In todays digital world, the most common way for people to find your business is online and the internet is the new receptionist. For many people coming across your business, your online personality is the first taste they will get of who you are and what you do. If that same person comes across two equally reputable companies and one has a thriving online presence and the other doesn’t, who do you think they will choose?
It’s really important that you develop and maintain the presence of your brand online. Here are some handy tips on how to do it:
1. Make sure you have a brand identity
What is your brand colour scheme? What about your tone of voice? Are you corporate and clever or friendly and informal? Your brand identity should transcend across all of your communications, from your logo to your web copy, from your emails to your online communications. There are agencies who can help you put this together, or you can find some great guidelines online. It’s important that you have this ironed out, because it means that even if several of your employees are posting online on your behalf, everything sounds the same. It’s the business talking and not the individuals. That means a lot in the online world.
Get the right domain
It might sound obvious, but make sure the domain you purchase matches your brand name. If you’re promoting your business as one thing and sending people through to a completely random domain then people will feel uncertain about what you’re offering. You should also spend a bit more for .com and .co.uk urls. They cost more than .biz and .net, but there is a reason for that – it’s because people trust them more. Finding the right domain for your business can be a struggle as many of the best ones are taken. If you’re just starting a new business, it’s worth securing a domain before you settle on a business name – not the other way around.
3. Make sure you’re visible in search engines
Once you have your brand identity you need to make sure it’s out there. It is extremely important to invest some time and money in Search Engine Optimisation. You want to make sure that you’re appearing on the search engine results pages when people are looking for your services. If you have a great website and you’re showing up, you’re certain to attract new business. To do this, you need to make sure your website has content that includes the relevant keywords that people will be likely to search for when looking for a business of your kind. E.g ‘quality builders’, or ‘marketing consultant in bristol’, etc…
4. Make sure you’re visible on social media
Obviously this depends on what you do, but for most businesses it’s a good idea to have a social media presence. Unfortunately most of the social media platforms are making it increasingly difficult to attract organic likes and follows, so you may have to invest some money into boosting social media posts in order to get the traction you need. Once you’re online, develop a social media plan and stick to it. Followers like regularity and predictability. Engaging with your audience is also a great way to get noticed.
5. Use content marketing
Nobody fully understands the way the search engine algorithms work, but we do know that producing engaging content and bringing people through to your website to view it helps your rank. You should be creating new content regularly.Building a strong content strategy with regular, keyword related terms will encourage search engines to boost your website visibility. If you don’t have time or your strengths don’t lie in creativity there are agencies and freelancers out there who will do this for you.
6. Don’t just hammer people with sales
People who engage with your brand online might not be ready to invest in your services yet, but they’ll get sick of you if you are constantly asking them to. You need to be providing people with valuable online content that keeps them entertained and interested without constantly asking them if they are ready to give you their money yet.
You might feel like you’ll struggle to promote yourself several times a day on social media, especially if you only have one product or service, but take a look at Nutella on Facebook. They do a great job of keeping people engaged.
7. Collect reviews and publicise them everywhere
Since the development of the internet, businesses are now able to permanently and instantly display the reviews of other clients to their potential new customers. If you’re interested in a product that you’re unfamiliar with you’re likely to type the name of that product and ‘reviews’ into a search engine for reassurance that you’re investing in something good, so it makes sense to promote the reviews you do have as far and wide as you can. Ask your clients to give you feedback and then make sure this is visible on your website and your social media. If people find proof of the quality of your brand online then they are much more likely to buy from you.