- Claim your name
The 1st step is to claim a name for your business. More often than not, the names you choose for your business has already been copyrighted by existing big brands and savvy corporations. The lack of a relevant domain name for your business website may severely harm your digital credit and you need to be agile to grab the best before somebody snatches the URLs. This helps extensively to gain control of a brand or trademark. Whether you are claiming a particular username on Facebook or choosing a Twitter/Instagram handle or registering a domain name, it needs to be a progressively worked out plan to stake out your territory across your digital assets.
- Build your website
You have your name, you have your domain, you have your business plan ready, now it’s time to build your website. You need a website to showcase your brand across the digital space. Your business website is like a piece of real estate which corresponds all accesses in the digital infrastructure of the business. Getting a unique URL is just the beginning, what follows is construction of a website that clearly projects the vision and mission of the company and is highly optimized at the same time. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to enhance the visibility of your website by increasing your Search engine ranking across search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Unlike traditional SEO, modern SEO focuses on optimizing websites for the users rather than search engines. 5 key elements of optimizing a website are:
- URL Structure
The URL of a web page is the web address used by the users to access your web content over the internet. URL structure refers the assembly of text in the URL and how each URL associated with the website react among one another. Some relevant aspects to optimize URL structure are:
- URL must contain the focus keyword
- Separate individual keywords with dashes for the internal page URLs
- Use 301 redirect errors in case of permanent redirect for site maintenance issues prolonging more than a day. Google prefers 301 error instead of giving credit to multiple versions of the same web content and URL.
- Page title
Title of the page is what you see at the Tab of the browser window when you visit a webpage. SEO optimized page titles must adhere to the following guidelines:
– Include focus keyword in the title
– Title must be more than 35 characters but less than 65 characters.
– Add company name at the end of the title
– Add unique page title for each page within the website
- Meta Description
- This contains a short summary of the content of a particular web-page and must contain the focus keyword of that web page.
The heading must be relevant to the keyword across a particular webpage so it is suggested to use only one <h1> tag as the focus keyword of that page. In case of a text-heavy blog posts, it is advisable to add a few <h2> or <h3> tags as paragraph titles.
Images add as a catalyst to enhance user experience on a website. But excessive images can slow down the loading of a page, so one should add only relevant images and also associate keyword specific filename and add keyword specific alt tag for descriptions to enhance SEO.
Getting an optimized website reflects well across the search engine and is accepted by the users as it inspires confidence in your brand. So, get a unique domain name for the URL and build a website around it and optimize it so that it stands tall on its own.
- Content development
You have built an optimized website, the next step is to develop unique and creative content. 'Content is the king' is an overused cliche but stand true for an effective internet marketing strategy. Unless and until you engage your target audience, you cannot reach out to the customers (or potential customers), and developing strong and engaging content is the way to achieve popularity across digital space. Whether it be an infographic content or an informative blog associated to your website, a well written high quality can not only drive visitors to your website but cater to a specific targeted crowd who are most likely to be converted into leads. Blogging is a dynamic way of injecting strong content over the websites and also helps ranking higher in Search engine ratings. Blogging is focussed approach as a magazine or a journal writer rather than a marketing manager or a business owner. It has a customer centric approach from the point of view of a regular individual which is essential to connect with the right set of audience. Any content across a blog must serve the purpose of educating or entertaining the potential customers rather than pushing your products or services across them. Blog isn’t the only content effective to generate traffic and further leads. Other contents like e-books, research reports and whitepapers can also be used to generate leads for the business. There are other non-text contents too like how-to videos, presentations, webinars etc. that together help businesses to contact, interact, connect, reconnect, convince and finally convert into customers.
- Social Presence
It is not enough anymore to just have a website for your business across the digital space. Your digital storefront extends to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, though Linked is more of a professional network than a social like others. Social media presence has become eminent considering the huge scope of directly communicating with your target audience and learning about their interests which can serve to better deliver your products and services in your target market. Social media acts as an effective interface between the company, the employees and the customers is an ever evolving medium of self sustaining growth across the digital space. While there is a wide array of social networks across the digital space but the main focus is on the “big three”: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you don’t own a Twitter account or a Facebook page for the company, it’s time to get on with the program and bring yourself up to speed. Having a LinkedIn company page is a major asset asset for marketing your company across business professional and find interested parties to gain keen insights and add value to your company’s digital credit. Social media is a key driver of your brand’s online presence and facilitates targeted content distribution. So, once you are done with your website integrate it with social media networks and start capitalizing on it for gaining competitive advantage across digital arena.
- Get listed in directories
Apart from websites and social media platforms, it is important to register yourself in directory sites as well. Some common examples are Yahoo Local, Yelp, Just Dial but it is more likely that you must have a dedicated directory for your specific business. Start with listing yourself in the popular directories across broader categories. And then look out for specific ones and register your company and website there too. Make sure that you develop a complete profile and not just your basic contact info. Having a complete profile inspires confidence among the audience who are looking out for your products and services and creates a positive brand perception. Include all business details like Company name, logo, contact info with designated person and other relevant pieces of information as per the directory site requirements.
