Every business, regardless of size or industry, needs online exposure. In 2018, this is no longer just a theory, but a tried and true fact.
Most businesses, however, simply don’t know where to begin. Many think that just having an attractive website and listing on Google translates into an ‘online presence’, but with competitiveness rising in both markets and the online world, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Online exposure is about being visible to new potential customers, being available to existing customers and business partners, and constantly promoting your company, products or services in what is now the most used communications environment in the world.
In this article:
The hub of a healthy online presence
The hub of an online presence is a website – but one that does what it’s supposed to for a business.
While having a company website seems like a pretty straightforward deal this far into the 21st century, the vast majority of businesses that don’t happen to have a whole marketing department still seem to misunderstand the purpose and potential of having a website.
When selecting a format, type, platform, domain and even hosting for a company website, more thought should be put into things like the business’ target groups, usability, customer service and SEO than in ensuring the website looks good and has dozens of pages.
Selecting the right CMS platform and usability features for a company website are perhaps the two most important factors.
Who is the business targeting with this website? What are visitors expected to do when they land on the website or a certain page? What is the desired end result of a visitor’s time spent on the website?
If the company sells services and products to end consumers, the answers to these are obvious and the best choice would be any number of platforms and templates designed specifically for direct sales on the website.
Finding the right one, in this case, comes down to scaling cost and time invested in maintaining the website to fit the needs and projected revenue of the business.
If the business doesn’t engage in direct sales on its website, then it needs a representative online presence hub in the form of a website. This means far more than just being a pretty few pages to look at.
Depending on the niche and size of the business, the website should always contain features that target and speak to the company’s target group, calling them in through these virtuals doors to take action, contact a company representative or do something that will, ultimately, affect the bottom line of the business.
Thankfully, there is an infinite variety of templates and themes designed specifically for any kind and size of business conceivable in modern markets today. It might take some time to peruse them, but the right pick is out there somewhere.
Getting social with it
Top Social Media marketing trends:
- Continued rise of video and live streaming
- Micro-influencer marketing
- Chatbots and IM marketing
- Personalization of content
Social media has become so ubiquitous that we tend to forget the ‘social’ aspect of it all. Social media channels are far more than just advertising space and there’s no such thing as the best and worst social media networks for all types of businesses.
Essentially, social media channels should be used for direct outreach to new consumers and maintaining a constant online presence for supporting existing customers of business partners.
Instead of creating profiles and pages on every major social media platform, individual businesses should instead focus on just two or three networks that work for both their target customers and their industry.
Some light research into which target groups are active on which social platforms and what their behavior on these platforms are like should render more than enough insight to choose which channels are right for your presence.
The next step, for regular, intense and successful activity on these channels, is to find scheduling and automation apps that will enable a business to find the right balance of being always present online, time management, cost, and still appearing to be operated by humans.
Customer outreach and support
Best customer outreach channels
- Social Media Ads
- Content Marketing
- Native Advertising
- Organic Search (SEO)
While social media channels are one of the best venues to reach customers and be available to them, they are not the end all of customer outreach and sales leads.
For small and medium-sized enterprises, there’s no need to hire a top strategist or experience digital marketer, although there is a need to think strategically and set up systems for proper exposure on the web that work for a particular type of business.
From email campaigns and digital advertising to webinars and creating branded native mobile apps for your business within hours, anything is possible and readily available in 2018.
Top marketing and outreach activities in this year will remain email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing and social media advertising.
The key is to look to where your business’ target customers are already active, then to gain their attention and meet their needs on those channels.
Go down our checklist here, make the choices that are best suited for your company’s targets and goals, and you’ll be set for success in 2018.