businessgrowThe internet can provide tremendous exposure for your business, when used correctly. For this reason, establishing an online presence is not a task to be taken lightly. It can be overwhelming to get started, however, especially with all the different online options to choose from. Here are some tips to help you narrow down your goals and present yourself on the internet in the best possible light.

  • Quickly and clearly let people know how you can help them with your product or service. Your main objective should be solving a problem for your potential customers.  State clearly how you can do that right away on both your website and your social networks. For example, on your company website, the home page is the first online impression (and sometimes first overall impression) people will get of you and your business. Use images and very brief text to communicate how you solve that problem, and provide one or two clear calls to action, where people can learn more and sign up for your list. Avoid too much text on your home page, which can cause people to leave your site right away. If presented effectively and visually, that initial impression will keep people on your website and encourage them to explore further.
  • Provide honest facts. Facts about the types of customers you’ve served, other businesses you’ve worked cooperatively with, awards you’ve won, or community service you’re involved in are all helpful in educating a prospect about the type of business you operate. If you’re a new business with little or no history, state realistic goals. How do you plan on contributing to your community and to your customer base?
  • Never pretend to be something else. Trying to present yourself as something you are not will only hurt you in the long run because any prospective employees or clients will be set up for disappointment. Be honest and truthful about who you are and what you provide.
  • Use real photos, not stock. Stock photos are impersonal and lack creativity. Additionally, visitors to your website or social media presence will be put off because they can’t get a realistic look into your business. Use photos of your office or retail space, employees and customers (with their written permission), and products. People want a true impression of what to expect when patronizing your business.
  • Stay current and update your site. Always keep abreast of current industry trends and product research as they pertain to your particular business. Incorporate this knowledge into your online presence. As for your company website, frequently check for broken hyperlinks, outdated contact information, discontinued products, etc. When doing so, consider asking someone else to explore the site. A fresh set of eyes can help point out something you may have missed.
  • Make your site customer-focused. Your website should be user-friendly and focused on how the customer can make the best use of it. Your site should be easily navigable, convenient to use, and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Consider asking current customers to visit your website and tell you what they think of it.
  • Choose the social networks your customers use. Not sure which ones they use? Ask them! Most likely they are using Facebook, but are they on Pinterest or Instagram? By choosing the social networks where your customers and friends like them are spending time, you can more effectively communicate your message without wasting time on social networks where you’re less likely to get results. Click these links for some tips for setting up a social media presence for your business:

Also be sure to explore the online presences of your competitors to gather ideas and find out which techniques are effective, and which are not. Make sure the message and goals of your business are portrayed accurately online, and adjust when needed.

What tips do you have for establishing an online presence? Please share them below!