It’s safe to say that owning and promoting a business in this day and age is far different than it was twenty or thirty years ago. Sure, some of the same basic marketing messages still hold, they’re just buried underneath 21st century technology and communication. A business’s ability to effectively interact and withhold an online presence will essentially determine whether they sink or swim. The fast-moving tech-savvy minds of consumers today can be as much of a blessing as it is a curse to a company’s ability to succeed.
With the World Wide Web in tow, businesses and consumers alike are able to utilize various avenues to communicate and interact. Your online brand is what meets your consumers 24 hours a day seven days a week. It is your word of mouth, referrals, reviews and reputation-the good and the bad- that are all available to the eyes of consumers. This means businesses have to utilize each of these outlets to mold and ultimately catapult brand awareness.
In order for your brand to thrive online within the highly competitive and fast paced age we live in, it must be consistently recognizable, engaging and authentic. Easy accessibility of your brand online strengthens your validity in the eyes of consumers. If you are not noticeably relevant and visible online, you might as well not be there. To establish and maintain a positive online brand presence you must capture the attention of your target audience and sagaciously interact within those spaces. With so many different online outlets, many businesses find themselves getting lost in the shuffle. Don’t be one of them.
Follow these steps to promote your business online by effectively maintaining your brand presence- after all, the proof is in the pudding.
1. Creating & Optimizing Your Website
Make yourself look pretty
Listed as the first step because this is perhaps the most important branding element for any business. Think of your website as the front door to your business; if there is no front door or if it happens to be missing a handle, it makes it quite difficult for customers to enter your business. This rings true for websites, as well. Cutting costs on your website is generally not a good idea. Don’t try to build it yourself with a template. If you aren’t an expert at graphic design and html, then find someone who is. There is a noticeable difference between a nice functioning website and one that was schlepped together by your neighbor’s son. Additionally, optimization of your site is equally as important as visual design and functionality. Make it easy for search engines to crawl your site, play by the rules! Optimizing your site architecture and content is the best thing you can do to drive traffic to your business.
If you build it… they won’t come. Let your voice be heard!
It is all too common – businesses build a show-stopping site with an awesome blog post or two, then let it sit dormant for the next ten years. It’s true that having an impressive and useful website is important. However, to hang with the big guys you have to play with them. Having a blog that is regularly updated with new relevant content enhances brand visibility and authority. It’s the platform you need to speak and connect with your target audience by offering your expert advice. Utilize this platform. Not only does blogging help you to establish a trustworthy relationship with your audience, it is doubly effective by improving your search engine rankings.
3. Social Media
Socialize-Be a part of the conversation
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn are all social media outlets that you should be using to build and promote your brand. Social media marketing is the most cost effective way to promote your business and get in front of your audience. Think about it, what other types of marketing are utterly cost-free? It’s no secret that social media has changed the game for marketers. If utilized correctly, it can cultivate customer relationships and catapult your business’s success. Social media marketing allows businesses to interact with customers 24/7 within a casual, non-invasive and welcomed space. Too often businesses fail to leverage the medium to their advantage and it quickly becomes sales pitch after sales pitch- “Like NOW to save 10%”, “At RENT-4-U you can save big!” Committing this error time and time again will cause consumers to turn a blind eye to you and, ultimately, you’ll lose their trust. Create brand awareness with a soft sell, be a part of the conversation and think like your target audience in order to be noticed. There are a few main rules to follow: be authentic, remain relevant, be persistent and consistent.
4. Video Marketing: Youtube & Vimeo
Go viral, or something like that.
The presence of YouTube and Vimeo has grown to unbelievable proportions. YouTube audiences in an interesting and entertaining way that more than 1 billion unique users visit each month and over 6 billion hours of videos are watched. These video platforms provide businesses the opportunity to connect with their reports while driving traffic to your website. Why not establish a personality and test it out? Create how-to videos, tutorials, stop-motion, and whiteboard animation videos. Answer this question: What would you want to watch? Then build a creative marketing video around that.
Use your words.
Creating and distributing quality content is a necessity in promoting your brand. It is one of the best ways to establish brand authority and credibility. In this case, quality trumps quantity. If you need to, hire a creative writer. Most of the time, its easier and more effective to hire a proficient writer and have them learn the business than it is to have current employees write about the business.
6. Use Pay Per Click
Grab their attention
Advertising online has a very large reach and continues to prove itself more and more effective. Pay per click ads, or PPC, are the paid ads that target specific audiences shown on Google and Yahoo search engines. Properly executed, PPC is extremely effective in putting your businesses services and products in front of your target audience. A well-designed and managed PPC campaign takes both time and experience. It requires dedication to keyword research, strategic bidding, search engine updates, budget planning and an understanding of the target audience. Getting help from experienced experts will help not only help you increase brand awareness, by always being in front of your audience, but it will also show a ROI.
Lastly, remember to be creative with your marketing. Test the waters; don’t be afraid to try something new, unique or daring. To gain an edge on your competitors and draw attention to your brand, you must be authentic and set yourself apart from the competition. Think like a consumer, and you’ll most certainly succeed.