limit the creativity of your site. However, with the right amount of competitor and user research, you can still maintain an effective web presence with a DIY site.
Custom design is usually the higher quality option, but it comes with a much higher price tag. Because of the significant investment, learn how to choose a web design company before signing any contracts.
Once you find the right firm to build your site, learn how to write a graphic design brief that communicates your brand message to your designer. Learning how to brief your designer ahead of time can reduce the length and cost of your project.
For more help from an experienced Austin web design company, schedule an appointment with a MARION strategist today!
4. Leverage Social Media Marketing
Did you know that 68% of adults in the US claim to use Facebook? For a platform that is said to have more than 2 billion active users, this is a huge opportunity for your business. It’s not just Facebook ads that you need to consider – platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter all have significant users bases that can be tapped into.
Setting up a company profile on each platform that you intend to pursue is highly recommended. A social media profile can provide your users with details about your product/service offerings, hours of operation, and contact information. This initial setup of social media accounts is critical for reaching your web presence goals.
An organic social media strategy is a free way to start engaging with your audience. Start by learning how to create a content calendar for each platform, and how to curate content for social media. Once you know when and how to share content effectively, you can develop your strategy based on each platform’s results.
It’s important to note that organic reach on some of the major platforms (like Facebook) has declined over the recent years. Learn how to advertise on social media for the best return on your marketing investment. A paid social media campaign can still be a cost-effective way to reach your audience and drive real results.
Reach out to MARION for help from an experienced social media agency in Houston. We can help you leverage social to build an online presence for business success.
5. Run Effective Email Campaigns
Surely email is too old and boring to be an effective marketing channel for your business these days, right? Even today, email continues to be a SIGNIFICANT method for maintaining or creating an online presence for your business. Email marketing is said to generate $38 for every $1 spent, which makes it one of the highest performing marketing channels available.
If you struggle to believe the statistics, it’s likely because your perception of “email marketing” and an effective email marketing strategy are very different. Email is more than just sending a blanket message to your entire contact database every time you release a new product or service.
Workflows, segmentation, and (a healthy amount of) personalization are the keys to an effective email marketing campaign. For example, imagine that you manage a lawn care business in the greater Houston area and you’re trying to use email marketing in Houston to grow your client base.
One approach is to use lead generation resources to grow a qualified list of potential customers. For example, put together a free fertilization schedule available for download on your website. In order to have the schedule emailed to their inbox, a web visitor must fill out a form with their email address and basic contact information.
After signing up for and receiving your free offer, you set up a workflow in your email marketing software that emails your new contact about a related free offer 7 days later. If they sign up for both free offers, you may send them a code for 20% off their first month when they sign a 6-month contract with your lawn care business.
By offering several free resources and maintaining different email workflows, you can build a database of engagement target customers that need help with their lawn care.
Learning how to build an online presence through email marketing isn’t easy. If you need email marketing in Austin or Houston, contact the marketing strategists at MARION today.
6. Build and Execute an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
The effectiveness and necessity of content marketing is due to the evolution of marketing over the past few decades. Marketing has shifted from a business-driven activity to a consumer-driven activity.
There are very few channels where a captive audience will subject themselves to an irrelevant product or service offering. Content marketing gives businesses a way to establish their relevance and solve consumer problems.
One of the most prominent uses of content marketing is business blogging. Maintaining a blog for your business is a great way to answer user questions that are relevant to your industry and highlight how your product or service is the best solution for that question.
Helpful and relevant blog posts can be used as a driving force in your social media marketing strategy, email marketing strategy, and SEO strategy. Not only are you able to share your insightful content via social media and email, but your blogs help to attract backlinks and organic traffic. You can even extend your content marketing to third-party sites by implementing a guest blogging strategy with related organizations.
Attracting interested users to your site is great, but understand that there is a difference in demand generation and lead generation. In order to generate new business leads you must use effective calls to action to capture contact info for your potential customers. By using the right internal links and calls to action, you can turn your blogs into a revenue-generating machine.
Trust MARION for Setting Up Your Online Marketing Presence
Best practices and free advice online will help develop your understanding of online marketing. With these new insights, we hope you’ve got a better idea of how to choose a marketing agency that will help you meet your goals.
For the best results, contact MARION today. One of our marketing strategists will identify opportunities for improving your business web presence and growing your brand!