Why is online presence important?
Ensuring that you have a strong online presence plays a large role in the success of your business. With 81% of people searching online for products and services, you don’t want to be missing out on gaining potential customers. Whether you’re a local Sydney business or operating on a national level, implementing strategies for building your online presence is key to reaching the goals that you’ve set for your organisation.
Regarding digital marketing and building your online presence for your small business, it can be overwhelming and confusing for many owners. Many small business owners miss out on the enormous opportunity to establish and expand their brand’s online presence through easy-to-use digital marketing tools.
We have put together a summary of digital marketing tools and strategies you need to start building and maintaining your small business’s online presence.
Digital Marketing Tools
1. Website Creation
Creating a website is the beginning of your brand’s online presence. Having a professionally designed site goes a long way in digital marketing. A high-quality website attracts new and potential customers to visit your site. Your website is your brand’s online portfolio; you can showcase your products and services, your location and how users can contact you for further advice or assistance.
Not only does having a website establish a credible reputation for your brand; but you can redirect your advertisements back to your website. This allows users to be directed to the most relevant part of the site, be it the contact page or the product pages
Your website is controlled by you. You choose what to put on it (with professional guidance). It is the most incredible online tool for small business owners trying to establish their brand presence in saturated market niches. Websites create organic growth by increasing a businesses digital visibility and brand awareness.
The most popular website creation tool is WordPress. Most successful brands begin by using website creation tools as a first step towards building an online presence.
2. Social Media and Self-Promotion
Self-promoting is a crucial part of building your small business’s digital presence. The best tool to start sharing information about your brand and what it offers is Social Media. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are free tools. Every small business should leverage social media to talk about their business and its products and services. The best thing is that none of these accounts needs registration costs or sign-up fees!
Not only do social media platforms increase traffic and generate leads to your website, but they also help small businesses to develop brand presence, awareness, and a community.
3. Brand Blogs
An effective way of attracting users to your site is through blogging. Creating relevant blogs is a great way to show users that your brand is credible and knowledgeable. Blogging is a great way of generating organic traffic through Google; high-quality and relevant blogs lead new visitors to your website (without spending on advertising). Consistency leads to success. You should aim to post a minimum of one blog per week to generate traffic and leads.
4. Lead Forms
When we’re talking about information collection, we’re talking about converting traffic to potential leads. These are users who have the highest potential of buying your products or services. Generating leads and collecting information about potential customers is an essential step towards generating profits.
You can empower your website with lead forms such as website landing pages, pop-up widgets, new user sign-up forms and adding a call to action on your social content which leads visitors to a lead form. Through collecting a user’s information such as name and email; you can send them offers, newsletters and retarget them for future promotions and launches.
5. Email Marketing
Another useful digital marketing tool is email marketing. The best part about this digital marketing tool is that it’s free. Email Marketing allows you to send newsletters, promotions and discounts to potential leads through lead forms and users who’ve contacted you. If you’re interested in using email marketing as a strategy for converting leads and boosting your online presence; you should be personalising your messages.
This can be done through a customer relationship management system. A CRM system will help your email marketing efforts by collecting and categorising information about your leads and customers. This allows you to interact with a particular type of customer more effectively.
Another big tool which is central to improving your online presence is investing in digital advertisements. While we’ve mentioned some benefits of boosting your online presence through organic efforts; it takes time to build traffic. Ads help with growing traffic for small businesses looking for instant traffic and short-term results. In this case, investing in pay-per-click (PPC), paid search advertising or social media advertising will reach your target market directly and quickly.
While you focus on paid advertising, don’t forget to focus on optimising your brand’s search engine ranking through a high-quality website, good content and link-building activities with other websites.
Digital Marketing Strategies
There are multiple digital marketing strategies to introduce into your holistic marketing campaign. Digital marketing is more targeted than traditional marketing and needs to be more geared towards a businesses goals to achieve the best possible results.
Set-up Your Brand
When it comes to implementing digital marketing strategies, setting up the identity of your brand maximises your success with them. This involves creating and designing your brand logo and identity elements and website in an effective way. This assists with identifying your band, audience and tone of voice going forward.
1. Identifying your Brand
It’s highly likely that you’re selling a product or service, or at least have one in mind. While the quality of your product and service is important to sustain a business, the overall brand story assists with making sales. Being consistent with what your brand is and what it stands for; makes your brand more relatable to consumers. Brand stories and values help in promoting your business in the long run. If you begin with identifying what your brand stands for and be consistent with it; you’re in a good position to build your reputation both online and physically.
