It doesn’t matter whether your company is 50 years old or 50 hours old — if you aren’t online, you might as well be starting from the same place. Digital marketing is more than just a good idea for businesses that want to become competitive. In this day and age, it’s a necessity. More than 80% of all shoppers look online before making purchases.
What does that mean for you? Simple: those of you with a robust online presence stand a much bigger chance of picking up those customers than those who do not. If you want to succeed, you need to know how to make effective use of your website, your social media accounts, and the software that lets you optimize them.
There’s a lot to cover here, so we’re going to try and give you a crash course. In this article, you’ll learn some vital information for setting up websites and maintaining an active social media presence. You’ll also learn how collecting and analyzing data can help you approach these tasks with more success.
We’ll even talk a little bit about current technology like CRMs and Chatbots so that you understand how they can help you. By the time you’ve finished reading, you should feel oriented within the landscape of digital marketing and ready to start establishing yourself.
Website Dos and Don’ts
The foundation of your online presence is most likely going to be your website, unless you’re using a third-party platform like Etsy or eBay. In most cases though, your brand will need its own page, which you’ll oversee customizing and filling with content. Be careful, though — you don’t want to literally fill your website with content because this can be distracting and disorienting to viewers. The goal of your website should be to attract visitors, engage them, and drive them towards a purchase or valuable interaction with your brand.
The best way to make your site clear and effective is to practice minimalism. Avoid large, high-resolution graphics that could slow downloading times and annoy visitors. Keep the text easy to read and relevant to your company. Knowing how much information to put on your website is one of the most important steps in making it effective.
You may also want to include certain terms on your site that help it appear more prominently in search engine rankings. The practice of choosing and integrating these terms in a site’s content is called SEO or Search Engine Optimization, and it ensures that your page will be visible to people who are looking for products or services like the ones you offer.
Top Tips for Effective Social Media Use
Your website is important, but it’s not the only place on the Internet to advertise your brand. If your site is the headquarters of your brand, then your social media accounts are like outposts. They exist on the fringes of your online dominion, closest to the hordes of customers that you want to guide towards your page.
Facebook alone has more than 2 billion monthly active users, making it an invaluable source of potential revenue. Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and even LinkedIn are also useful places to represent yourself — but before you start setting up accounts, consider your specific goals and the platforms that will serve them best.
The two things you’ll want to consider most carefully when choosing your social media platforms are the demographics and features for which each platform is known. For example, the largest population of US Facebook users is men and women between the ages of 25 and 34, whereas Pinterest caters largely to women between the ages of 19 and 29.
However, Facebook is an excellent tool for promoting B2C businesses of practically every kind, whereas the layout and purpose of Pinterest makes it most effective for products and services with a high level of visual appeal. A decorating company might benefit from making a Pinterest page, but if you run a plumbing company, then it might not be your best bet.
Making the Data Work for You
With all the different statistics out there on web design and social media use, how can you decide what information is relevant and make good use of it? The key isn’t just knowing what different platforms do — it’s understanding the behavior of your users so that you can tailor your strategies for them. Using analytics tools like CRM software to track customer interactions across social media can provide you with valuable information on how to anticipate their preferences and preemptively deliver solutions.
You might find that some of your accounts are quite effective at engaging customers, whereas others need significant improvement. This kind of information can be especially handy when you’re creating content — or when you’re programming a chatbot to interact with users a certain way on your site or through Facebook Messenger. Software that collects information can also help you tailor SEO content for your website, making it useful in numerous ways.
Summary: The Basics of Putting Yourself Online
Establishing a successful online presence is one of the most important things you can do to keep your small business or startup ahead of the pack. However, you’ll need to be specific if you want your efforts to yield meaningful results.
First, make sure that you have a website — but ensure that it isn’t overcomplicated. Your page should say who you are, what you do, and how to contact you. It might also have an online store or a section for testimonials, but that’s about it. Less is more, as long as you’re covering the basics.
Secondly, make sure that you’re active on social media — but not too active. Choose platforms that are likely to help you connect with your audience, instead of wasting your time on people who aren’t interested.
Thirdly, give yourself a way to collect information on the people who engage with your brand. Software that helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses gives you a path for greater success in the future.
Putting yourself online might seem complicated, but it’s better to start now than wait for it to become even more challenging. Use this guide as your starting point, and choose the resources that will help you create a strong presence for your brand.