Just starting your online presence? Fantastic! You have the opportunity to create a successful online presence and do it correctly right from the beginning. You have a great product or service and you launched your business.
Now it is time to let the online world know you exist. Why? Because exactly 100 percent of your potential customers searching for your product or service who cannot find you or know you’re in business won’t buy from you.
It is not going to an be easy task, but secretly you hope there is some mystical method, some magical place where all you have to do is click your heels together and by magic, orders and customers are knocking at your door.
You seek advice from your friends and mentors who are screaming in your ear ‘Just get a website!’, ‘Just start tweeting’, ‘You’ll make money from a few LinkedIn posts and Facebook ads easily!’
You take a look at what your competitors are doing online and reality sets in. They have a great website and an online presence with a Landing Page, Opt-ins, Blog, Facebook Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Webinars, Podcasts, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube Channel and even a weekly newsletter to their e-mail fan base.
Take a deep breath—You are not alone.
Millions of startups are launched around the world every year and they face the same daunting task of creating an online presence that can generate online demand and quality sales leads for their products and services to offer solutions to their client’s pain points. There is hope and help!
The most important lesson we learned as entrepreneurs is the realization that acquiring a quality online presence is a marathon, not a sprint.
The largest, most successful companies in the world are continually updating and changing their websites and social media platforms, so why shouldn’t you. We also learned that the most successful launches seek help from industry experts in website development and social media.
These online specialists have great educational
- tutorial videos
that make the process easy and simple to implement. Best of all, the majority of their offerings are free. Our recommend resources will be featured in an upcoming article.
We will guide you on your journey, assuming you are a startup or small business and have a small budget to create your online presence.
Three Steps to Create an Online Presence without Limitations
Step #1 Build your website
Your company’s website is your most powerful sales and marketing tool.
Building a website is more straightforward than you might think, even if you are unfamiliar with programming languages such as Python, C++, Java, or simple HTML code. There are a number of free tools online, including Doodlekit, Weebly, Wix,and WordPress that work off a “what you see is what you get” model.
These platforms allow you to drag-and-drop design elements into ready-to-use templates and walk you through the creation process step by step. If you can afford it, you can also purchase more premium plans that enable customization beyond the standard templates.
Of course, if you have a slightly larger budget, consider contracting a developer to design the website. This is a great option if you have the budget.
Starting from Scratch …
If you’re starting from scratch and not sure what your business website should include, it is recommended that you survey your existing customers and review your competitor’s websites.
At SozialMonster.com, we used WordPress.org, which is a self-hosted website with a content management system platform.
WordPress.org ‘s free content management system is easy to install. You just need a domain name and hosting company to get started with. You have the option to use free WordPress themes or to pay a little more for a premium WordPress theme version with customer service support. If it’s relevant to your business, you can even add an online store. Using a content management system like WordPress.org allows you to easily refine and grow your business’s appearance and content over time online.
It is an increasingly mobile-first world. This means building a mobile experience that is just as user friendly as the website experience. WordPress makes the process easy by providing many widgets and module customizations for your website.
By considering mobile in your website design and development, you create more revenue opportunities for your business. The easier it is to find and buy from you, the more succesful you will be.
Choosing a Domain Name is a very important first step.
Your domain name is the “brand name” your customers will find you through search. It should be unique, catchy, simple and powerful.
Here are some domain tips;
- Make it a dot.com
- Make it shorter rather than longer (not more than 27 characters)
- If you have to divide words in your domain name, only use hashtags, not underlines.
- Make it brandable
Best case is the brand and domain name are the same.
Branding is extremely important part of your startup and online presence.
Some companies are able to secure domains that somewhat describe their product like NetFlix. These limit the potential size of your business, where others like AIrbnb, Uber, Amazon were created without describing what they offer. Their business can evolve into different products and services.
Your website’s homepage is your brick-and-mortar storefront.
It should be loaded with relevant information about your product or services. The more information that you provide on your site, the better.
Provide Reasons To Come In, Browse, And Return Frequently Until They Make A Purchase.
The real value of creating a quality website is getting potential customers.
- You want them clicking through your site and converting, whether they are joining your email list or buying your products and/or services.
- You want to create a site that ranks high because of its quality.
A quality website will also help you in your search engine optimization, which is discussed next.
Step #2 SEO optimize your website
In average, 75% of your visitors will land on your homepage first.
The search engine bots are the computer programs that Google uses to find, index, archive, and rank your website.