2. Designing Your Brand Logo
Your brand’s identity and story are represented through the brand logo. A thoughtfully designed logo makes people feel certain feelings such as happiness or calmness, which resonated with your brand’s position and attribute. When a consumer read your brand’s name and see the logo, they should feel connected via colour and symbolism to your brand. Brand name, logo and colour are integral elements of a brand’s structure.
Most business owners may struggle with designing a logo or establishing a quality brand identity, so hiring an agency or a freelancer to create your branding elements may be the best option for you.
3. Defining Your Target Audience
Researching and defining your target audience is the best step towards succeeding in business. There is no business without an end consumer; Products and services without well-researched end-users aren’t profitable. You can’t market your product or service online if you don’t know who’s most likely to buy it if you don’t know your target audience. For example, if you’re selling a new gaming system, who’s most likely to buy your product? What is most likely their age range? You need to define your demographic and audience before investing your money, time and energy into your business.
Coming up with questions about your products and service and your potential user’s interactions will allow you to create a buyer profile. By understanding who’s most likely to purchase your products and services, you can also find out which digital channels would work the best for your market niche.
4. Creating Your Website
Creating a business website is the beginning of your journey to establishing your online presence. Your website carries your branding, values and position forward. Most consumers make their purchase or buying decision right from the first look of a business website. A website’s design process involves – branding, user interface, user navigation and journey, buying portals, mobile responsiveness etc. All these factors together make a stunning website which will add value to your small business.
You can hire an agency to create and maintain a website for you. If your budget is low, you can design your website using free online tools but remember every small business needs a website.
5. Defining Goals and Objectives
If you attempt to implement digital marketing strategies, it is near impossible to understand how well they’re benefiting your business if you haven’t set goals and objectives for business performance. Setting end-goals is useful for a small business owner to decide what commitments are required when it comes to digital marketing efforts.
Do you want to increase your Google ranking? Do you want to increase traffic from 10 clicks a day to 40 clicks? Do you want to promote your mid-year discounts? These questions help establish digital marketing strategies and goals.
Each business and industry is different. Even though the primary goal of each business in any industry is to maximise revenue and profitability; digital marketing assists with this main goal by increasing the visibility of your business and growing website traffic and leads.
Implementing Digital Marketing Strategies
Here are four broad categories of digital marketing strategies that you can implement in your small business digital marketing plan.
Strategies For Your Blog
1. Writing High-Quality Blog Posts
If you’re thinking of creating blog posts to increase your search engine ranking; ensure you’re writing high quality, well-structured pieces. Suppose you’re writing something for the sake of creating a blog and rushing it. In that case, Google will not reward you by increasing your ranking but instead will consider your content poor quality and penalise you by decreasing your website rank.
Make sure you’re writing in an SEO friendly way, including a well-structured piece of content with headings and subheadings and relevant keywords. Your content should be relevant to search terms and targeted keywords. Writing blog posts helps organically increase your Google rankings.
2. Keyword Research
Doing keyword research is key to success regarding writing blog posts. Keywords are those search terms that your target market searches for are extremely relevant to your brand and marketing efforts. Finding relevant keyword opportunities and using them in your blog posts in the correct way will increase the quality of your pieces and the visibility of your blog on search engine rankings.
So how do you find the right keywords? SEO software such as Ahrefs or Moz allows you to research and find relevant keywords in your industry and the ones your competitors use. Keyword optimisation includes placing them in the titles tags, meta-descriptions, and heading tags along with the organic usage in your content.
3. Using Blog Posts to Build High Authority Relationships
The best way to utilise blog posts is to get high authority domains to link to your work. This means that in another blog post from a different site, they have linked to your article in some way. If you’re getting backlinks from credible sources, Google will reward you by increasing your ranking. In addition to this, those users who are reading articles which link to yours may be attracted to your article – increasing the amount of traffic on your site.
You can use blog posts to build those high authority relationships by writing guest pieces on other blogs and linking them back to yours. Also, you can use SEO software to research high authority domains and then contact them to backlink to your work in exchange for you to backlink to theirs. This strategy should only be implemented when you have a consistent flow of blog posts and have an established blog section.
4. SEO and Google Ranking
SEO relates to Search Engine Optimisation, and doing it well will increase your ranking on Google’s search engine. Google’s SEO algorithm is very complicated, but there are a few things you can do to make sure that all your content is optimised to rank higher on Google.
When a user enters a search term (keyword), Google finds the most relevant and high-quality piece of content to present to a user. You can achieve a higher rank by having relevant keywords placed in your blog, keeping the quality of your content high, decreasing your page’s loading time and maintaining consistency in posting regular blogs. To maximise your SEO efforts, you must understand what your target market searches for online and write relevant content on your blog.
