It goes without saying that it is now a requirement for any business that wants to be taken seriously to have an online presence. But what is that exactly? Is it purely a website? Somewhere for customers or clients to find you? There is more to it than many would assume and this list is by no means exhausted, but a good place for you to start when considering what is needed to get you going.
A Website with a message
Without a website it can be much more difficult to provide a completely tailored branding and experience. Branding is such an important part of your online, and offline experience as it is what gives you that recognition among your customers that keeps them thinking of you when it is most appropriate. Be sure to deliver a consistent message across your site to really drive home what it is you do and can provide.
Consistently used Social Media
All that is popular and real-time these days seems to happen or at least spread via social media, be it Twitter, Facebook or Google+. It’s important to not just create your profiles and then leave them abandoned. Think of the difference in seeing two restaurants beside each other on the street, one is empty whilst the other is bustling, the same impression is given by businesses that do not actively utilise the power of social media. If a strong social media presence is something you are after but do not have the time to personally manage, you can explore the option of hiring a social media manager or look at the many tools that automate the delivery of your posts.
Reach out via email
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is to think that email is a dying medium. It is still consistently the most reliable and converting way to contact your existing or potential customers. Ensure that you collect emails via signups on your website at the earliest possible stage. You may not yet have a plan for these, but when you do it is the best way to target people that are already interested in you. Be careful to not spam people that sign up to receive mail from you, or to attempt to gain emails by other less savoury means as not only does it fail to convert but it can create a very negative impression of your business.
Find where your customers are and engage with them
Don’t ever rest on your laurels and think the only way to get business is for your customers to come and find you. You can go out and find them by visiting forums, similar entities on social media and any online events within your industry. There are also tools out there which can monitor certain keywords on Google or social media sites and notify you when they are used which you can respond to in turn.
Get more eyes on your business
With your site optimised to convert your visitors into customers, it may be time to look into advertising. Before getting to that point though it is paramount to come up with a strong offering based on an acute understanding of your customer’s needs so as to avoid wasting your money. Where you advertise is heavily dependent on your business but most are able to find results on Google, Facebook (and now Instagram) and Bing.