You know five or six years ago. It used to be enough just to have a website for your business, and you could treat it almost like an online brochure where you, just you know, put up your five pages about your location and your about Us page and a quick just description of your your Products and and sort of just left it at that that just doesn’t work anymore.
You need to have a living breathing online presence, not just on your website, but on your social media profiles on your blog, your podcast, your review sites, your ratings and review sites, and you want all these to be interacting with your website and with each other, and So that no matter where people go online to look for you you’re, going to show up if your head hasn’t started to explode at some point during this presentation.
This is usually when it happens, and I’m going to warn you. This can be very overwhelming, but the key is just to take it one step at a time and instead of throwing up your hands and I and giving up just to pick one or two things to get started and to take action on them. When I work with people and work with businesses to develop their total online presence, I actually use a year-long action plan to take them from Ground Zero.
All the way through having a complete marketing strategy or online marketing strategy for their business. So I’ll go ahead and share you share with you what that plan looks like, so you can start to use it on your own. The first thing you want to do is set up a what we call a lessening station. In other words, you want to follow other people’s blogs. You want to follow other people’s podcasts or listen to other people’s podcasts start following people on Twitter, and these can be your competitors or customers.
Experts in your industry or all of the above. You also want to start to do some basic keyword, research, in other words, looking into what terms people use when they search for your type of business online and when you get started. That’s really. All you want to do is just set up that listening station and read and observe for a a month or two just see what everybody else is doing. What they’re saying what they’re writing about what their podcasting about step two is to set up your content platform or, what’s also known as a website.
This is going to be the hub of your online presence and what all your the various folks come out of, and the spokes being your social media profiles and the ratings and reviews sites and and all of that, if you’re, not using the wordpress content management system. Right now to manage your website, I would highly recommend taking a good long look at moving your website to WordPress and if you haven’t set up your website yet you’re just getting started with that.
That process I’d highly recommend using WordPress to do that, actually teach it entire a seminar just on WordPress. So it’s it’s not a subject that I can cover really well here, but I will say that it started out as a blogging platform, but it is growing into much much more than that. It is now a very versatile and easy-to-use system for managing a small business website. It’s also a free by the way, at least through the the software is all you have to pay for is the web hosting so take take a good long look at using WordPress for your website.
Once we’ve got your website set up. You want to continue your keyword, research and begin to integrate those keywords into your website, and this process is what we call search engine optimization. It’s also a billion-dollar industry and a subject for a workshop in and of itself, but suffice it to say that there are ways when you set up your website and produce your content, that you can do it in a way that makes your website show up in Search results when, when people are searching for terms related to your industry and that’s something that you need to be doing, the next step in the total online presence action plan is to start doing some email marketing.
This is by far the most cost-effective way for a small business to communicate with with customers and one of the most cost effective marketing tactics that a small business can use. You can literally for twenty to thirty dollars a month, send thousand root, or even tens of thousands of emails to your customers or to prospective customers. You want to make sure you’re doing this legally. There is there’s laws like that: govern email, marketing that fall into that.
The can-spam act, one of the best ways to make sure that you are complying with the law, is to use an email service provider like aweber, constant contact, MailChimp or long list of other quality email service providers. These systems will also allow you to see who’s opening. Your emails, what links they clicked on in your emails at a long list of other analytics that you can use to to tweak and improve your marketing.
These systems also allow you to set up a series of autoresponders so that when someone is added to a particular email list, they automatically get a series of emails based out over time that you only have to write once and then just get sent automatically. So it’s a great time-saving tool after you’ve gotten your email marketing started and only after you’ve gotten your email marketing started. You want to begin to use your social media platforms.
Places like facebook, twitter, linkedin and google+ are where you need to get started. These are the sort of the big four and I would also add YouTube to that. As you might be aware, YouTube is actually owned by google. It is currently the second largest search engine on the internet, so there’s more people searching for things using YouTube, then with search engines like yahoo and being combined, so it’s definitely a place where you want to be showing up once you have your profile set up on These sites and have begun to build your list of followers you want to move on to online advertising and integrate that into your action plan.