5. Hiring a Content Writer
If you don’t have the time or knowledge to be consistently writing high-quality blogs; you’re not alone. Many businesses hire an in-house content writer to complete their blog writing work. However, running a small business might mean you don’t have the budget to be hiring a content writer. Instead, you may want to outsource your blog responsibilities to a digital marketing agency who will have a team of content writers who can produce regular content for you. This is cheaper than hiring an in-house content writer. Suppose you hire a credible digital marketing agency with a good reputation. In that case, you don’t have to worry about the quality of the content and the strategy behind each keyword.
Strategies For Advertising
While you focus on your content marketing efforts through blogging, remember to give special attention to detail on the type of digital advertising channel you choose for your business. Your business objectives and short-terms goals have significant roles to play in deciding the type of advertising you should be opting for.
1. Co-branded Campaigns
If there are any non-direct competitors or businesses that are in your local area or network, and with whom you share a similar target audience; an advertising strategy you can use is to run a co-branded campaign. This is where you promote one-another on your websites, blogs, emails and social media platforms. This allows their loyal customer base to learn about your brand, products, and services and lead to increased traffic and possible leads.
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Pay-Per-Click is the most common form of advertising on search engines. This includes using Google Adwords on the Google search engine to enable users searching your keywords to see your product or service ad.
With Pay-Per-Click, you pay when a user clicks on your site through the advertised link. In order to maximise your return on investment, you’ll need to maximise your conversion potential.
This requires you to optimise your landing page from both a design and functionality perspective. This will help your consumers from performing desirable actions on your website such as signing up to newsletters, adding products to cart and more relevant call-to-actions.
3. Video Marketing
A great strategy for advertising your products and services to potential customers is through video. Through having more than just an image to base an opinion on a product, a user will trust the product more and will be in a better position to make a decision on whether the product is right for them. By creating short video advertisements, you can advertise across different platforms. For example, platforms such as TikTok For Business, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram all have visually based layouts. These platforms give you the opportunity to advertise your products through videos. Investing in creating a video ad allows you to have an ad which has a multipurpose across all of your social channels and platforms.
4. Experiment With Different Platforms
Depending on your target audience and products or services, certain platforms may work better for you. For example, advertising on Google is always a safe bet for digital marketers, online stores, online services, regional trades, etc. However, if you provide a service which is area-based, such as a neighbourhood coffee store you can advertise your business through Google My Business – area based advertisements (Google Map ads).
In addition to this, if the target market for your product is a younger audience (teenagers), utilising a Gen Z dominated platform such as TikTok or Twitch would result in a better return on investment than Facebook. It’s worthwhile to experiment with different platforms when it comes to marketing to find the one which suits you and earns you the best return on your advertising spend.
5. Email Marketing
We’ve mentioned the benefits of Email Marketing for converting users who have subscribed to your newsletters and promotions. Email Marketing is a great way to tell those users who are already interested in your brand about new products. You should be careful that when it comes to Email Marketing: DO NOT SPAM your subscribers with content. It can harm the reputation of your brand. Try out platforms such as Mailchimp to effectively involve Email Marketing in your small business digital marketing plan.
6. Google My Business
Registering your business on Google My Business is beneficial, especially with local marketing. By registering your small business on Google, you appear on Google Maps. This makes your business more visible to users searching for related keywords in your area. In addition, you are able to showcase photos on Google and provide store hours and a direct contact method. Whether you have a small or large business, registering your business on Google will benefit your brand and increase your online presence.
Social Media Strategy
Social Media Marketing has become a strategic tool allowing businesses to build brand awareness and run successful online marketing campaigns. Utilising the right platforms for your products and services will see large improvements in the click-through rate, incoming traffic to your site and conversion rate.
As a small business, Social Media Marketing can benefit you in multiple ways.
1. Social Media As A Strategy
Many platforms are available for you to experiment and build your brand’s credibility. The most popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tiktok For Business, Instagram, Yelp and Pinterest. These platforms are all opportunities for you to market your products and services both directly through ad campaigns and indirectly through showcasing products and teaching users about the product or service.
Having too many social media platforms in your strategy can be overwhelming, it’s essential to analyse which platforms are right for your product and experimenting with platforms to see which has yielded the best results. All of these platforms have analytic tools which help track how your marketing campaigns have been performing.
