You may be aware of the wise advice that to achieve the best outcomes, you should work on your business, not just in it. However, the reality is that some important but non-urgent tasks usually sink to the bottom of the to-do list. This includes maintaining an effective online presence - an essential part of a modern marketing approach.
The silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic means that many business owners finally have more time to spend fine tuning and updating their digital marketing approach. In fact, the disruptions to face-to-face business caused by COVID-19 have highlighted just how critical your effective online presence is.
By taking advantage of the pause in normal operations to overhaul your digital marketing approach, many businesses will be in a stronger position when things return to normal.
If you have been flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to digital marketing, putting together a solid plan can help make sure you are directing your efforts in the most effective ways. Take stock of:
- the marketing tactics you are currently using
- all the platforms your business owns or manages (for example, your website, social media accounts and email marketing channels).
Next, note down:
- Are there some channels that seem to work better than others (keeping in mind that capturing immediate sales is just one goal of marketing)?
- Does every platform you are using present your brand in a consistent way?
- Is any of the information out of date, particularly on your website or in the ‘about’ sections of your social media accounts?
- Are there any opportunities you are missing, such as the ability to sell online?
- Then, take a closer look at each active channel you are using.
Your business website is the anchor of your online presence. If you don’t have a website yet, this is the perfect time to get online – these days there are options for every budget. You will get the best results by taking time to make a website plan before starting to build it yourself or hiring a website designer.
If you already have a website, but have been neglecting it lately, some of the areas to review include:
- Is it functioning properly? Older or poorly built websites can have display issues, particularly on mobile devices, broken links and images that load too slowly.
- Is the content up-to-date and engaging? For example, if there are services listed that you no longer offer, or a lack of content about products and services that have become a significant part of your business, this can mean missed opportunities.
- Does your website look dated? Some updated images or a colour palette change may be in order to freshen its appeal.
- Have you learned all you can about search engine optimisation to increase your chances of being found online? Our SEO made easy information is a great place to start.
- Once you have brought your website up to date, you may choose to investigate paid search engine marketing, such as Google Ads.
Google My Business listing
Google My Business (GMB) is a free online listing that can help your business appear in local searches on Google. It also allows clients to add reviews, which is a powerful marketing tool. If you don’t have a listing, you can get started by following our step by step guide. GMB listings are available for businesses without a ‘bricks and mortar’ presence, servicing a particular area, as well as more traditional storefronts that customers can visit.
Areas to optimise on your GMB listing include:
- adding original photos of your products/service
- creating a quick link to your reviews that you can send to customers
- replying to reviews, even the negative ones
While Google has temporarily suspended some updates during the pandemic, they have prioritised business updates related to COVID-19 with a “COVID-19 update,” which will be featured more prominently within your business profile.
Having an active social media presence is one of the most effective ways to build a relationship with customers and prospects, particularly when you cannot see them in person. Not every social media platform is right for every business, so it’s important to consider which channels will work with your target audience and marketing strategy and whether you will be able to commit the necessary time to maintaining your presence in an ongoing way.
Some of the key platforms to look at include:
Facebook is one of the best known and most popular social media platforms, despite declining in usage by younger consumers in recent years. Apart from establishing a business page, one of the key advantages of Facebook is the ability to participate in various groups to share information with and get support from other business owners (for example in the SBDC’s group I’m a Small Business Owner in Western Australia which has more than 8,500 members) or to promote your business to consumers, according to the rules of each group. Facebook also offers paid marketing opportunities.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is a highly visual social media platform that is useful for both goods and services-based businesses. Many businesses have taken the opportunity to use paid Instagram advertising to link their online shops to the platform, while consultants have used Instagram to effectively showcase their services and build their personal brands.
Facebook offers free tutorials in using both Facebook and Instagram via their Facebook for Business portal.
While not as exciting as some of its social media cousins, LinkedIn can be an effective platform for businesses that operate in a business to business market, offering a credible way to reach and engage with your market and contacts. Take the time to look at both your personal profile, where you can connect with useful contacts, and your business page to ensure they are up to date and reflect your brand. You can publish a variety of updates and article on LinkedIn, and also join discussion groups.
Owned by Google, YouTube is both a video platform and the second largest search engine (after Google). YouTube videos can be useful for demonstrating expertise and building a following, however it can be time consuming to generate professional standard video content.
Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Tumblr and TikTok are just some of the other social media channels that you can explore as options to add to your digital marketing mix. There are also online graphic design tools, like Canva, that make it easy for you to develop graphics for your website, social media, videos and more for free or at a low cost.
Learn more about revitalising your digital presence with our free information: