You’ve just built yourself a website for your business. You’re feeling overly-confident. The phone will start ringing any moment and business will start flooding in. Wrong.
Sadly, there’s more to online marketing than simply having a site. In this digital age, the internet has become so crowded that standing out now takes a lot of signposting. You can’t just be in one place — you need to be all over the web. Here are just six (6) ways that you can adopt to increase your online presence, guaranteeing those leads and making your competitors sick of seeing your brand.
One way to dominate the web is to pay for internet ads. The most common type of internet ad is Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. You pay a certain amount of money for a certain amount of clicks. Your ad is then displayed until a certain amount of people click on it, guaranteeing interaction. The effectiveness of internet ads has been debated – just make sure that your ad is well designed and that you’re not throwing money at the first company you can find.
Social media allows you a platform that’s much like a website but more interactive. A Facebook business page and Twitter business page are recommended. Through engaging content you can then generate followers that hopefully turn into leads. Instagram meanwhile is great for sharing images of your work — good on a business to consumer level. Linked In on the other hand is a great networking tools for finding other companies to work with or new employees — better on a business to business level. A social media agency may be able to handle all this for you if you haven’t got the time to regularly post content. Such a company can also help create engaging content that will build you a formidable following (make sure to also invite all your friends, family, employees and past clients to like and follow on all platforms).
Don’t shy away from review sites such as Trip Advisor. Embracing these sites can give you more of a chance to collect and show off positive feedback, which can be used to improve your online reputation. Yes, you will get some negative reviews, but there are many ways to outweigh this negative feedback. You can encourage happy clients to say some nice words about you (there’s also nothing stopping you from encouraging friends and family from leaving reviews). Also make sure that you’re responding to negative criticism appropriately. Openly apologise and show that you’re willing to accept your faults (unless of course it truly is a troll, in which case feel free to dismiss them).
Blogging is another way of improving your online presence. Many business owners will write regular blog posts on their website that give advice to clients and aspiring entrepreneurs. This can help to improve your reputation and increase the content of your website, offering people more doors to enter your site through. You can also write guest posts on other people’s blogs. This can be a good cross-promotion strategy — you write a post on someone else’s site and they write a post on yours. Always remember to use social media to promote each post you publish. You may even be able to use a plug-in to automatically share every post you write.
No, I’m not suggested you fork out thousands for a TV ad. Thanks to video-sharing giants like YouTube, creating your own video advertisements has never been easier. There are companies that can create YouTube ads for you. Alternatively, you can do it yourself (DIY) — setup your own channel and start your own vlog, like YouTuber Casey Neistat. Like blogging, vlogging provides another platform that you can use to give advice to fellow business owners and clients. All you need is a high-quality camera and a decent microphone and you’re all set up to go. These days you can even get started with a smartphone just as long as it has a really good lens. Once the content’s created and uploaded to YouTube, be sure to share your videos across your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Online magazines, newspapers and major blogs are a little harder to break into and can often require a public relations (PR) team behind you. You’ll need an interesting story to offer the press. This could be a business success or a personal success that you can then link to your company. Local news can often be a great place to target if you’re a small business. You might be able to advertise the opening of a shop, an award you’ve won or a charity event that you organised. A PR company will be able to help you come up with a creative hook that could get journalists interested. You should also consider online radio stations and podcasts. No matter how small, they will give you that extra bit of coverage that helps to get your brand out there online.