The internet is overflowing with potential customers. Smart businesses make sure that they have an online presence to connect with those customers. However, simply creating a website or running some Google ads will not guarantee success. Establishing a strong online presence requires taking certain strategic steps.
Establish your online presence with a website
Launching a website is the first step in establishing a strong online presence. A website can serve a wide range of purposes. It can serve as an online source for information about your business. It can sell you products or services, as many e-commerce sites do. It can entice new customers with coupons or special offers. Even if you do not do business online, a website can help to grow your business.
Even businesses that already have a strong customer base can benefit from having a solid website. A restaurant, for example, is a traditional brick-and-mortar company that depends on connecting with customers in person. However, a restaurant website can grow a restaurant’s business in many ways. It can provide promotional information for prospective diners exploring Yelp or OpenTable. It can allow customers to explore the menu before arriving at the restaurant’s physical location. It can take reservations. It can facilitate online ordering.
Restaurants also provide a great example of how an online presence helps businesses to connect with the younger generation. Remote ordering is something that can be done over the phone. However, that route provides more opportunities for mistakes to be made with the order. Restaurants are noisy places. The order could be misunderstood. Online ordering gives the customer more control and more confidence. There is also the perception that it takes less time to order online.
As you seek to encourage online traffic to connect with your business, your website will be the primary destination for that traffic. What the site provides for your visitors will be based on how your online presence contributes to your overall business strategy. The key to keep in mind is that establishing an online presence plays a critical role in scaling your business. It serves as your digital storefront. It is your business’s home online.
For small businesses, a strong online presence can be especially valuable. It can dramatically extend your reach and grow your customer based. Local businesses become global business when they establish a strong online presence.
Drive traffic to your website
A website without traffic is like an airport without airplanes. Regardless of how much prep work the airport workers do, no connections are made. All their work is wasted.
Businesses must find ways to drive traffic to their websites. You need eyeballs on your site. Your marketing strategy should make sure to include components that drive traffic to your website.
Print marketing is the most basic way to drive traffic to your site. Whether it involves direct mail or newspaper inserts or standing on a street corner to hand out flyers, print marketing gets information in the hands of potential customers. It is the easiest and cheapest way to spread the word about a website.
Digital marketing is another option. This can involve email marketing, social media marketing, and running ads on other websites, to name a few options. These avenues for online marketing put potential customers one click away from seeing your website.
Here’s a pro tip for those who want to refine their digital ad strategy: Your purpose will determine your placement. Google ads, for example, will typically connect with people who have more intent to buy. A specific questions, such as “How do I hire a publicist?” has brought them an ad. In that case, they are obviously in the market for a publicist. Advertising on Google will get you less prospects, but they will be prospects who are deeper in the funnel. The people who experience Facebook ads, however, will have a lower intent to buy. They are closer to the top of the funnel. Facebook ads will get more eyeballs on your ad, but they will be eyeballs that are less likely to buy. If you have a limited budget, Google ads will be the tool for connecting with more interested consumers.
Leverage PR to convert traffic to sales
Driving traffic to your site is important for sales, but it will not guarantee sales. Once you get traffic there, you need to sell them on your products and services. Public relations can help to accomplish this.
Before potential customers commit to your product or service, they may do some research. The higher the cost of your product or service, the higher the chance this will happen. The research will probably involve a Google search of your company or the product it offers.
PR is a powerful tool for growing a business’s reputation and credibility. It accomplishes this by establishing a positive media presence. This media, which can include press reports and podcasts promoting your business, is what potential customers will find when they search for your business. If they find nothing that promotes your business, they will have little reason to trust it.
PR becomes especially important as your efforts to drive traffic to your site begin to succeed. If you find it difficult to convert that traffic to sales, the problem may be your public image. At that point, PR can boost a business’s image and, consequently, boost its sales.
Scale your business with organic traffic
Organic traffic is traffic that a business does not pay to attract. Rather than coming from ads that appear with search engine results, it is driven by actual search engine results. Businesses attract this type of traffic by developing content that ranks in search engines.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) provides the best opportunity for driving organic traffic. In essence, SEO involves putting content on your website that answers questions. When someone searches for an answer to that question, the search engine brings them to the blog on your site or the media article in which you provide that answer.
An example from Otter’s blog is our post on media pitching. This is a great post that draws a lot of organic traffic for us because it provides a very detailed answer to the question of “how to write a media pitch.” We show examples of pitches. We explain what’s good, what’s bad, what works better and why, how you get more open rates, and more. It is a very useful piece of material.
It is not unusual for businesses to be scared of sharing this type of information. They believe they are giving away secrets. They think that if they give the answers, no one will hire them or purchase their products. To get past this fear, businesses need to understand that the person who acts on the information is not their target market. Rather, the information will convert those who realize they need the business to help them with implementing the tips that they share. In many cases, visitors will try to apply the guidance, fail, and then hire the company that provided it to help them. When we share helpful information through the Otter blog, our goal is to give good information and show that we’re the experts.
Increase PR to improve search engine optimization
If your goal is increasing your SEO rankings, PR is your best tool. Using your website and blog and back end search engine optimization is a long game. It is expensive. It is time consuming. It is very tricky to do right.
Media is the easy way. By using PR tactics to increase your media presence, you begin to build momentum toward increasing the credibility of your website. The higher your site’s credibility, the higher it will rank in Google’s search results. As a result, more consumers will find you, trust you, and click through.
One way to do this is by getting your company mentioned on media sites with a high domain authority (DA) ranking. DA is a measurement of how strong a site is on SEO. The stronger a site’s DA, the more credibility you can gain when it provides a backlink, or a link back to your site. Those backlinks not only drive traffic to your site, but they also boost your website in SEO rankings.
If DA and backlinks and SEO are things that you do not want to spend time figuring out, let a PR firm handle it for you. Getting meaningful, relevant media placement is what they do. Their expertise is securing media coverage that will rank in search results, boost your company’s reputation, and impress anyone who Google’s your company’s name.
Here’s one more pro tip that works for increasing your digital presence: Work to build good reviews on as many review sites as possible. Whoever your target audience is, they want to see good online reviews of your company. Start building a portfolio of good reviews on Google My Business, TrustPilot, and other sites. And makes sure they are real. Don’t buy fake reviews. Potential customers and the algorithm both see through them. Take the time to get your customers to leave reviews. Ask your colleagues to help as well. Put out a call on LinkedIn and build up a solid collection of positive reviews. They are an important part of your online presence.
Overall, one of the best ways to see business growth is increasing your online presence. A solid and consistent online presence is essential for promoting your business and connecting you with new customers. Set some goals aimed at growing your online presence, chase them down, and scale to the next level.