6 Steps to build your online business presence
Updated: 5 days ago
In 2021, regardless of what type of business you run, it’s size or location, your digital footprint can make or break your success. Since the Covid19 pandemic now, more than ever you need to be accessible to your customers online for various reasons.
Customers today use their devices to search for, verify, review and communicate with businesses, amongst other things. A recent Forbes article predicts "Consumers' expectations have gone digital, and there's no turning back. Regardless of a shift back towards pre-pandemic life, the convenience and flexibility of a digital customer experience is here to stay”.
Outside of fulfilling customer expectations, ensuring you have set up your businesses online presence has many positive benefits - from increased sales to, to a better managed business - it can even improve your own understanding of your own business, brand voice and objectives!
So let’s get into this. Today we share with you the top steps and considerations to make when setting up your business online.
*Side Note* If you’re still in the early stages of planning your business, check out the latest blog from Gecko Bookkeeping on How to set up an Australian business the right way
(out September 29th).
1. Establish Your Branding
This might seem like an off-topic way to begin your setup, but believe us - branding goes intrinsically hand-in-hand with being online.
Setting up a social media account or website is a great start but it’s wasted time (put blunt) if you don’t have a recognisable logo - at the bare minimum. Start this process first, and you’re one step ahead of the rest.
Logistics aside, business branding is more important than you may think. On the surface, your brand is made up of elements such as logos and colours, but your business’ visual brand - especially online - is actually the entire identity of your business. Your brand gives your business personality, and that personality speaks in volumes.
Think about any of your competitors' online presence. Their website and social media will generally have a consistent logo and colours. That’s because a good business owner understands that visual recognition is so important! The first thing a customer imagines in relation to a business is usually a logo, and perhaps a set of colours, fonts and visual messages.
With the average person spending over 2 hours per day just on social media, consumers are exposed to new brands constantly. This can be great for online searchers, who have plenty of options to source products and services, but it makes it harder for businesses to stand out.
A good business branding starts with, at bare minimum, engaging a graphic designer, who can create a logo and help you to pick fonts and colours that align with your vision.
Find a business (like us - wink wink) with services that begins with your purpose and ends with a conception to create a clear, memorable message. Finding the right person or team that can help speak your needs, business type and visual identity to the right designer is worth more than you think!
2. Register an Email and website Domain name
This is a basic, cheap and fast way to get two of the most important parts of your business presence locked in. Your website AKA where they find you, and your email AKA how they communicate with you.
An email provides a direct way for customers to communicate with you and a website domain secures the website location (eg; www.xyz.com) which essentially, is a place you plan for your business web page.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure you have a professional email domain, in 2021 firstname.lastname@example.org just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Prove the legitimacy of your business with a proper, professional email and thank us later.
3. Setup your Socials
Let’s start with one simple fact: your business needs a social media presence. Why? Because that’s where your customers are, and chances are they're already engaging with your competitors there! It doesn’t matter if you run a small local hardware shop or a big national software company, Social media is an essential piece of your business.
Social platforms help you connect with your customers, increase awareness about your brand, and boost your leads and sales. More than three billion per month already use social media, and those statistics are set to keep increasing.
Try to consider which platforms your key customers may already be engaging on.
Your business industry type will impact the social media platforms best to use. Save yourself some time and look at what your competitors are doing, and where they are. Ask yourself who your customers are, and where they would expect to engage with your business?
Once you’ve decided on your platforms - you’re ready to get the ground right now. You don’t need to know every intimidating buzzword or have the magic number of followers. Get started when you can - the perfect post can come in time.
4. Get a Website
Many businesses still don’t realise that the majority of consumers in 2021 expect them to have a website to verify their business before considering buying into a service or product.
Think of your landing page as a business CV or Resume. Without an online presence, particularly a website, you can certainly restrict your businesses ability to maximise sales as customers now utilise websites for verification. Most business owners avoid starting websites for fear of cost or time needed, but nowadays you can build a website yourself quickly, at an affordable cost.
