More than ever before, people go to the internet to find the products and services they’re looking for. If you want to stay relevant in today’s business landscape you need a strong online presence.
But simply being online isn’t enough. Most businesses have a website or a Facebook page, but that doesn’t mean potential customers can find them.
If you want to grow your online presence you need to:
- Establish a platform where people can find you.
- Fill that platform with valuable content.
- Drive traffic to that content.
- Nurture and build relationships with your audience.
Of course, this is an overly simplified version of the process. There are a lot of steps you have to take to achieve these goals.
Keep reading to learn more about what your online presence is and why it’s so important. We’ll also go over 26 ways to establish your presence and build a dedicated online following.
What is online presence?
Your online presence is essentially your entire online existence. It’s made up of your website, social media profiles, search results, directory listings, online mentions, and anywhere else someone might find you on the internet. Both individuals and businesses can have an online presence.
How important is online presence?
Simply put, the larger your online presence the easier it is for people to find you. According to a recent study, 97% of people depend on the internet to learn more about a company. So a large online presence will ensure that when people search for the products and services you sell your business will be the one they find.
Your online presence also plays a big role in how you’re perceived by potential customers. For example, a business with just a small website and no social media profiles or reviews could be seen as untrustworthy since they don’t have any social proof.
On the other hand, a business with a large social media presence and plenty of positive testimonials will likely be viewed more favorably by consumers since there are plenty of people online who back up their claims.
A strong online presence takes time to cultivate, but once it’s established it provides massive benefits for both you and your business.
How to grow your online presence
An effective online presence is the culmination of many different factors. If you want to get noticed you need to make an impact on multiple digital touchpoints. Below is a list of 26 strategies you can use to grow your online presence.
While not all of these are necessary to get found on the internet, the more of these steps you complete the stronger your presence will become over time.
1. Create a professional website
The ultimate goal of building an online presence is to find new leads for your business. Once you find those leads you need somewhere to send them—and that somewhere is almost always your website.
So, before you start posting on social media, creating a YouTube channel, or listing yourself in a directory, you’re going to need a website.
However, just having a website isn’t enough. Your site also plays a crucial role in your online presence and how potential customers view your business. In fact, 50% of consumers believe web design is important to a business’ brand, and 40% of visitors will straight up leave your site if the design or functionality isn’t up to their standards.
Luckily, website builders like Leadpages make creating a professional-looking website quick and easy. Simply choose your template, customize your design with the Drag & Drop Builder, and publish to a custom domain or WordPress.
2. Grow your traffic with search engine optimization
After you have your website, the next step is to start driving traffic to it, and the most reliable long-term strategy for doing this is search engine optimization (SEO). This involves following website best practices to increase your chances of appearing in search results.
Some of the ways you can optimize your site for search are:
- Include relevant high-traffic keywords in your content.
- Optimize your meta titles and descriptions.
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Maximize your page load speed.
- Use a website builder that’s optimized for SEO (like Leadpages).
For more SEO advice you can check out our 18 SEO Tips for Beginners.
Just remember, SEO takes time. If you want to grow your online presence a little faster you can…
3. Boost your web traffic with search ads
Search ads are a great way to ensure you’re showing up in the right search results. While various search engines offer this service, by far the most popular is Google.
Simply decide which keywords you want to appear for and set a daily budget with your ad provider. The higher your budget the more times you’ll show up in searches, but even a smaller budget can be effective when used on the right keywords.
This is a great strategy for newer businesses who haven’t had time to rank for terms organically. It’s also perfect for promoting sales, special promotions, and other time-sensitive offers.
4. Get listed in online directories
Before the internet, the yellow pages is where people looked for local businesses. Today, this service has been replaced by a wide variety of online business directories. While search engines are the primary way people find businesses, these directories still play an important role in building your online presence.
This is especially true if you operate a physical location. By listing your address and contact information across multiple online directories it helps Google determine where you’re located, which leads to you showing up in more local searches.
Some of the best online directions to list your business on are:
- Google My Business
- YP (Yellow Pages)
Another benefit is that most of these directory listings have a section for reviews. Speaking of reviews…
5. Ask your customers to submit reviews
Remember, your online presence isn’t just about getting found—it’s also about building trust. And a long list of positive reviews is the best way to achieve this.
Any time you sell a product or service include a request to leave an honest review. To make it even easier, give customers a link to the platform you’d like them to leave a review on. An added benefit of online reviews is that they factor into SEO, so the more positive reviews you receive the more search traffic you should get.
While you can’t ask customers to leave you a positive review (that’s unethical), there’s a simple way to ensure the vast majority of your testimonials are positive…
6. Create value for your customers
If you look at everyone who has a strong online presence they all share one thing in common: they deliver a lot of value.
A flashy website and slick marketing will only take you so far. If you’re not actually providing something that people want or need, your audience isn’t going to stick around for very long.
Start by identifying your ideal customer, then pinpoint what their primary problem is. Once you have this, create content, products, and services that address this problem. As your audience begins to grow you can ask them what kinds of solutions they’re looking for and create new offerings that also address these needs.
