You can have the greatest business on the block, but if you don’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach a big new audience.
Growing awareness for your business online is the key to ensuring your long-term expansion and success. Here are the four places you should start when looking to boost your reach online with a stand-out web presence.
Start with a Great Website
Any business in operation today needs to have a website. This is your digital home base, and it’s the one place you have complete control over your online image.
A great website should look fresh and modern. It should have killer copy that’s concise and effective, plus elements like easy navigation and strong calls to action that make for great user experience. But there are also a number of technical elements that websites need to have to succeed on the internet today.
All websites must be mobile-friendly. With more than half of all internet traffic globally originating on a mobile device, if your site isn’t designed to wow on a small screen, you’re missing the opportunity to win over the majority of searchers. That’s why we recommend using responsive design – a technique that allows the design elements to reconfigure themselves to look best on whatever size screen they load on.
Speed matters, too. Research shows that 53% of people will leave a mobile site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Test your site on your mobile device and desktop to see if your website loads quickly or not.
Finally, security plays an important role in building trust with consumers. Making sure your site has been converted from HTTP to its more secure sibling, HTTPS, goes a long way in making consumers feel safe doing business with your brand.
Turn to SEO
A strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is another key factor in growing awareness for your business online. And lucky for you, a lot of the elements that go into creating a technically-sound website also play a role in how search engines evaluate and display your site.
And it makes sense: At the end of the day, a search engine is a business, too. They want to provide their customers (searchers) with the best possible results to the queries they enter. And the best results are sites that look great, load quickly, and are safe and secure.
That’s why mobile-friendliness, site speed, and security are all major performance factors in SEO. So a strong website is a great place to start, but there are content-focused tactics you should implement as well.
Keywords are an important area of focus. Your business offers something unique to consumers, and you want to be discovered by those folks when they enter relevant terms into a search engine. Google Keyword Planner is a great place to begin researching the phrases that you should hone in on in your SEO strategy.
There’s also value in sending around a quick survey to your existing customers. Understanding how they discovered you in the first place can help you identify keywords that may be unique to your brand.
These keywords should then influence all of your website content, from things like website copy, blog posts, and video topics to more behind-the-scenes elements like metadata, tags, and alt text.
The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to SEO is that it never really stops. Yes, there’s a lot of legwork upfront to get your SEO strategy going, but then there’s constant upkeep to reflect changes in how search engines display sites, consumer trends, and changes in your business model.
Leverage Social Media Marketing
While it’s critical to have a site that looks great and performs well on search engines, if you think about your own online activity, you know there’s one other place your business should be if you want to succeed: social media.
Social media’s reach is massive, and it’s only growing. Every second, 11 new people join a social network; Facebook, the largest network globally, has more than two billion active users.
And while search engines are still a place people go to find businesses online, social media is increasingly becoming the spot consumers turn to. They may ask friends for personal recommendations, or they may search the social site for reviews and brand pages.
For your brand to stand out on social, it’s a good idea to combine an organic and paid approach. By establishing a page for your business, posting regularly, and engaging with your audience in real-time, you can strengthen the bond your followers have with your brand.
A paid strategy is great for reaching out to a whole new audience on social. Once you have a handle on what your best customers look like, you can create advertising that’s targeted at other social media users who are similar demographically. By directing your advertising at these prospective customers, you’re giving yourself the best shot at reaching people who will be interested in what your business does, thus boosting your ROI on your ad campaigns.
Whether you’re creating paid or organic content, social media is the place to let your brand’s personality shine through. By giving viewers a chance to peek behind the scenes and see the real people behind the business, you have an opportunity to build a meaningful, personal connection that builds trust and loyalty with your followers.
Manage Your Local Listings
For local businesses, listings management is the final critical component in a strong strategy aimed at growing awareness for your business online. Local listings directories – like Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook Pages – are often important sources of information for consumers looking for local solutions for their problems.
People check out these pages for important information, like your business’s hours, location, and phone number. Local listings sites also house reviews of your business, and since reviews play a critical role in the decision-making process, these sites are often a stop for consumers considering your business.
Not only that, but local listings sites often help you show up beyond the bounds of traditional search. Google My Business listings influence what appears on Google Maps results, and people using the Yelp or Facebook app to search for businesses bypass traditional search altogether.
The key to great listings management is making sure that your business’s information is consistent across all sites. This is easier said than done.
First, you need to do an audit of your online presence – sometimes you’re listed on sites you didn’t even know about! Then, you need to ensure that every time there’s a change in your business (new hours, a new phone number, or a new address), you update every listing. If not, you lose trustworthiness points with search engines like Google, and you risk frustrating consumers who come across the incorrect information and take it at face value.
While it may seem like all it takes is four simple areas of focus to grow awareness for your business online, there are a lot of moving parts within each individual area. If you need help keeping all those balls in the air, we’re here to help. Check out our solutions designed to help you build your online presence.