- Creating Buyer Persona Groups
Once you get your digital existence across website and social media platforms up and running, it comes down to converting your audience into leads. The increased traffic to your site derived from all the above activities isn’t generating any business. You see many new visitors coming to your site but these visits aren’t transforming into new customers. So, it is time to do some Inbound Marketing which is the best way to convert visitors into potential leads. You need to create a Buyer persona profile which enlists targeted individuals based on their specific interests. This allows you tailor your content right from words of messaging to your complete marketing campaign as per their specific needs, behaviors, and concerns across different persona groups. In other words, this allows you to understand and manage the specific needs and interests within the micro markets and identify the typical background of the ideal buyer for your product. You need to regularly update your credentials and add more and more information about what you have to offer to drive interest from your target audience. Then you need to identify each buyer persona group and direct your marketing campaign exclusively to meet their specific expectations. This hones up to higher rate of acceptance by the potential customers.
- Creating a Call to Action
Adding a strong call to action is very important to get targeted insight of the customers or potential customers visiting your website. First, you need to identify what your online visitors want to do when they visit your website and then encourage them to do so through an effective Call to Action. Your call to action needs to convince the visitors to take some kind of action no matter how small it is. Adding CTAs for “Subscription to company’s newsletter” or “Connecting to a company phone number” and many other CTAs can help capture attention of the visitors in an incredibly brief window to avoid bounce from the website. While designing a Call To Action, you need to follow two main principles: Visibility and Clarity of the message. There are multiple elements that can be added both focussed on these two principles but you need to decide the best one and not overcrowd the CTA. When choosing the best alternative or collection of elements it is better to conduct an A/B testing to get a definitive prove for the best CTA. It may sound like a lot of extra effort, but the resulting improved action rates and overall website performance makes it worth the effort. Once you define the most appropriate call(s) to action for your business, add them throughout your site so people see them often and easily. If you’re committed enough to actually boost your rate of conversion across digital space, it is very important to write a compelling Call to Action.
- Manage your online reputation
Monitoring your reputation over the digital space is also an essential part of sustaining the perfect space across the internet. It is not like Facebook that gives you just a Like button and no Dislike button. A single negative comment or review can defame your reputation and lead to subsequent loss of valuable audience. Your digital presence needs to be consistently monitored and scrutinized to showcase the best version of your business to your audience. Online reputation management includes the following activities:
- Monitor your reputation by keeping a track of the reviews and ratings. Your ratings and reviews directly impact your online reputation and you need to immediately act on them to suppress the negatives if any.
- Managing the reviews is also an important task. Feedback is very necessary for optimizing your online presence and these feedbacks (positive ones) act as means to gain visibility and positive fame across the the digital space which encourages and builds trust among other members of your target audience.
- Handling a damage repair scenario is one of the most difficult aspects of ORM. Bad PR, negative comments etc needs to be reviewed from time to time and these individuals need to be addressed by providing them with the best possible solutions. It is like grievance handling where you counter act to prevent any damage to the company’s name.
- Highlight positive reviews and ratings. Helpful reviews that highlight company’s brand value and ratings (4 and above) showcase the success of your business in providing adequate solution to your customers whether it be products or services. These reviews must be amplified across social media and other digital spaces.
- Make a budget plan
Budgeting is a very vital part of designing a complete business plan while capturing your online presence. Any digital marketing campaign requires a structured plan to act upon and is developed keeping in mind about the resources, spendings and availability of the access across the digital space. The ROI associated with digital marketing is easily quantifiable. One needs to count in all the essentials associated with the campaign and not just the primary factor i.e. Building a website. Building a website for the company is just the start of an overall digital marketing campaign, there are other expenses too that are associated with PPC Ad Campaigns, Content marketing campaign, SEO, Social media marketing and many more. All these are essential “drivers” to claim the best possible space across digital arena and should not be ignored while deciding on the budget expenditure for digital marketing.
And if you want the best results, you need to invest accordingly. The key strategy as part of the primary objective may not include a budget for everything, but as you progress you need to spend more to get more.
- Get your Analytics and Testing Strategy in Place
With frequent updating algorithms of SEO and ever increasing platforms for Social media activity, there is a dire need to have a proper analytic structure in place to measure your activities across the digital space. One cannot directly jump into the the digital arena with contents without analyzing the efficacy of it. No matter how strong you may think your offering is, there are millions of individuals and companies who may be targeting the same space as you. You need to test your offering before you actually showcase it over any digital platform. It is a challenge to prioritize your target area where you want to penetrate to get your desired audience and you need to determine the best channels for you as quickly as possible based on the metrics that justify as per your marketing strategy.
Analytics is very critical and complex and you cannot master it overnight. You need to carefully hone your skills as analyst by analysing all the quirks associated with specific channels using multiple tools to collect data and then set up the complete digital marketing infrastructure for a successful digital campaign.
At BrandStory, we identify immense opportunities for digital personification of any business and our team is heavily invested to help businesses claim the digital space. Contact us for any assistance and guidance related to complete digital transformation. The opportunities are endless and we will help you make the best of it.