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Words that come to mind when you’re trying to build an online presence—overwhelming, daunting, frustrating, and stressful, right? Not only is everybody competing for customer eyes and ears online, you have very little time to invest into what has become an essential task to business growth.
The good news is that you don’t have to stress out about this. Keep calm and get started.
1. Make it Utilitarian
Putting a sign next to your cash register or a little Facebook icon on your website isn’t going to cut it. Printing your website URL on your receipts won’t get you anywhere. Nobody is going to engage with you simply because you asked them to. Give them a reason to find you online.
Examples: Run a contest. Ask people to post pictures of themselves using your product. If people rely on your company for information, post it on your website or social media first. Find a reason that your customers have to find you online.
2. Limited Offers
You would think that people would be too wise to fall for the hard sell limited offer. NOPE! Customers don’t want to miss out on something that is limited. Having limited offers on the home page of your website and sending out promotions will build your customer base. There’s plenty of market research that shows that telling people not to miss out still works.
Yes, “Act now to get 50% off” still works.
3. Create Advocates
You don’t have time to build your online presence but you can put people to work to do it for you. You just need advocates. Here’s one way: Let’s say you offer a $99 service that teaches people how to cook Mexican food. (No doubt, an amazing community service.)
You could offer people a $20 discount if they post a status on social media about the class. You can even create that ad and all they have to do is hit the share button and they get a coupon code for $20 off. Pretty cool, huh?
4. Improve Your Website
Your website is a giant piece of science. Every square centimeter matters. You should craft it as meticulously as you did your product or service. Every piece of it matters. Keep these things in mind:
a. Tell your customer who you are, what you do, and how they get it. If you don’t communicate that within the first 5 seconds of them finding your site, you will lose a large portion of your sales.
b. Tell them how you will solve their problem. Why are they looking for you? Speak to their problem and tell them how you can make it better.
c. Get rid of most of the text. They aren’t reading it anyway. Every word matters. Make all of them impactful. Less is more.
d. Don’t talk about yourself. They’re more interested in themselves than they are you or your business.
When you make your online presence into something for your customer instead of something that talks about you, they’ll begin to show up.
5. Your Social Media Playbook
There are literally millions of articles about how to use social media but here are a few quick tips.
a. Not all businesses will benefit from social media but most do.
b. Pick one social media platform that matches your demographic. A teen business might use Snapchat while a business catering to those 30 and older might use Facebook.
c. You don’t need to be on every network. Pick 1 or 2.
d. Talk about your customers. Not yourself
e. Create community. Advertise sparingly.
f. If you want to advertise, pay for online advertising. It’s cheap compared to print.
g. Respond. If people start a conversation with your brand, continue it.
Related: How a teenager turned his social media presence into a business
6. E-mail Isn’t Dead
Uninformed “experts” are sounding the alarm that e-mail is dead but the facts are that it’s still the best form of online outreach. Here’s how to do it right.
a. E-mail quality content less often. Once per week or every other week is fine.
b. Target customers. Sending offers for children to singles or couples without children is annoying to them, for example. Know your customer and send e-mails that they want to receive.
b. Use imagery. Pictures and videos are essential for customer engagement.
c. Include a call to action. It might not to be to purchase something but a learn more button or some other way for them to further engage is essential.
d. E-mail lawfully. Ask their permission before adding them to a list. Know the CAN-SPAM laws.
7. Join with Another Business to Drive Online Engagement
Looking for other businesses that have the same type of consumer is a great way to build your own customer base without having to pay high marketing fees. Partnering with them on a promotion is a great way to introduce your brand to more people. Work together to come up with an outreach where you could share costs and get bigger exposure.
8. Keeps Things Current
Too many business owners build a website without any plan of how to keep it fresh. People won’t pay attention if you don’t have anything new to say. Whether you build your online presence yourself or hire somebody, have a plan for constant updating. Who will own the website and social media? The ongoing maintenance is just as important as the initial build.
Your online presence won’t just happen. You have to invest time and money into building a presence but also remember this: Your online presence will amplify the good and the bad of your business. If there are problems to fix in your business, don’t expect online to be the answer. Continue growing a great business and your online presence will make you shine.
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