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Every business needs a website. A website is essentially your online shopfront.
However, a website alone is not enough for developing an online presence. If you want to stand out on the web, you need to use other online platforms and use other online strategies to maximise your company’s exposure. Here are just a few different ways to build your web presence so that your online consumer base cannot escape you.
Social media can be a great platform for connecting with customers. Unlike many other online mediums, it encourages interaction with your audience – consumers can like, share and comment and you can reply back.
There are many different social media networks out there that you can take advantage of – the most notable being Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Some social media sites may benefit you more than others. For instance, an accountancy firm may not benefit much from a photo-sharing site like Instagram, while it could be the perfect platform for a tattoo artist to show off their work.
Set up a business page/channel on these platforms and invite all your friends, family and existing clients to follow you. A large following can make your company come across as popular and established – however you should resist buying followers (it’s dishonest and can be detrimental).
Instead, focus on building a following by creating engaging content. While many companies use social media primarily to keep existing customers in the loop, it can be used to attract new customers – Facebook allows you to boost posts so that they can be seen by non-followers, while Twitter and Instagram allow you to harness the power of hashtags.
You can also use social media to encourage visitors to your site (and vice versa). Social media can be a great platform for sharing content from your site, while you can use plug-ins on your site to allow visitors to easily follow you on social media.
The key to social media success is to keep it fun and not wholly promotional. People use social media in their free time as a leisure tool and don’t want to be constantly barraged by ads – post other content besides promotional content such as industry news, facts, questions, memes and polls.
On top of having a website and social media pages, it’s also valuable to establish high search engine rankings. Search engines like Google and Bing are one of the main tools that consumers use to look for businesses. It’s via search engines that you’ll likely get most of your website visitors.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process of improving your rankings. It relies on a series of tactics including keyword usage, link building and improving your site’s loading speed. It’s worth hiring an SEO company to help you implement these strategies and it can be a little complex.
You can also pay to have your site listing displayed as an advert at the top of the rankings. Google AdWords is one popular search engine advertising tool that you can use.
You can also increase your exposure online by investing in online display ads. This could include ads on websites, ads on social media, ads on videos and ads within apps.
It’s worth hiring a professional company to design an ad for you. This could be a simple static banner or a flashy video advert. This advert could link to your website when clicked on.
There are now so many platforms for displaying ads that it can be beneficial to use a demand side platform such as Voluum DSP. Such software can allow you to easily find and purchase ad space. In other cases, you may be able to use pay-per-click platforms to pay for ads.
Online reviews are another important component to consider when building an online presence. Many consumers will look up reviews to get an idea of a company’s reputation and whether they should trust them. There are a number of online review platforms including Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and TrustPilot.
Ideally, you want to encourage positive online reviews on these platforms. You can do this by asking any happy customers you work with to leave a review. By creating an account on review platforms, you can also respond to reviews if necessary.
You can also expand your online presence by getting involved in blogging and vlogging. You can set up a blog on your site as an opportunity to show off your knowledge and improve your SEO. However, you can also contribute to other people’s blogs – it could be a great opportunity to cross-promote with other companies.
Vlogging involves creating video content. This can work much like a blog – it’s a chance to show off your expertise and build extra exposure – however it could allow you to make more engaging content than a blog. Good video content needs to be well-produced, so it’s worth investing in a decent camera and microphone.
Mobile marketing has taken off in recent years. Apps are one aspect of mobile marketing that could help you to further build an online presence and generate more customers.
Apps tend to be best suited for attracting return customers – by encouraging existing customers to download your app, you can ensure that they then have a constant reminder of your company on their phone.
Customer apps can take on a variety of purposes. A few popular examples include digital loyalty card apps, delivery tracking apps and digital catalogue apps. You’ll likely need to hire an app development company to create an app for you.
Email marketing is a form of online marketing that you shouldn’t overlook. Emails could be another way of directing people to your site and building exposure.
A mailing list can be a popular way of encouraging return customers. By encouraging existing customers to join your mailing list, you can then keep them updated with future news and promotions.
You can also directly email strangers as a way of building new customers. This works a bit like cold-calling, but it’s a little less invasive than picking up the phone and you can convey more information about your company more quickly. Just be sure not to spam people with repeated emails.