An online presence is critical for the success of almost any business today, especially for new or smaller businesses looking to gain customers. The Internet lets those small businesses access customers and partners anywhere in the world. It creates the potential for any message to go viral, attracting the attention of influencers and potential customers everywhere.

The Internet is also a vast ocean of competing brands and messages.

How can you wade through the noise and reach the people interested in what your business has to offer?
A strong online presence can be the flare to direct potential customers to your business, allowing them to clearly see your message and what you have to offer. The following seven tips can help you make the most of your online marketing presence.

1. Make a plan. Start by clearly defining your goals, and build a plan to get there. Make your goals clear, specific and measurable. Write them down, and check your progress often.

2. Build your base. In most cases, a website is the online strategy to start with and build around. Your website is your home base, the center of your operations. All other digital strategies build on the website by directing viewers to specific pages or elements. Consumers are increasingly mobile. Make sure your website is optimized for phones and tablets. That means the site should be designed to look good and be easy to read on smaller screens. Size images appropriately so they are big enough to look good but small enough to load quickly. Make sure the website contains essential information such as how to contact you, how to get more information, how to subscribe to your blog and social media and how to buy.

3. Become an authority. You already know your business and where you are positioned competitively within your industry. Find helpful, interesting, insightful ways to share that information with your viewers. Give them information they want, and they’ll seek you out. Share this information regularly and often through social media, blogs and emails to reach your audience. Don’t forget to point everything back to your website, your base. Each social media channel has its own audience and voice. Pay attention to the tone other people use on each platform.

4. Be social. Interact with other people, websites and brands. Follow other people in your industry, and comment and share their posts. Build online relationships with partners, customers and influencers.

5. Reconnaissance. The Internet’s an open place. There’s nothing wrong with checking out the competition. Take a look at their websites and social media channels. What looks good and what doesn’t? What can you emulate, and what can you do better?

6. Digital Marketing. Build and maintain your online brand with banner advertising and social media advertising. And “be there” when prospects are searching for the products or services you sell. How are you showing up in Google and Bing? If you want a chance to earn attention, clicks and business, you’ve got to show up to the party. Paid Search and SEO are the two top tools to achieve this. Start with Paid Search. It’s the quickest, easiest way to build a presence in the search engines for searches involving your products and services. Once you’ve been running paid search for a couple months and have figured out which are your top-performing keywords, move to SEO and incorporate those keywords into your website, social accounts and via inbound links. (Looks for more info on Paid Search and SEO in our past and future blogs.)

7. Evaluation and analyze. Constantly measure your efforts. See what is working and what can be improved. One effort might work for a while, just to stall later. The Internet is fluid, constantly changing with the ebb and flow of consumers and technology. The best tool for this is Google Analytics. It measures performance of all marketing channels side-by-side so you can make intelligent decisions about where to invest marketing dollars for the highest Return On Investment.

If you’d like to learn more about growing your online marketing presence to attract and retain clients and customers, we’d love to share some insights and ideas about effective digital marketing channels within your industry. Feel free to give us a call at (203) 682-4585, shoot us an email at [email protected] or Contact Us and let us know how we can help.