Where’s the first place you’ll go to search for an accounting tool to ease your invoicing process? Chances are you’ll most likely start with a Google search.
Your buyer journey isn’t unique. In fact, 97% of consumers use the Internet to find a business.
That’s why having an online presence, and a good one at that, is crucial today. It helps potential customers find your brand and it helps them learn more about you before eventually purchasing from you.
However, building an online presence goes beyond just having one platform that your customers can visit and learn about you. To truly grow your business and make a positive impact, you need to do the right things.
So, what does it take to get noticed on the internet?
It differs from business to business and industry to industry. A B2B business communicates differently than a B2C business. However, whatever your goal may be, it won’t mean a thing if no one can find you online.
In this article, we look at seven effective ways to build a strong online presence.
1. Start with a brand name and a logo.
Think of your brand as your baby. One of the first things you do when a baby is born is give them a name. The same principle applies to your brand. For your brand to have a robust online presence, it needs a strong identity which starts with getting the right brand name and a corresponding logo.
Everything you do from designing a website, starting a blog, building social media profiles, all starts with a name and a great logo. These two elements form the identity of your brand.
Check the following boxes when choosing a brand name:
- Keep it short and simple
- Make sure it’s easy to pronounce and spell
- Avoid creating your own words (such as Google, Yelp, etc.) unless you have a hefty marketing budget to promote it
- Choose a name that’s memorable and aligns with what you offer
- Check for trademarks and copyrights to avoid any legal battles
Try using a business name generator to find good names for your business.
Your business logo is just as important as your brand name. For example, look at this logo below and guess the name of the brand:
Created by legendary designer Paul Rand, the basic design of the IBM logo has remained unchanged since 1972.
You can’t share your business name in every form of social communication. In a small digital banner with limited space, would you rather put your business name or your business proposition? Your logo, on the other hand, represents your business visually everywhere it goes.
A well-designed professional logo communicates your professionalism and creativity. It gives a face to your brand and can be used as an incredibly powerful tool to build a strong online presence for your company.
2. Build a stunning website.
Every business needs a website. It’s almost akin to your brand’s digital home. Even if you have a thriving social media presence, you still need a well-designed, fully-functioning website to build trust among your users.
More often than not, when someone discovers you on their Instagram feed, they’ll most likely want to visit your website to learn more about you and the kind of products/services you offer. Not having a permanent web address can negatively impact your brand reputation.
There are a ton of website builders available today to help you build a top-notch site. And if you have the budget, consider hiring a web designer and web developer to do most of your website building for you. This may seem like a hefty investment now, but it’ll offer great returns in the long run.
3. Become an expert at SEO.
Despite Google’s constant algorithm updates, SEO continues to be one of the best ways to establish your online presence. It’s one of the most effective ways to show up online when people are searching for you or for products/services related to you.
SEO can be broadly divided into two categories: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO, like the name suggests, refers to what you do on your page. This involves keyword research, creating meaningful and valuable content while incorporating those keywords, being mindful of your H1s and H2s, your images, internal links, and more. Your content is optimized to match your target audience’s search queries.
With off-page SEO, you focus on the more technical side of things. For example, ensuring that your website is set up properly and all the pages are being crawled by Google. Your URL structure, load time, and redirects are all part of your off-page SEO. Other than that, distributing your content on other websites through guest posts and getting high-quality backlinks are also some strategies that are more off-page focused.
The key to succeeding with SEO is to keep your content up to date and truly provide value to your users. Google cares about its users. If you keep them happy, Google’s search results page will keep you happy.
4. Provide a ton of value.
Your business’s ultimate goal is to show up when a user searches for your product and make money by selling that product. But before you do that, you have to create value and offer a real solution to your user’s problem.
One of the best ways to provide value is to create educational content that addresses the user’s pain points and solves them. When you solve a problem, not only do you help your customers but you also improve your online presence significantly.
To get started, create a buyer persona and make a list of all the problems and questions that they might have. For example, a buyer persona could look something like:
Erin is 28 years old. She lives alone in a rented apartment. She is a copywriter in an advertising agency. Her top priorities are her career and her health. She spends her weekend doing online courses to level-up her skills. She goes for weekly yoga classes and on the weekend, she goes on long walks. She mostly buys organic whole foods and prefers to cook at home more than eating outside.
If you’re in the health industry and this is your ideal buyer persona, then what kind of questions would they have that your business can answer? Brainstorm content around those questions. How can you help Erin solve her problem? This will form the basis of your content strategy.
Another effective way to provide value is to interact with your users on forums such as Quora where they’re actively seeking advice. You could also go as a guest on some podcasts and respond to comments. Your objective should be to be an expert in the field and provide value to your users.
5. Have an active social presence.
Having an active social media presence is not a choice anymore. There are almost 3.2 billion active social media users globally, making these platforms one of the most efficient tools to reach your target audience.
Just like your users look for a website, they also look for an active social media presence. Your social media activities give a sense of your brand personality. Are you fun and quirky, or corporate and serious? It gives your users a way to form an emotional connection with you.
Social media also makes it easy for people to reach out to you and learn more about what your existing customers have to say about you. Study the demographics of each social platform and narrow down on the ones that are most relevant to you.
Then understand how your target audience interacts on each specific platform and engage in a manner that is consistent with them.
P.S: Ensure that the brand name you choose stays consistent across all your social channels to establish credibility. For example, we use @logodotcom across all of our social channels.
6. Try online advertising.
Online advertising can fast track the process of building your online presence. When someone searches for your product/service and your ad pops up in the top search result, the least it will do is introduce your brand to the user and build awareness.
Look for the top search engines such as Google and Bing and try advertising on them for a short period (1 – 3 months) to see how each ad performs. You could also consider social media platforms–Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have great advertising options that you can explore.
However, before you swipe your credit card, have a clear idea of what you want to promote. Do you want to advertise your product or an ebook that you think can bring in valuable leads? Knowing what you want to advertise will help you narrow down the right platforms and target the right audience for maximum results.
7. Build relationships.
Your network is one of your strongest tools. Develop relationships with influential people in your industry to build your online presence. For example, if you know bloggers or podcasters in your industry, reach out to them and ask if they would be willing to feature you in their content.
They could ask you to do a guest post and ask them if you can speak on their podcast. This opens you up to their audience and gives you a strong chance to establish your business in front of the right market. Forging strong relationships can go a long way in helping you build a robust online presence.
Your online presence is everything
In today’s digital age, it’s absolutely essential to have an online presence because that’s where your audience is. Irrespective of the industry you belong to, your business will end up having an online presence whether you build it consciously or your users build it for you.
It’s best to take control of how you’re perceived. Tracking and monitoring conversations around your brand and product will help you stay on top of things and ensure that you’re delivering the best customer experience. It is one of the quickest ways to build credibility with your audience as you build your online presence. But if you still have doubts, an agency can help!
Author: Richard Lau
Named 2004 “Domainer of the Year,” Richard has generated millions of dollars in revenue in the domain industry. NamesCon began as an idea in the fall of 2012 and is now part of the Godaddy family. Another recent exit (to Indeed.com), Resume.com aids millions of job seekers to build their resumes online and provides a home for their online CV for life. His newest project is Logo.com – drop by and check it out!