Essential Components of an Online Presence Check-up

5Minute Check-up

The 5 Minute online presence check-up incorporates several influences that directly impact your online presence.

  1. SEO
  2. Social Media
  3. Content
  4. Participation
  5. CRO

According to Google, 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses.
Having a strong online presence is an essential component of your marketing strategy regardless of business size, type, or industry.

An online presence is more than just marketing to online buyers, it’s for lead development, customer service, brand reinforcement, product/service education, and reputation management.

Today a simple page with the common about us, contact, and service links in not enough.  Once you’ve begun to engage your online audience, you’ll need to portray why your product or service is the right choice in a very competitive space.

The quality of your online presence is vital for inbound marketing to attract customers even when they haven’t heard of your brand.

  1. YOUR WEBSITE

All businesses, no matter how small, should have a website. It can be extremely basic, but it should contain the fundamental information customers – both existing and potential – need. For example, one frustration I encounter far too often is restaurants that don’t have a website with a current menu, opening hours, location and contact information. I know I’m not alone in that if I can’t find these details, I’m less likely to visit the restaurant – but there’s no reason a business should lose potential customers over something that’s so easy to remedy and costs very little.

A basic website is pretty easy to set up using an application like WordPress. WordPress is a free blogging tool and content management system that gives users the option to pay a little more for the premium version. If it’s relevant to your business, you can even add an online shop – after all, in 2013, 70 percent of consumers preferred to do their retail shopping online.

If you’re not sure where to start, there’s a great guide to WordPress for small businesses on Social Media today. It’s easy to understand and runs through the factors you need to consider and steps you need to take when setting up your small business website.

If you’re starting from scratch and not sure what your website should include, survey your existing customers. Whether you send out an email asking for their input, or mention it casually while making their coffee, it’s the best way to get the insight you need – people love to be involved and share their opinions.

  1. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Once you have a website, it’s vital that it can actually be found by search engines. After all, 89 percent of consumers use search engines to research a product, service or business before making a decision.

 

About SEO:

  • What: The purpose of SEO is to make it easy for search engines to find your website and list it in their ‘organic’ (as opposed to ‘paid’) results.
  • Why: People tend to trust search engines, so websites that appear high in results pages are more likely to receive traffic.
  • How: Using search-engine friendly methods to improve your website.
  • Who: Everyone – anyone who has information that people want to find on the internet should be using SEO techniques.
  • When: All the time – SEO is an ongoing process. It’s important to monitor the information on your website and make sure it’s current and correct. Search engines also love new content, which is why starting a blog can do wonders for your SEO.
  • Where: Major search engines include Google (over 80%), Yahoo and Bing. They connect people all over the world to the content they desire, from products to services to information.

top search engines

  1.  SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media presence and active engagement dramatically improves your chances of generating revenue and building customer loyalty. It allows customers and potential customers to engage easily via a channel that plays an important role in their everyday lives.

Facebook and Twitter will serve a purpose for almost any business – each are great resources to post news, tips, photos and videos that drive 1:1 opportunity engagements.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you might find Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, FourSquare helpful. Apply strategic thought into the right social venues for your specific message. Instagram, for example, is a photo-sharing network, applying very well to businesses selling ‘visual’ products such as jewelry, food or housewares. It’s important to consider your target demographic – Instagram has around 130–150 million users, over two-thirds of which are women between the ages of 18 and 35. With Instagram, you’ll also need to keep a smartphone handy to properly access your account and engage with your audience.

Once you’ve decided which social media channels to use, get a clear idea of the kind of content you can share. The more compelling and engaging your material is, the more likely your followers will like, comment and share your posts. Engagement is key to promoting your brand – not only will it make you more appealing to existing customers, the more positive social activity that goes on, the higher the chance is that their friends will be exposed to your brand and intrigued by what you have to offer.

  1. CONTENT

With only a few moments to capture the attention of your online audience creative well thought out content is key to online marketing success.  There is methodology and a well proven physiological science to getting someone’s attention.

  • Short captive headers
  • “now” trending topic subheadings
  • Lists
  • Comments & Quotes
  • Bold Statements
  • Images & media

The average online visitor doesn’t want to read much, they have come accustomed and evolved to scan and skim online habits.  If an image is not interesting, they simply move on regardless of their need or desire for a specific product/service.  If the headline doesn’t get their attention the hours it took to create its accompanying content was wasted.

Design content for a broad audience.  A single post should be customized for its potential audience no different than providing your site content in multiple languages as an available choice to the visitor.    Online users very as much by culture as they do by location, nationality, gender, likes, and interests.   There is no one post fits all solution.   A single post marketing strategy should incorporate several target specific variations.

  1. PARTICIPATE

When was the last time you participated in online content through a 3rd party site?  The web is home to millions of news, blog, social, and business forums.  Worldometers.info indicates there are a rough estimate of over 5 million blog posts a day.   Have you submitted your company product/service to maybe just one this past week?   With about 150 million blogs and one or two new ones created every second of every day we’re fairly confident a few hundred are very specific to your target market.

Blog participation content is much easier than the numbers above make it sound.  Having about 20 to 30 pre-templated responses on hand and a strategy in place to participate in your markets top 10 to 20 blog sites can radically increase your brand’s placement.

generate more traffic

  1. CRO (CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION)

It all comes together with CRO, also known as key performance indicators(KPIs).  CRO is a method of using analytics and user feedback to improve the performance of your website that’s important to your business and often associated with acquiring new customers, registrations, downloads.  CRO increases the percentage of website visitors who experience an engaged user experience turning passive browsers into valuable engaged visitors.

The primary objective of CRO is to establish what visitors are drawn to and then consecutively looking for when they arrive to your site.  There are many variable components that make up CRO each having a unique impact on your site visitors.  Most CRO techniques invoke call-to-actions that track and weigh a visitor’s engagement and response level to your sites content and navigation.  The results of a good CRO strategy is streamline content flow by fine-tuning and/or all-together eliminating complicated or time-consuming steps from your conversion funnel.  Benefits of CRO;

  • Higher conversion rate = better ROI
  • More cost effective than finding more visitors
  • Defends against limited patience of visitors

 

Why should you care about your online presence?

You should care about the health of your online presence for a few reasons. The most important being you are likely paying for traffic to your site in one way or another.  A well planned and managed online engagement strategy costs substantially less than off-line client acquisition campaigns and reach a much larger and better qualified audience resulting in a better return on your investment(ROI).

Without a well-defined and managed online strategy the losses can be substantial both financially and through brand reputation.

Your online presence strategy is important!

  • Higher conversion rate = better ROI
  • More cost effective than any other marketing medium
  • Long term client retention
  • Greater access to and management of a larger pool of qualified leads

It’s important to understand, however, that online presence optimization is about getting more of the right kind of customers—not just blindly optimizing the header content of a given page for search engine placement. It won’t do you any good if the people you’re acquiring are the wrong fit for your business and/or the information they are receiving gives them the wrong impression. It’s important to keep the focus on optimizing to find more customers who will love your product and/or service and will engage to help you grow by spreading the word. Everything else is a waste of your time and resources.

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