The best part about providing value is it leads to positive word of mouth, and that’s the best kind of marketing you can ask for.
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7. Choose the right social media platforms
In today’s digital landscape it’s a given that if you want to grow your online presence you need to be on social media. However, not all social media platforms are created equal. Instead of spreading yourself thin across all platforms, focus on the ones where your ideal audience is most likely to be.
For example, TikTok caters to a younger demographic, Pinterest’s audience is largely women, and LinkedIn is geared towards business professionals.
Determine your ideal audience and then choose the platforms that suit their demographics and interests. This will ensure that you maximize the time and energy you put into your social media marketing.
And if you want to expand your reach even more on social media you can…
8. Use social ads
Like search ads, social ads are a great way to drive traffic and get in front of new prospects. The benefit of these ads is that you can target people based on a wide variety of demographic data.
For example, Facebook knows a lot about its users, including their age, gender, employment, interests, and more. You can use all these data points to target your ideal audience with your ads.
Social ads are perfect for:
- Growing your following
- Promoting specific products or services
- Announcing events
- Driving traffic to your website
Looking for even more ways to expand your online presence through social media? There’s one more tactic you can try…
9. Influencer marketing
Influencers are people who have built a large and loyal audience on social media. In other words, they already have a strong online presence. So, if you’re looking to build your own presence, a positive testimonial or mention from one of these people will go a long way.
Many influencers are willing to review a product if you send it to them for free. Others might need monetary compensation. The amount you pay will usually depend on the size of their following.
Luckily, you don’t need a massive influencer to make a big impact. Even a mention from a micro-influencer (roughly 10,000 followers) can drive results, assuming their audience is aligned with your brand.
10. Start a blog
Social media isn’t the only place you need to be posting content to. If you really want to expand your reach online you should also start a blog.
Blogs offer a couple of benefits. First, they give you a place to post longer-form content that’s not suited for social media. These longer pieces allow you to really go in-depth on certain topics and share your knowledge, which helps you establish yourself as an authority.
And second, they’re great for SEO. If you target relevant high-traffic keywords with each post you should start to appear in more search results over time.
You don’t have to just post blogs on your own site. To introduce a new audience to your content you can…
11. Write guest posts on other people's blogs
There are likely plenty of people out there who would really enjoy your content—they just haven’t found it yet. One strategy you can use to find new readers is to write guest posts on other blogs that are related to yours.
There are lots of site owners who are looking for content but don’t have time to write it all themselves. Instead of hiring a writer what they’ll often do is offer guest posts to other creators (like you). In return, they’ll let you link back to your own blog within the post.
If readers like your guest post they’ll click through to your site to learn more about you and your brand.
12. Promote your products and services with high-converting landing pages
Websites are great for educating visitors about your business and brand. But they’re not always the best place to send people if you’re trying to increase conversions. That’s because there’s a lot of information on your site, which can be distracting if you’re trying to get people to focus on a specific offer.
This is why landing pages are so important. These are standalone pages dedicated to a singular product, service, or offer. They limit distractions and focus on one call to action in order to boost conversion rates.
Drag and drop landing page builders make it easy to design and launch multiple landing pages for a variety of uses, including sales, special promotions, and events. Landing pages can also be used to…
13. Build your email list
When you think about online presence you probably think of websites, search engines, and social media. But online presence also includes people’s inboxes.
Email might seem like old technology, but it’s still a powerful way to reach potential customers. In fact, email marketing generates an ROI of 4,200% on average, making it one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.
A proven way to grow your email list is with lead magnets. These are free items (ebooks, checklists, exclusive videos, etc.) that you offer in exchange for people’s email addresses.
Drive traffic to a landing page where people can learn about and download your lead magnet (these pages are known as a squeeze page). If you give people something they actually want or need they’ll be happy to hand over their email addresses. This will allow you to grow both your brand and audience online.
14. Use video content
The written word is still an effective way to share your story and get your point across, but video is quickly becoming the medium of choice for content creators. This is because studies show that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from their favorite brands.
Luckily, creating videos is easier than ever. Virtually every smartphone has the ability to shoot HD video and free video editing software is readily available.
You can post standalone videos on your social media pages and website, or you can include accompanying videos with your blogs and landing pages. This way people can choose to either read or watch your content.
And if you really want to go all-in on video you can start a YouTube channel or TikTok account.
15. Create new content consistently
If you want to continue to build your online presence you can’t standstill. Other content creators are out there creating new content daily, so you need to keep up if you want to stay relevant. This goes for social media, your blog, and anywhere else you’re posting content.
For most social media platforms posting at least once a day is recommended. However, if you can’t keep up with that schedule aim for at least two to three times per week. For your blog, try to post something every week or every other week.
That being said, quantity isn’t everything. You also need to make sure to…
16. Post quality content
In the early days of the internet, marketers could get away with stuffing sub-par content with lots of keywords in order to rank high in search results.
But search engines eventually caught on and have changed their algorithms to stop people from gaming the system. Internet users are also a lot savvier these days and expect more from the content they read.
So, whether you’re creating content for your website, social media, or blog, make sure it offers value to your audience.
When you’re tackling a subject consider the following:
- What questions do readers have about this subject?
