There was a time when the internet wasn’t considered essential for business success.
It was difficult to set up a website and even more difficult to be found by your target market.
Then the Dot Com boom and bust happened. Everything changed after that. Now, social media and online marketing are accepted acquisition channels no fast growing business can ignore.
With mainstream appeal and acceptance comes tons of competition. You need solid strategies if you want to make your mark on the online landscape.
This article will walk you through a few powerful ways to quickly build an online presence online and grow your business in the process.
Podcasting is one of the few areas where there’s still a lot of room to build a name for yourself. It’s a growth industry and even though 50% of American households listen to a podcast at least once a month, 50% don’t.
The reason why podcasting is so attractive is because it’s growing faster than almost every other digital channel. Social media, Blogging, and email marketing could be considered saturated but podcasting is still available to those without massive resources.
How do you get started?
It’s a relatively simple process that’s easy to get wrong.
The first step is to choose a niche you’ll focus on. This should be relevant to your business but still have wide appeal. For example, if you’re building customer service software, you could choose to focus on customer experience. That topic encompasses customer support but also gives you room to interact with sister niches.
The second step is to choose reliable podcast hosting. Just like a website, you need a hosting company to store your files and make them available when requested by your visitors and listeners. Podcast directories like iTunes don’t do this for you.
Finally, it’s important to secure guests that your target audience will find interesting, has expertise, and also has an audience they can promote the episode to. The last part may be the most important one because, without an audience, you’ll be creating content for yourself and your team.
Depending on how fast you produce episodes and the quality of the episodes you produce, you’ll be able to turn it into a powerful acquisition channel.
Blogging is an old staple of online businesses because it allows you to go after a wide range of terms your audience is already searching for. If you target the right search terms, you can interact with people at different stages of the buyer’s journey and give them the information they need.
For example, if a company is selling customer service software, a potential customer would do a lot of research before buying. That’s because it’s such an important decision for them.
They’d start by trying to understand the industry by researching with terms like “what types of customer service software are there” “benefits of customer service software” “what to look for in customer service software” etc.
Then, they’d move on to best customer service software tools. Finally, once they’d shortlisted a few solutions, they would search for X reviews, X testimonials, X case studies with X being the name of the software.
You can create relevant content for each stage of the research process so you keep coming up in front of your audience. You’re similar to a Sherpa but instead of going to the top of Mt. Everest, you’re leading your prospects from where they are to where they want to be.
There are three major steps to using blogging successfully.
First, research and plan your content. Do your best to map it to different stages of the funnel. Focus most of your attention on top of funnel content but don’t leave out bottom of funnel content because that’s where the money is made.
When in doubt, use questionnaires to get a deeper understanding of your audience. If that’s not an option, these customer research methods may come in handy.
Secondly, create the content. If you don’t have a large team, focus on quality over quantity. It’s better to have 5 thorough pieces that cover their topics extensively than it is to have 50 pieces that are superficial.
Finally, promote your content far and wide. Too many people have created great articles, videos, graphics, etc. only for them never to see the light of day. Don’t be that person.
Social media marketing
This works incredibly well in certain niches and not so well in others. For example, it’s an important aspect of retail marketing but is nothing more than a branding exercise for car dealers. If you’re in a niche that social media works well for, focus on it 100%.
There’s a caveat about social media. When you’re building your business there, you have to protect yourself because it’s someone else’s platform. They can change their terms of service or decide to ban your account on a whim.
At the same time, it’s where your prospects hang out regularly. You don’t have to show up on every platform, you need to show up on the right platforms. For example, instead of trying to be on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter, choose one. You can create an account in all those places but focus your attention on mastering only one of them.
Once your business grows, you can then focus your attention on other platforms your fans hang out on.
It’s estimated that 80% of the worlds internet traffic will be video by 2021. That means if you’re not doing video then you’re losing out. YouTube has roughly 1.5 billion monthly active users that consume billions of hours of content.
There are many platforms that, for just a few dollar a month, will make it easy to create engaging video content. The key with this strategy, like all the others, is consistency. Once you move beyond a certain threshold, your followers, influence, and income start to grow without much more input.
The hard part is what happens before then. There are a few steps to getting a video marketing strategy right.
First, like with the other strategies, it’s important to choose the right niche and platform. You can use the same process you took advantage of to find a podcast niche.
Secondly, choose a publishing schedule and map out your content. The hard part of video marketing is being consistent. It’s much harder to create video content than any other kind of content so people tend to give up before they get their break. Keep at it and people will start to notice.
Repurpose and distribute. Since videos are so hard to make, you probably won’t be making “guest videos” but you can create short promotional clips and distribute them on social media with the goal of leading them back to your main video.
It’s not impossible to build an online presence in this day and age. It’s a bit more difficult. This article has outlined proven strategies you can use to start growing online.
Don’t try to tackle all of them at once. That’s a recipe for disaster. Instead focus on one at a time and continue until you start to see results. Once that happens, move on to the next strategy. Soon, your online presence will be unstoppable.