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6 Marketing Strategies to Increase Your Online Presence

Learn how to build your brands online presence with these six easy-to-follow steps. 

Christina Bosch
Christina Bosch
5 min read
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Since starting your business, you’ve probably gotten tons of unhelpful advice, mostly in the form of jargon. “Get online! Use social media! Hashtags! Followers! Brand yourself!”

But what does that even mean? Where should you start?

Building an online presence seems like it should be easy — the Internet is vast and ads are everywhere. You have this amazing thing that everyone should know about. Now you just have to post…something…somewhere…with a hashtag…and you’ll have thousands of followers lining up to give you money! Right? 

No. Building your brand’s online presence takes time and tweaks to find out what works best for you. But the effort is worth it. As of 2020, Americans spend an average of eight hours per day on digital activities, according to eMarketer. Here are some steps you can take to make your business easy to find online and raise audience awareness.

1. Online Presence 101: Your Website

Start with a basic website. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be well-made, up-to-date, and versatile enough that it looks great on computers, tablets, and phones. There are tons of companies out there that will help you set up a site for free or cheap. 

This is your home base where you’ll direct your customers to help find you online or in real life. Every good website needs these basic components: Information about you, your product(s), and how customers can contact you to buy your product(s). That’s it!

From there you can add all sorts of extras—photos, videos, blogs, events, social media streams, and much more. You can start email marketing campaigns and newsletters to keep your customers in the loop. But you can’t increase your online presence until you establish one.

2. Buy Strategic Ads

The next way to expand your online presence is to pay someone to spread the word. This doesn’t have to break the bank, however. Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms offer low-cost, targeted ad options and have billions of subscribers.

One way to draw in fence-sitting customers is to offer advertising discounts, like promo codes for people making their first purchases or for signing up for your email list. You can also offer limited-time deals with discount sites like Groupon. You don’t want to undercut your profits, but strategic deals can entice first-time customers to become regulars, encourage them to splurge on full-price items, and help clear out stale inventory.

3. List Yourself 

List your new website on online business directories to give yourself a leg up. Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google My Business (GMB) are great places to start. Ask people who love your product — even friends or family — to review it. Just make sure it's sincere. Fake five-star reviews are pretty easy to spot. 

 

Once you’re on the major sites, see if your industry or community has any niche ones you can be listed on. Do you have a strong in-person community presence? Ask your regulars to recommend you on NextDoor or in your city’s Subreddit. There are also directories to support Black-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses, and LGBTQ+ businesses. Some industries also have their own specific listing sites, such as ZocDoc or Healthgrades for medical professionals.

4. Divide and Conquer: Socially

Here’s where those hashtags come into play: Learn to effectively use social media. But first, it’s important to know what social media is and what it’s not. 

What it is: A way to interact directly with your customers. 

What it’s not: An advertisement (unless you’re specifically buying ads). 

You might have heard that you need to be constantly generating content to keep people’s attention (and linking via hashtags). This is partially true — you’re trying to establish relationships, after all. But it’s not just about putting out content; it’s about choosing the right platform(s) so the right people interact with you 

Each platform has its own pros and cons, and a lot of it depends on how your target audience is using social media. According to Pew Research, 72% of U.S. adults used social media in 2021, but how they used it varied. Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have exploded among younger users (71%, 65%, and 48%, respectively, in the 18-29 age group). Facebook still dominates the landscape with the most users (69% of all adults), so you should have a presence there no matter what.

Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to target them all. You can’t be all things to all people, and it will be confusing and exhausting to try.

5. Balance Your Talents

You can’t base every choice on your audience. Ask yourself: What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What does your time look like? 

Your answers are the key to building a sustainable social media strategy. If you hate being on camera and have two left feet, maybe don’t try the latest TikTok dance craze. Do you love taking photos? Try Instagram. Making pithy comments on the fly? Twitter. Telling a good story?  YouTube or a podcast. 

If you join a platform just because it’s currently buzzworthy but hate using it, you’ll waste your energy. If you’re having fun, though, your followers will too. The goal isn’t getting tons of followers; it’s to create content that people want to follow.

The main things to remember about social media, no matter how algorithms change:

  • Be yourself! This tried-and-true dating advice still works. If you have fun and tap into your talents, you’ll attract the types of customers you want.
  • Be social! Build relationships. When people comment, try to respond. When people follow you, follow back. When they tell you there’s a problem, show that you’re working to solve it (and then actually do it!). Think of them less as your followers and more as your partners: you’re there for each other.
  • Be timely! Commit to posting at least once a week, even if you have to schedule posts in advance. 
  • Be accountable! If you mess up, own it and try to make it better. Don’t get angry, say you were hacked, or cover it up: that’s a perfect way to make it even worse.

6. Mobilize Your Network

No matter what, word-of-mouth is still the best advertising. According to Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising survey, 89% of adults trust personal referrals. When people love your product, they want others to know about it. Incentivize them with referral programs. These will give a discount — say, $10 off — to both the person referred and the person doing the referring. 

Another way to be recognized is to apply for recognition. Local publications and professional associations give out business awards every year. The secret is that you have to apply for them or ask your supporters to nominate you. It can be a fun way to engage your supporters, gain some recognition for your work, and provide prospective customers with assurance that your business is, indeed, superior.

Finally, attend industry networking events. Professional associations, conferences, and neighborhood small business meetups are all ways to strengthen your ties to the community, exchange ideas, and, perhaps, form some new industry partnerships.

If this sounds exhausting, we’re here to help. GoSite can streamline a lot of these functions, from helping you create a stunning website and setting up your e-commerce, to pulling your social media activities under one umbrella — and so much more! 

Learn how GoSite can help your business grow by Starting a Free Trial today!

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