Make sure your homepage represents what you want to be found for online.
- Choose an overall website niche and stay focused. If your website is about student overseas vacations, don’t write about family vacations in Spain, the history of Formula One, or how to use a teapot.
- Make sure you stay on topic when you create your site’s content. Your online visitors and search engines want to understand what your product and website are all about.
- Don’t fall for these five common SEO misconceptions that could prevent that the spiders (software programs search engines send out to find content and new websites on the internet) visit and index your site. Only websites in the big search engines’ arc hives have the chance to be ranked online.
- Have a call to action on your website your visitors will be excited about. Often, a search term they are looking for can be an irresistible offer that captures their names and email addresses.
- Pages are the main pillars of every site. They showcase your expertise, knowledge, and provide relevant in-depth information about your website’s focus.
- When you create content, make sure you stay on topic. The topics you choose need to support your overall website’s niche and what you want to be recognized and ranked for.
- A blog is essential for startup and small buinesses. Blog posts are the “fresh blood” of every website. As compared to web pages, they are built in your website’s hierarchy; blog posts are seen as “equal” to each other.
- Every blog post needs to provide a unique answer to a visitor’s question. You can accomplish this through text, images, videos, and/or audio.
- Visual media becomes more and more important online. With a three-second attention span, humans skip through most of the text and subconsciously look for headings, images, colors, or shapes; everything and anything that “sticks” out.
- Visual media includes, but is not limited to:
- videos (live videos or video recordings)
- slide shows
Step #3 Secure your branded and/or keyword relevant social media platforms
Social media is an excellent way to build your brand and introduce your services and products to new customers.
Now that you created an engaging and easy-to-use website, your startup or small business will need to find ways to get the word out.
One of the most effective ways is to create a strong social media presence. There are more than 2 billion social networking users worldwide, and while you probably don’t need to reach every one of them, you do need to establish lines of communication with your market.
The First Step is to PLAN
There are over eight major platforms. Choose the ones that work best for you.
- You do not need to be on every platform.
- You can be a very successful company utilizing the three or four social platforms that work best for your product or service.
- You can start with one or two platforms and get comfortable with the process.
Here is how to simply choose the most effective social media platform for your business:
- Check and see what platforms your competitors are on.
- Assuming you know your targeted audience, check and see what platforms they are on.
- Additionally, Facebook and Twitter work very well for every type of business.
- Social platforms to consider that perform great for product-based businesses are Pinterest and Instagram.
- Service-based businesses can utilize LinkedIn and all the video-based platforms.
- Video-based social media platforms perform particularly well in the educational “How to” category and Webinars and Podcasts are great to show off your Industry expertise.
- Almost all of these platforms provide excellent tutorials to get you acclimated to their system.
- There are many experts on these platforms that provide excellent “how to” videos on YouTube.
Create Targeted and Relevant Content
Next is creating targeted content.
It is not a matter of how much or how many times you post content, rather it is the old adage “Quality over Quantity.” Your targeted customers want great content no matter what social site it is on.
Some quick tips are:
- Write for your audience, not for yourself
- Help your audience instead of selling
- Provide solutions
If you think points 2 ~ 4 look very much the same, they most certainly are.
Stress the point that provides helpful content is much appreciated by your audience, and not surprisingly, it is also the most shared content.
This leads us to your online marketing goal, which is to reach and connect with as many potential buyers as possible. Nurture them along the conversion path while building trust and equity in you, your product, and brand.
Use Visual Media
- Place photos and videos in all your social media.
- Stay away from stock photos, if you can.
- The most shareable are photos and videos of team members, customers, and infographics about your product or service.
- If you need photos to complete your website, there are services that provide an abundance of photos to choose. They are free with no attribution.
One defining characteristic of a leader is having a vision for the future, describing that future and creating excitement around its possibility so everyone works together to make it real. Your vision is what an online presence can communicate so everyone can rally around your product or service.
The first thing people do after coming into contact with you and/or your business is to check out your website and online presence.
- Make sure you have a strong, high-quality presence online.
- First impressions are everything.
With these tips under your belt, you can begin to build a successful online presence for your startup or small business.
Here’s to you building a stronger company.
Good luck from the Sozial Monster Team. We are experienced enough to solve your problem, small enough for you to know you will be a valued client.
Oh, if there’s anything I’m missing in this article, tell me! I’ll be happy to add it in.
We welcome your thoughts and suggestions on this article in the comments section.
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