What is Online Presence?
The online presence is the totality of instances where an organization or an individual can be found in the online world. Since this is an expanding universe, the definition is also flexible and expandable. Some time ago, a website was mostly all you needed. Now, a website is just a part, a starting point for all the other online channels used in communication and marketing. It is enough to select the Share option for a piece of content found online to see how many options are there. Interested in online marketing? Keep reading 🙂
What Do You Actually Need in Order to Have an Online Presence?
The answer depends on a large number of factors and should be considered for every case.
Let’s say you are a highly skilled professional that wants to build a network in order to increase he/she’s visibility on a job market.
Do you need a website in this case? Not necessarily, but a simple and sweet presentation website would surely help. It would also help having a professional blog that features pieces of content from the expertise field. How does it help with networking? Creating content for a blog is more than that: from a good blog article you can share bits and pieces on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Quora and (Instagram or Pinterest for those looking for a rich visual exposure).
It also helps you build a network that is independent on your current job, that extends over the physical borders of a city or a country. Depending on the type of job you need, you might want to extend and create a Facebook page, a Facebook group or any other type of social media that is used in the respective field and community.
Although it might not directly help in getting a new job, being easy to find by a potential employer and having some platform to feature your skills and interests will put you ahead of others. Finally, if you get tired of your employee status and want to start your own business, you will already have made the first steps towards promoting yourself online.
Self Employed People
You are a photographer, a personal trainer, a consultant of some kind, a beautician, a plumber, an art teacher (music, acting, painting…): this means you have a niche of customers for your services.
What do you need to build as online presence in this case? It all depends where you can find your clients and on their profile. For sure a large number of them are looking for the services you are offering online. Using more channels means you reach more of them.
One other aspect to consider is that people tend to search for recommendations when choosing a certain service provider. An easy strategy would be to target that channels that allow you to display reviews you received:
- listing your business on Google: don’t underestimate the power of the stars below your business name
- Google maps location: you can be found by people looking for a service in their proximity
- Facebook page: you can get your clients to rate you – a good rating will bring a clear advantage
- business directories: every trade has it’s specific place to list their members; usually they come with verified clients reviews
- a website that can feature testimonials and clients or collaborators lists
Small or Medium Enterprise
If you are an enterprise, your customers will expect to find you online. In this case, I would say a website is an essential presence. Beside it’s online marketing value, it can be used as an efficient tool in making your business run smother. You can add booking modules, specific contact forms, payment options for events or promotions you have in place. You can add membership options for video or written content, or you can feature your work without the restrictions of other channels. In the case you are selling physical goods, you can have a store that never closes.
What else? It definitely depends on how much energy and resources you have. It is clear that more channels to attract customers is better. Your online presence will gain from each new platform you promote your professional blog or use for networking. It is also important to find the channels that are appropriate for your line of activity: visual artists will have different places to promote themselves from plumbers for example.
Generally speaking, you should consider having an online presence on the most used networking / social platforms.
List of most used social platforms:
- Google Ads*
* specialized help is recommended.
Online Presence and Online Marketing
These two terms, although they come as a pair, they are not equivalent. You need online presence to be able to perform online marketing actions, but having an online presence doesn’t mean you are doing online marketing. I can help you choose the right type of online presence, see here how.
Online marketing and online PR have a lot in common with the classical marketing and PR, but do need they own plethora of specialists. You can read more on the subject here: https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-eu/blog/what-is-digital-pr
In online marketing you can also have campaigns, as in the classical marketing, but is also a continuous work to raise your presence and increase your value. Where should you promote your business? Read below a list of most used channels and find what are the ones that would work for your current business setup.
List of Online Marketing Channels
- Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Word of mouth (in the online context) marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Online advertising
- Partnership marketing
Let’s take them one by one:
SEO and Content Marketing
They are many times presented as different things, but they are overlapping as SEO needs content marketing. SEO should be regarded as technical optimization of the content for the benefit of the users in terms of serving them with the content in an easy to search, select and read form. You cannot do this without great content.
Users are looking for well written texts, relevant and fresh information: this is content marketing. Making sure your content is present in the search engine results list is SEO’s job.
I am sure you have your inboxes full with commercial emails: companies that you bought from, websites that you agreed to receive newsletters from, companies that you never heard from. This is all part of email marketing.
You can use targeted emails to inform about news about your business, offer resources that your potential customers might find useful, ask for support on social media channels and so on. One of the most important things in my opinion is to make sure you don’t cross the line between sending marketing emails and spamming the customers.
Social Media Marketing
You can use the social networking to promote your products or services, increase the visibility of your website or your professional blog, trigger new sales. The activities to do these can be: sharing content as text, images, videos, podcasts, paid campaigns, creation of communities that engage in topics related to your products or services.
Word of Mouth (in the Social Marketing Context)
One the most powerful marketing channels are your happy customers. It is easier to connect them with your potential customers using social networking platforms. Ask for recommendations or make it easy for them to say positive things by involving in discussions that are tangent to your activities. It is really helpful to create the expert reputation and be recommended as a person that knows everything on some subjects.
This is the expert step in the social marketing and word of mouth: you get people that are an authority in your domain to endorse you. Having a great product or service surely helps. You can pay, hire, ask a favor from someone that has a high visibility in the targeted social media channel and they will say good things about you to a big number of people. This is the online marketing equivalent of the classical “celebrity endorsement”.
In the classical marketing you talk about written ads, TV or radio ads. In the online marketing the list of ads available is quite long and needs some technical knowledge.
Curious what are they? Here is small list: Google Search Ads, AdWords Ads, PPC Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Tumblr Ads, Banner Ads, Google Display Ads, Reddit Ads, Mobile Ads, In-Game Ads, AdMob Ads, Email Ads, Gmail Ads, Video Ads, YouTube Ads, Pinterest Ads, Instagram Ads, Vine Ads. You can find details about each of them if you are interested and think you can benefit from some of them.
This type of online marketing refers to creating a mutually beneficial relationship with another business to promote each other’s brand. This kind of relationship can be for a marketing campaign, for a special product, a promotion, an event, a research or a long term relationship that develops between complementary businesses. You can also feature each other on your professional blogs.
You might not want to search on purpose for partners, but if the situation appears it is good to know that this kind of marketing tends to be really efficient. Think about an event planner: you are more likely to work with the venue they are recommending then with an unknown one.
Final Words on Online Marketing
If you are struggling to find reasons to invest your resources in this area, there are some more things to consider:
- Everybody (clients, potential clients) expects that if you are a commercial entity of some sort you can be found on the internet.
- 2. You will exist for Google: since everybody is “Googling” everything, your business will be acknowledged by the Search Engines.
You control what your potential clients know about you. You can put in front of them your personality, your strengths, what makes you good at what you do, you can share your beliefs and opinions and make them matter. You cannot control what others are saying, but you have a tool to help you react to a possible negative feedback.
- Your competition is out there in the online environment, so you should remain competitive with them.
- Cost effective solution: it is much cheaper to get in touch with the potential customer base using online contact than classical paper advertising.
- You are never really closed: even if your office or shop hours are over, you still exist for anyone that needs your solutions or products.
Your customers already know what are your novelties from your online catalog or homepage even. They are ready to buy them at the moment they see the printed materials or the physical products
- You can make use of Omni-Channel Customer communication: your clients will appreciate the possibility to reach you in all the ways that exist. They can engage with your business at a physical location, they can find you on social media, they can reach you just by tapping something on their phones.
Do you want to start now? Send me a message and let’s talk about what you want to show your customers.