Yes, the quality and design of your website can impact results, but the purpose of this article is to stress the importance of ensuring you at least have a website. Start with the basics.
Determine your budget and how much you want to spend versus how much time you have to build your website. Web build platforms such as Shopify, SquareSpace and Wix have great, easy DIY web making templates and tools, as well as offering freelance designers to help you build your website.
6. Help your website to be found
Once your website is live, you will want to determine how customers will find you.
If you’re an online Ecommerce business, chances are high that you will need to invest in the right resources to bring traffic to your website, in order to start making money.
If you’re a local tradesman, it may for now just be important to be found on google maps and online directories. Once again, knowing who your customers are and where they are looking is all part of deciding where your resources and investments lie.
Here’s a general overview of ways to generate website traffic:
A Free way to help customers find you is always to add your website link to your social media handles, email signature and any business collateral. This is a small but important move.
Set your website up for online reviews, directories and maps. Setting up accounts such as Google My Business provides you with the ability to list your business location, offer customers a chance to review you and be found on local search results. Even if your business is an online business and you don’t have a physical shop, you should still consider having a Google My Business page. Adding your business website to directories such as Yelp is also a great way to help your business site be found and reviewed by regular customers.
Work on your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) SEO can help a business accomplish a number of goals, including ones involving brand awareness, website traffic, sales conversions, customer experience, and much more. SEO is a long-term investment with incredible results if you find the right team to execute this for you.
If you want to learn more about SEO, read our recent blog post here.
Start a Marketing Plan
Digital marketing allows you to engage with your prospective customers. By interacting with people digitally either via paid or organic methods, you can start to get to know what they are looking for. What is their pain points? What solutions can you offer to them? Instead of trying to guess, digital marketing gives you tools and methods for finding out who your customers really are.
In this way, you start to build a relationship with your customers. You become much more than a business. You become a trusted partner. People are much more likely to buy from businesses that they have already bought into.
Few forms of advertising are as cost-effective as digital marketing. For Small businesses looking to get as much bang for their buck, digital marketing allows your brand to reach a wider audience, even on a tight budget. Compared to other advertising mediums, digital marketing costs considerably less with equal or even greater reach.
Although you will need to build up a mailing list first, email marketing is a fantastic way to directly reach customers or potential customers that are yet to convert. It’s also free (if you’re doing it yourself)
Believe it or not, blogging is marketing. It helps with your website SEO, can drive potential brand collaborations and even helps build your social following. Blogging is a fantastic way to offer your potential customers real, authentic and relevant content.
Search engine advertising
At its most basic level, launching a pay per click Ad campaign on a search engine such as Google is an effective way to drive traffic through to your website.
It can also play a vital role in increasing the reach of your marketing campaign, especially if it’s a short-term marketing campaign as opposed to a long-term one, where SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and other digital marketing technologies can also play a part.
Social Media Advertising
Since social media advertising became available around the world, businesses of every size have been able to easily run and manage ad campaigns on their platforms of choice. Most statistics also show that campaigns that ran across multiple platforms resulted in similar or better performance for website clicks, website conversions, video views and mobile app installs than those that ran on just one.
A final word.
Regardless of how long you have been running your business, you’re never too late to the party when it comes to enhancing your online presence and accessing new ways to find customers! Don’t let flakey branding or a lack of know-how be your business’s limiting factor. Act today and explore how you can maximise your brand awareness and make your online awareness work for you!
There are few people that won’t admit that being online and building your presence is at the least, a bit daunting. The good news is, there are countless online resources (such as this) with quick information and how-to’s, as well as agencies (such as us) that are here to help. For every question or difficulty you may have sourcing knowledge or experience, there is always an answer, or an experienced hand to help.
Businesses like ours, Gecko Cloud Solutions are built around developing businesses.
We’ve helped numerous companies of varying sizes create their digital presence with ease. Our team can help you through each of the processes listed today, from setting up accounts to running large campaigns, right through to finding your true “brand essence”.
Regardless of your finances, time or knowledge, there’s no time like the present to start finding ways to build your customer base - online!