While it may sound like a good idea to have a presence on all of the social media platforms in one go, you can run the risk of lowering the quality of your online presence. Start by experimenting with the most popular platforms for advertising and find the right one for your business. You can evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each social media platform to decide which works the best for you before investing your time and money on all platforms.
2. Customer Service
Customer Service is important for your brand’s reputation and credibility and even more so on social media. Users will usually direct message your page with questions; however, sometimes they make direct posts on your accounts page. Responding to direct messages and questions on your wall increases your credibility and sets a great example of how valuable your customers’ needs are to your brand.
For smaller businesses, it can be tough to hire a social media manager to respond to all of the questions. You can instead use automation tools to react to messages, outsource to an agency or a freelancer to manage your social media profiles for you.
Measuring your Progress
Measuring the performance of your site and advertising campaigns against your objectives and goals is the only way of understanding if your strategies are working or not. Tracking the performance of your advertising campaigns is quite simple as the platforms used to deliver those ad campaigns offer reports on how your ads have been performing.
Tracking the performance of your site is easy if you use the right tools. Free software such as Google Analytics provides you with reports on the progress of your site. This includes features such as, how many people visited your site over a given period, how long users are staying on your site, which of your sites have had the most traffic and which had the least. This data allows you to measure your performance against your goals and make changes where necessary.
If you’re looking for an all in one SEO software which can also measure the performance of your blogs, Ahrefs and Moz are perfect for you.
Benefit From Agency Advice
Digital marketing agencies specialise in growing the online presence of a brand and running successful advertising campaigns to improve the performance of content. Seeking advice on what strategies will benefit your business the most and which platforms suit your products or services the most; provides you with accurate advice from professionals. Suppose the advice from digital marketing agencies is credible and improves your business. In that case, you can refer back for services such as website maintenance, content writing and all other SEO and PPC related work.
Ensuring Site’s Responsiveness
Making a website which is accessible on all devices is an important part of maximising your online presence. With an increasing amount of users using search engines on a mobile device, Google favours those sites which are responsive on all devices by ranking them higher than those which aren’t. You can maximise your online presence by ensuring that your site is responsive on all devices. An effective tool that you can use to ensure that your site is responsive on both your site and mobile is Google Site Speed Test.
Effective Landing Pages
While constructing a landing page, remember that you are offering a free resource for users in return of their contact details; to create a lead and to convert them into customers. Building a landing page which is exciting both through content and design is essential to gain leads.
While creating an effective landing page, here are some features that you should be incorporating:
Impactful headlines: A clear and relevant headline which communicates the value of your landing page.
Quality images: When it comes to creating a landing page, you should choose an image which is relevant to your brand and target audience.
Responsive and Aesthetic: Having a responsive and well-designed landing page is very important when it comes to generating leads.
High-Quality Copywriting: The higher the quality of your writing on your page; the more traffic and leads you are likely to generate.
Removing Competing Links: Your landing page should only serve on purpose, which is converting visitors into leads. You should remove the links to other pages or unrelated pages on your site as they cause distraction.
Call To Action: Having a clear and easy to locate call-to-action on your landing page will encourage visitors to convert.
Coverage On Your Distribution Channels
If you have decided to start Digital Marketing on social media accounts, it’s important to share these accounts on your website. This allows you to convert users from your websites into followers on your social media accounts so that you can continue to share your brand story, products and posts with more followers. Having a call-to-action on all pages of your website to your social media accounts is a common method of increasing the visibility and reach of your social media accounts.
Encourage Satisfied Customer Reviews
Word of Mouth and person to person recommendations are still the strongest marketing tools that a business can utilise. Having satisfied customers who have been offered a premium service from start to finish and notable customer service are more likely to recommend your brand to their friends and families and even on social media. Prospects have a higher chance of being attracted to viewing your products and services if someone they trust is speaking highly of your brand.
If you have customers who love your brand, why not ask them to leave a review? If your satisfied customers are sharing their positive experience with your brand on Google, the reputation of your brand will improve. Google will also reward you by increasing the visibility of your business.
A well planned digital marketing plan is important for any business in any industry. Building your online presence allows you to be more visible and accessible digitally. Whether your business aims to operate locally, nationally or globally; having an online presence is key to growing your business. Understanding and implementing the tips and strategies mentioned in this article will allow you to begin building your online presence and your very own digital marketing campaigns in a more informed and innovative way.
HESK Digital is a Sydney based digital marketing agency specialised in business growth. Take your business to the next level with our customised digital marketing solutions and innovative methodology. We are specialised in SEO, Pay Per Click and Social Media Advertising, and Analytics. Our experts have over three decades of digital marketing experience in converting traffic into real sales through customised strategies.
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