Let’s take a look at what makes up a successful Internet presence and talk about the main aspects of each.
A website is still the single most important presence that any company must have. While a lead may find you via alternate means, it is still the place where your leads and customers will ultimately arrive at when they are seeking information when they are considering purchasing your products and services. Making sure that your website is built optimally so that it closes more deals should be your highest priority. For more information, I strongly recommend that you read the series called The Dimensions of a Successful Website.
Your own website isn’t the only presence that you should consider. When done right, other online presences on the web can drive a lot of targeted traffic to your site. Other presences that tend to be extremely effective include actively maintaining an interesting blog presence that engages your leads and customers, contributing to forums where your target customers frequently use and providing answers to questions related to your industry on Q&A websites (e.g. Yahoo Answers!).
This is just the tip of the iceberg but a solid jumpstart to an effective web presence that’ll create leads and opportunities for you.
Ensuring that your website is mobile accessible is becoming more and more critical each and every month that passes. Almost 75% of residents in North America perform research and make decisions daily by viewing a website on their mobile device. Smartphone sales in 2011 totaled a whopping 1.6 billion! These statistics only encompass smartphones. Mobile tablets, an industry that’s only a few years old, is already on target to sell more than 1 billion within the next 5 years! If you aren’t preparing yourself for this dramatic paradigm shift, be prepared to lose some of your valued customers to your competitors who are. Still not convinced? Find out more about the future of mobile!
In addition to having a mobile accessible website, it’s vital that you are listed the major services that provide mobile-enabled apps for phones so that when your potential customers are searching for nearby businesses, your listing is included in those results. This is particularly critical for consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities. Some examples of these apps include local listings by Google, Yahoo and Bing; free listings on Yellow Pages and Super Pages, geo-centric locations such as Google Maps, Foursquare, and AOL Local. More specialized and industry-specific listings include Yelp, TripAdvisor and UrbanSpoon.
How do you know where to start? Simple! Take a look at each site and see if your competitors are listed, see if it makes sense for your business. Remember this, most of these listings are free and effective ways to gain a massive amount of targeted traffic from the individuals who are looking for your products and services.
- Social media
One of the most important, but often overlooked, aspects of ensuring that your online presence is well rounded and diversified. While social media rarely clinches the deal, it’s extremely effective at leveraging your existing leads, customers, associates and partners by taking advantage of the power of what is still the single most effective (and least expensive) forms of marketing: word of mouth.
Social media presences include many possibilities. When considering which social media possibilities to leverage, it’s important to consider your industry, customers and competitors to figure out which ones will work best for you. The most popular possibilities include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. There are also others that have a higher learning curve and a lot more work required to gain momentum such as Digg, Delicious, Tumblr and the list goes on.
Think about it, if you pay for targeted traffic (which, by the way, is still one of the most effective way to gain new clients when done right) you gain the possibility of making one sale per click. However, if the individual that clicked your paid link doesn’t purchase, you’ve likely lost that potential lead forever. It’s purely a numbers game so you need to ensure that your keywords are extremely targeted for this method to truly return on investment.
On the other hand, when you gain a fan on any of your social media presences, you’ve actually gained exposure to potentially hundreds of their connections. Each time they engage with your brand by liking or commenting, all of their connections will be notified in their respective news feeds (and possibly even via email). Multiply this by a few fans and you quickly have gained thousands of potential exposures! Furthermore, your fans will continue to engage for years, resulting in repeated frequent exposure of your brand to their connections. This is huge!
Finally remember that just because someone might not be a potential customer of yours today, doesn’t mean that won’t change in a month, or even a year. Repeated exposure to your brand’s products and services will help keep you fresh in their mind when they are seeking out your company, you’ll be fresh in their minds.
Here’s some additional resources that can help you get started with social media:
There you have it… welcome to today’s Internet presence. After reading the above I know that you’ve changed your point of view. You now realize that accepting the status quo of only having a website is a narrow-sighted mistake that is not only costing you lots of potential revenue, but helping your competitors grow. Ouch, that double whammy hurts, doesn’ t it? You’re not going to take it anymore. Today’s the day you change. Right now.
Regardless of where your company’s sits within the spectrum from poor to best, there are limitless possibilities to improve. The internet isn’t going anywhere and just like today’s way of doing business, it’s going to continue to evolve faster than ever! Time to get busy. Game on!
CEO, N-VisionIT Interactive