Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.
There are some businesses who thrive with a minimal online presence. However, those are becoming fewer and further between. Unless you are a well-known and established local business, then you are at the minimum going to need a website and a Facebook Business page.
This is the first question you have to ask yourself before you launch any online campaign. What are you trying to do? Do you want to get a certain level of visibility or name recognition? Do you want to build a database of leads you can follow-up on? Do you want to increase your online sales revenue? Analytics data can help you better track your progress in any one of those fields. Similarly, different methods will help you achieve different goals. For instance, if you want to build that database of leads, you might be better off using online fact-finding methods like questionnaires and surveys as opposed to search engine optimization, which is better for improving visibility.
Every industry has different norms to adhere to, as well. Successful attorney web marketing is much different from successful restaurant web marketing. The former uses valuable content such as advice and solutions to demonstrate expertise while the latter might make use of more visual marketing methods such as photography to create a sensory experience. Your marketing must play to the strengths of your business. To achieve that, it’s a good idea to use people who have worked in marketing the industry and pay attention to what methods your competitors and contemporaries are successfully using.
Too many businesses simply throw up a website and think that’s their job done. Websites and social media channels that rarely get updated look like ghost towns. Creating a blog for the business website gives you the opportunity to populate it with content that not only wins you more leads but keeps the website looking fresh and active and enhances your SEO. Naturally, the occasional rebranding and organization of the site will also be necessary.
One-way noise isn’t the best way to represent the business, either. More than marketing messages, you need positive proof. Building a community around that online presence shows a business that’s in touch with its customers and clients. Using marketing campaigns like contests to create user generated content, for instance, can offer very visual proof of an active business. Meanwhile, creating a community board for people to share advice and opinions may add to the visible activity around the business but serves as a pool of resources where the business can gather feedback and initiate internal discussions on potential developments and improvements.