Online advertising is by far the most trackable form of advertising that a small business or any type of business can use. You can actually see things like which adds people looked at which ads they, they clicked on. Imagine for a second going to your local newspaper and asking it if you could put an ad in the paper, but only actually pay for it. When somebody read to add the newspaper would laugh in your face, this is this is impossible right, well, online advertising actually does that with pay-per-click advertising.
You don’t pay one penny. Unless somebody actually clicks on the ad and gets to your website, you can define a budget that you want to use. Every month. You can target the ads to certain geographic areas. When we get into facebook advertising, it gets even more detailed and the types of demographics. You can target with your pay-per-click ads for your paper impression ads. In fact, I’ve even heard of people writing ads for facebook that we’re so targeting that only their family members could see them.
So it’s really got some great potential for some very highly targeted and trackable advertising once you’ve tested online advertising and integrated that into your action plan. The last piece of the puzzle is mobile. Marketing. You can do things like develop a mobile app for your business that people can put on their cell phones in some industries that might be more practical than others. But if you get a little creative, I think there’s some great potential there for ways that you can use a mobile app in your business.
We can also think about mobile marketing in terms of SMS messaging or text messaging. This is a great marketing tool for businesses like restaurants or other other businesses that get their customers back in the door on a regular basis. You can use it to send out alerts. Customer service alerts about sales that are going on, or deadlines that are coming up or specials that your customers might want to know about, and people can actually sign up for these alerts if they want to get them and unlike emails, which currently for a good email Campaign well written email campaign, open rates are going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty five to forty percent.
Typically, however, with text messaging rates, the open rates for those are upwards of ninety five percent. So when you stand out a text message, you can almost guarantee that it’s going to get read so this is this: is the online present action plan and again it’s a year-long process, so don’t let it get overwhelming. Take it one step at a time pick out. One or two pieces that you’re most comfortable with and start there and then just make it a regular part of your routine that you continue to work on.
There are a lot of tools out there that you can use to make this easier and I can list dozens of them, but just to to help you get started, I’m going to list a couple here that I think you should take a look at first. One is a tool called LastPass com. A lot of these other tools from about to mention require you to set up an account and have a username and password. What LastPass does is automatically generate a password for you and every time you go back to that site.
Automatically logs you in so you don’t have to remember all these different passwords and each password is completely unique and very secure. The tool called feedly.Com is something you should use to help you set up your listening station. This is a place. You can our service. You can use to subscribe to other people’s blogs and then go to this one website and read all the blogs in one place and scan through the headlines.
So you can see what content you might want to look at some more or share with your followers again. WordPress, an excellent tool for setting up your website and managing your content. If you’re not using it right now, go ahead and investigate what that might be able to do for you over 23,000 plugins available for WordPress to add functionality to a basic WordPress site, and most of them are free. Adwords is a tool used by out online advertisers from google for managing pay-per-click advertising campaigns, but it also has a great a keyword, research tool in there that you can use to help you with your keyword, research and setting up an account with AdWords is free.
You don’t actually have to pay for advertising or pay for access to that. So that’s probably something you should put in your toolbox. Another great tool for your listening station is mentioned net. This is a service that sends you an alert every time your brand is mentioned online or other terms from your industry that that you specify so you can set up alerts for your competitors for your brand for industry keywords and every time somebody mentioned sees it on A social media site, or in a blog or anywhere online you’re, going to get an alert, so you can keep track of who’s talking about your company and what they’re saying both good and bad.
So you can go out and respond to that. A tool called outs by food calm is one that I like to help research your competitors. You can actually go in and see what keywords your competitors are using on their website. That is getting them traffic. You can see if they’re doing any online advertising or not and what keywords are targeting for that advertising. If they are so it’s a great way of doing a little spying on the competition, then last but not least, a tool called marketing greater calm as a free tool that allows you to plug in your website or your competitors websites and get a grade that actually Tells you how you’re doing right now with your online marketing it.
You can do this as many times as you want. It’s completely free and it’s going to give you some specific action steps that they recommend you take to improve your website, so a very great free tool for you to help. Give you some ideas to get started and, like I said I could go on for quite some time: you’re just listing different tools to help you with your online action plan. But I would start with those that I mentioned there again pick one or two things that you’re going to start with and just keep coming back and building on this over time.
Who is helping with your digital business footprint?