Gaining clients doesn’t have to end when you close for the day at five. The popularity of online shopping means you can target customers 24/7. Having an online presence enables you to build brand recognition. You can also expand your knowledge of your consumer’s habits, making it easier for you to tailor products and services to buyers’ needs. Here are some tips you should keep in mind as you develop your online presence.
Set Goals and Objectives
Before starting to build your online profile, establish your brand’s identity and how you want it to be translated online. What do you hope to achieve by having an online presence? You may want to hit sales goals or reach a certain number of subscribers. Break down your goals and ways you can accomplish them.
For example, you can plan to offer free products to those who purchase your product or service in a given period of time. Outlining your plans to achieve objectives will keep you on track and organized. Knowing your purpose will also help you create a brand image across multiple platforms that communicate your messaging.
Research the Competition
Before you begin designing your own page, analyze the competition. Take note of other sites’ design styles, functionality, and how keywords are incorporated to boost SEO. You can get a sense of how you should build your site and what steps you should take to differentiate your brand.
You should also take note of how competitors use social media to increase recognition and promote engagement. Are there creative ways you can use these tools to surpass their efforts? Identify competitors’ weaknesses in order to take advantage of areas where you can gain untapped viewers. Use tools such as SpyFu and Google Trends to pinpoint popular keywords used by your competition, as well as to identify current trends in the industry.
Focus on Your Website
After you have identified how you want your brand to be viewed, start building your website. This is your most important marketing tool, as social media and email correspondence will lead back to your landing page. Conduct a domain search to find out if the name you have in mind is available.
Try to make your domain name either your business’s name or wording that communicates what your brand offers. You want potential clients to be able to recall and revisit your site with little trouble.
As you design your site, focus on what actually matters to your users. Having a pretty site that’s confusing, unhelpful, or worst of all, slow will drive your prospects away fast than anything else. In order to be successful, you need a site that:
- Is intuitive to the majority of users and easy to navigate
- Takes less than three seconds to load (the faster, the better)
- Includes key information about you, including business hours, store address, and contact information
- Works just as well (if not better) on mobile as a desktop
- Include a search function and FAQ
Pay Attention to Search Engine Optimization
Your website won’t have very much impact if you don’t put some of your effort toward boosting your search engine optimization ranking. Use tools such as Google AdWords to determine which keywords will gain the most clicks. In addition, make sure your site is working at a high speed.
According to Kissmetrics, 40% of people leave websites that take more than three seconds to load. Consider if your use of multimedia elements and plugins are slowing down your site. Upload the latest plugins for faster speeds and either downsize images or use fewer images to maximize speed.
Develop a Mobile Application
It’s hard to look around you during the day in a public place and not find someone staring at their smartphones. With people constantly attached to their phones, making your website mobile friendly is essential. Utilize conversion tools so your site can easily work on desktops and other devices. Implement responsive web design practices which let you bypass having to run two different sites for varying platforms.
If you want to take your mobile marketing plan a step further, think about designing a mobile application. This allows for easy, quick access to your site. Use a tool such as Como to easily build your own application.
Get Creative with Social Media
After building your personal site, you’ll want to focus on gaining more online territory by branching out into social media. While you don’t need to be present on every social media platform, focus on three or four that work well for targeting your key demographic.
Post regularly and make sure content is useful to your audience while still being relevant to your business. Vary the types of content by posting articles, videos, and infographics. Make sure to interact with those who write on your sites.
As a small business, you have the advantage of forming personal relationships with customers. Carry this mentality with you to the web by striving to form bonds with visitors.
Build a Brand Voice By Blogging
Start an onsite blog to better establish your brand’s personality. This will provide you with a means to gain credibility for your business as a leader in the industry. It also gives you the opportunity to network with others in your industry. By linking to other sources, you can increase your chances of having your content published elsewhere.
Citing authority sources in your posts is also essential to have your posts rank higher in search engine results. Ask for page visitors to subscribe to your site so you can send them new posts through email.
Stick with a Consistent Image
With more than one platform to manage, the importance of consistency can easily be overlooked. Since you are bound to face fierce competition, you want site visitors to remember and recognize your business. Effectively using the same color scheme, logo and style of writing will allow others to recall and revisit your site.
If you are going for an upbeat and laid back feel, it is appropriate to write casually and create more colorful content. Just make sure to maintain the same style across all platforms. Inconsistent messaging can cause confusion and decrease the impact your message carries.
Monitor and Track Your Site
You want to emphasize what works and shift gears when you find areas for improvement. To do this, you need to monitor your brand and track your success. Using Hootsuite, you can manage all of your pages while also opting to receive alerts when others post about your brand. This can help you respond to negative feedback to prevent it from spreading.
It also provides you with the opportunity to network with those who are speaking about your brand. Track your success with Google Analytics. It will enable you to see which pages of your site are gaining the most traction. Use the attributes that work on other pages to boost the success of your website as a whole.