Creating And Maintaining Your Online Presence: A Guide For Local Business Professionals

Establishing an online presence can put your local business in front of a global audience. But how do you get started with creating this virtual persona?

Getting your local business connected online has the potential to extend your audience. Implementing the digital marketing strategies can help turn website traffic into sales.

There are a lot of different factors to creating a digital marketing plan that can make the process seem tedious. But when broken down, it doesn't seem so bad.

Digital marketing is like a puzzle. When you stare at the pile of pieces for too long, it drives you mad. But if you start slow and go in with a plan, things start to fall into place.

Similarly, if you let the internet's size and capability intimidate you, you'll quit before you start. The key to creating a strong presence online is planning and patience.

But before we get into putting pieces together, let's start with understanding the puzzle.

What Is an Online Presence?

Creating an online presence starts with understanding the concept. While it may not be complicated, there's a lot that goes into building an online persona.

Your presence is defined by what you say and do online. Anything and everything you post online represents you and your business in the digital marketplace.

In order for your business to thrive online, you need to be aware of how you're represented. Being able to establish this online personality is a result of planning and understanding your goals.

Laying the Foundation

Before you begin creating your online presence, it's helpful to take a step back and evaluate your goals. The planning stages of this process are important to how you and your business grow from here.

Use this opportunity to decide where you want to go and how you plan to get there. Breaking this task into pieces makes it easier to grasp.

While it's important to dream big, make sure your goals are reasonable. You don't want to burn yourself out early on in the game.

The point of bringing your business online is to help it grow. Because of this, your goals should be made with this in mind.

After establishing where you want to end up, it's time to start putting in the work.

Building a Website

Now that you've set some goals for yourself, the next step is getting online. The best way to get your foot in the door is building a reliable website.

Digital marketing has become essential to helping local businesses grow. 75% of small business owners believe digital marketing has helped them attract new customers. A key component to marketing online is making sure you have a website that makes basic information readily available.

Creating a website has become much more straightforward than in the past. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace allow you to build a website without the headache of coding.

Your website should be the core of your online presence. As a result, the design and content have a major impact in how your business is perceived online.

Having a website is one thing, but actually bringing traffic to it is another challenge. What's the point of being online if your business isn't benefiting from it?

Utilizing SEO Strategy

Just because you have a website, that doesn't mean your business will grow overnight. Maintaining your website means continuing to create content and attract new customers.

But how do people find your website?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) opens up a world of potential for customer acquisition online. By using specific keywords and hyperlinks, SEO makes your website easier to find when people are searching for businesses like yours. How does this work?

Search engines scan through the different pages on your website and ranks it based on the quality of its content. This ranking determines where your website appears when a user searches for something using keywords associated with your business' services.

Mastering SEO can help your online presence stand out against your competitors. But if you're struggling to understand SEO strategy, you can hire an expert to help evaluate your digital assets.

Utilizing SEO is just one way to strengthen your visibility online. Other methods involve connecting with other websites and users to increase your virtual network.

Getting Connected

While having a reliable website is a good first step, there's always more you can do. Social media has the potential to bring your business to the next level.

Social media as a platform offers the opportunity for exposing your business to new customers. 90% of digital marketers claim social media has helped bring exposure to their business.

But with so many different social media platforms out there, how do you know where to start?

Among the different social media outlets out there, Facebook has proven to be the most popular. This is due to the massive number of users already signed up on the website, offering more potential for growing your online presence.

Between the dedicated users and built-in advertising tools, social media has become a powerful platform for digital marketing. This potential for growth makes it a worthy investment for small businesses.

Investing in Digital Marketing

While social media has been around for a while, its capability as an advertising platform is only just being realized. Using these outlets for advertisements delivers information about your business right to the hands of customers (literally).

Digital marketing extends your reach beyond your immediate network. Investing in digital marketing not only increases your business' exposure, but can be more cost-effective than traditional advertisements.

Utilizing social media in this way puts your local business in front of a national audience. Growing your network and developing your business personality becomes the goal for your presence online.

As your business continues to grow, you'll find new ways to continue expanding your virtual circle of online customers and partners.

Maintaining Your Online Presence

The process of developing your business' online personality may not be the easiest task, but it's rewarding. Navigating the ins and outs of digital marketing offers a lot of room for your local business to grow.

If you're struggling to get a strategy together, let us help. It's important to remember that every business needs a strategy with its specific goals in mind.

The internet gives anyone the power to find your local business right at their fingertips.