Online Marketing Challenge: 10 Ways Your Business Can Improve Its Online Presence

The world has changed. The way we communicate has changed. And, the way businesses interact with customers has changed. Today, more people are researching products and services online than they are in person. Which raises the question: “How can my business be found online?” This is the challenge that the Online Marketing CHallenge sets out to solve.

What if I told you there was a way to significantly improve your businesses’ online presence without having to spend a lot of money? While there are plenty of tools that can be utilized to create a better-looking website, there are several that can help with optimizing your content for online discovery.

The good news is that you can take advantage of these tools to grow your business. Better yet, you can do all of this without even having to touch your keyboard. Let’s take a look.

1. Develop a Strategy

This is the most important step to take before anything else. You need to sit down and create a strategy about how you intend to use social media to grow your business. Start by taking inventory of your current social media channels (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).

In addition to this, you should consider:

  • The demographics you are targeting
  • What you will measure (i.e., growth, engagement, or conversions)
  • The problems you are trying to solve (i.e., engagement, or sales)

Once you have taken inventory of your current social media channels and you have laid out your strategy, it’s time to move on to the next step.

2. Develop a Marketing Plan

You are not Superman. You cannot go into business and decide to change the world. You need to start by trying to solve your local market’s problems. In other words, you need to lay out a strategy to target the right audience.

This is a difficult task, but it’s an essential one. You cannot just ‘go viral’ and then decide that you will do business with all of the people who are now your customers. That would be both arrogant and unwise. You need to find a route to profitability that does not harm your ethics. That is what the marketing plan is for.

You should consider:

  • The target audience you will attract
  • How you will acquire customers (i.e., paid search, organic search, or social media)
  • The pricing plan
  • Keywords (i.e., what people are searching for)

The last thing you want to do is start a business that you cannot sustain. You need to take the time to find the right balance between being profitable and being ethical.

3. Measure Marketing Success

This is the step where you establish concrete metrics to determine whether or not your marketing efforts have been successful. This step is very similar to the first step. You need to sit down and take inventory of your current situation. This involves reviewing your website’s analytics (i.e., Google Analytics), looking at your social media’s stats (i.e., Facebook), and checking the numbers coming in through paid search (i.e., Google Adwords)

It is essential that you review these numbers at least monthly. This allows you to track the growth of your marketing efforts and determine if you are on the right track or if you need to make some changes. It is also important to look at the numbers for multiple channels (i.e., organic search on Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook), so you can get a better idea of the results of your work.

4. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

This is the step where you establish the criteria that will be used to track your marketing’s success. This is a very important step, as you will be measuring your marketing’s performance using these KPIs. You need to sit down and create a list of the following:

  • The number of visitors to your website (i.e., traffic)
  • The number of leads you are generating (i.e., conversions)
  • The growth of your social media (i.e., followers, likes, and engagements)
  • The performance of your ads (i.e., cost per click or cost per lead)

These are the basic criteria you need to look at. However, you should add to this list as you see fit. For example, if you are trying to sell products to the Hispanic community, you may want to include the percentage of visitors to your site that are from the Hispanic community. Or, if you are running an eCommerce store, you may want to track the performance of your product listing versus your product pages.

5. Create Key Content

Everyone on social media has something to share. Whether or not you have a commercial venture, you have a niche topic you can discuss. Once you establish a presence on social media, the content you share will serve as free marketing. You need to create content that will assist your target audience in solving their problems. You can start by sharing blog articles, case studies, and webinars. You can also create videos to answer questions and provide useful information.

Content is everywhere. Your target audience is likely to be consuming content on any given day. Whether or not they’re aware of it, content is helping them solve their problems. Ensure that the content you create answers questions, adds value, and is useful.

6. Distribute the Content

You have content you’ve generated. That’s fantastic! You’ve proven the value of your content and the need for your product or service. Now, you need to make sure others can find this content. This is where your SEO (i.e., search engine optimization) comes into play. You need to focus on creating high-quality, valuable content that can be distributed across many platforms.

Your ideal customer is going to be conducting research online, so you need to make sure their searches turn up relevant content. When they find this content, they will either believe you can provide the solution they are looking for or they will click a link to learn more. Either way, you’ve landed on someone’s radar and now they’re aware of your product or service.

7. Measure the Results of Your Marketing Efforts

As mentioned above, you need to sit down and take inventory of your current situation. This is where you can track the success of your marketing efforts. The results of your marketing work will be reflected in the numbers you have analyzed. For example, if you are using Google Adwords and Amazon’s keyword tool, you can literally track how many clicks you are getting for your ads. This is important information to have.

If you are trying to sell a product or service, the results of your marketing will be shown in the form of increased sales. If you are using SEO to attract traffic to your site, the results will be reflected in your site’s analytics (i.e., Google Analytics). Your site’s analytics will indicate whether or not you are getting the qualified leads you need to move forward.

These are the basic steps to take when using digital marketing to grow your business. Of course, you will need to get creative and come up with ways to improve your strategy. But, keep these steps in mind and you will be able to make significant progress in building your company’s online presence.