- What information have other top-rated posts/articles included?
- What information is lacking in existing content?
Google’s goal is to reward the best content, so if your work is consistently better than your competitors’ you’ll eventually start seeing results.
17. Engage with your audience
Sometimes entrepreneurs and marketers get into the bad habit of simply talking to their customers. But you should also be talking with your customers.
Did someone ask you a question on social media? Answer it. Got a positive review on an online directory? Respond and thank them for their feedback. Did your latest blog result in a few comments? Reply and start a conversation.
By doing this you’ll grow a friendly and welcoming community that more people will want to be a part of.
18. Make all your content mobile-friendly
57.38% of all online traffic is mobile, so you need to make sure that everywhere you’re posting content is mobile-friendly. All social media apps are designed for mobile these days, which means it’s mostly just your website you’ll have to worry about.
The simplest solution is to use a website builder that’s mobile-friendly. For example, all of Leadpages’ templates are designed to display on both tablets and mobile devices. There are also device-specific display settings in the builder that let you show or hide sections on certain devices to ensure your site always displays properly.
19. Network with other businesses and entrepreneurs in your industry
Too often entrepreneurs look at others in their industry as competitors. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Every business is unique, and while you might occupy the same space you’re not always a direct competitor. Maybe you’re a business coach for young entrepreneurs while someone else is a consultant for moms who want to start their own business. The two of you likely have a lot you could learn from each other.
And even if you are targeting the same audience that doesn’t mean you have to be enemies. You might be surprised that when you start networking with other businesses in your industry they’ll be happy to help, give advice, and maybe even share your content with their followers.
20. Embrace diversity
More than ever before companies are embracing diversity. This is long overdue, as equal representation helps marginalized groups feel recognized and accepted. However, there are additional benefits to being inclusive.
According to recent data, 83% of people point to better representing modern society as the reason marketing campaigns were impactful in a positive way. So embracing diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.
Using more diverse images in your marketing, hiring team members from different backgrounds, and featuring contributors from various minority groups are all ways to boost your representation.
21. Copy your competitors
Just to be clear, we don’t condone copying people’s work or plagiarizing. But if there’s someone else in your industry who’s successful there’s no harm in analyzing their business to see if there’s anything you can replicate.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Who are they targeting?
- What platforms are they on?
- What type of content is working for them?
Once you have the answers to these questions incorporate those insights into your own business plan.
That being said, it’s also important to do your own thing to separate yourself from the crowd. That’s why you have to…
22. Build a unique and distinctive brand
The rise of the internet means consumers have access to more products, services, and brands than ever before. As a result, businesses face a lot more competition these days.
No matter how great your idea is chances are there’s someone else out there doing something fairly similar to you. If you want to build your online presence you need to cut through the noise and stand out.
Here are a few tips for creating a unique brand:
- Leverage your personality: There’s only one you, so embrace it. Make your unique personality a part of your brand.
- Get specific about who you’re targeting: One of the easiest ways to differentiate yourself is to target an audience that no one else is going after.
- Think about how you want to deliver your content: Consider the tone of voice (more personal, more professional, etc.) and the type of imagery you want to use.
Taking these simple steps can help you adapt a business idea that’s been done before and make it your own.
23. Track your results
As you’re growing your online presence you’ll need a way to track your progress.
Is what you’re doing working? Are there any gaps in your strategy? What can you do better? These are all questions you’ll need answers to along your journey.
Before you launch your website make sure you have a way to track data like traffic and conversions. Leadpages offers a user-friendly dashboard that does just that, so you always know how well your site is performing.
For more advanced analytics, sign up for Google Analytics (which also integrates with Leadpages) and monitor your social analytics on the various platforms you post on.
By keeping up to date with your data you’ll identify what’s driving results so you can do more of that. You’ll also spot potential issues early, allowing you to change course sooner.
And if you want to optimize your content even more you can…
24. Perform A/B tests
When it comes to content and copy, there are plenty of best practices to follow. Even still, it’s not always easy to know what will convert and what won’t. That’s why top marketers perform A/B tests.
With this strategy, you’ll create two different versions of a page in order to test a specific element. For example, you might test two different headlines or two different hero images. After enough time has passed you can check the results to see which version performed better.
A/B tests used to be complicated, but today there are plenty of tools available to help you perform your tests. For example, Leadpages offers an A/B testing tool for landing pages that you can access right in your account.
25. Never stop learning
As you start to find success you might start to think you know everything there is about building an online presence. Don’t fall into this trap. Digital marketing is constantly evolving and the second you stop learning you’ll be left behind.
Continue to seek out new knowledge. Luckily, a lot of the information you need is free (like the free training offered by Leadpages) so the only real investment is your time.
This mindset will allow you to stay ahead of the trends instead of always chasing them.
26. Be patient
Like anything worth doing, building a strong online presence takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight. It could take months or even years to reach the level you want.
You likely won’t see explosive results early on, so it’s important to stick with it even when it feels like you’re talking to an empty room. If you work hard, create quality content, and produce value you’ll eventually grow your audience and customers.
Ready to start building your online presence?
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