Online-absent organizations may find it difficult to be taken seriously by consumers. A few years ago, having a website was considered sufficient online presence. By the same token, websites were relatively expensive to build, and difficult to maintain. Today neither is the case.
But having only a website isn’t enough anymore. There are several other tools that can expand your online presence and make your business noticeable. The following valuable additions to your online marketing plan are either free or extremely affordable. All you need is a credit card and Internet access.
A company without a website simply does not exist. The first action prospective consumers will take to research your company is visit your website. If you don’t have one, your competitors already have an edge over you. This is where consumers expect to learn about the organization, the services, products offered, your references, etc. If this information about your company is unavailable online, well, information about your competitors is.
Your Domain Name
Believe it or not, some companies still use Gmail or other free email services. For some odd reason, some of these companies even have domain names yet chose not to use them for their email addresses. Not having (or not using) a proprietary domain name puts an organization at a major disadvantage. Imagine getting an email soliciting your business from a Hotmail address. How serious are you going to take that.
Your Social Media Pages and Channels
The leaders are obviously Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, and a bunch of others. You need to “be there” and have links to your website. If you don’t have much in multimedia content, you might want to skip YouTube and Flickr, but the others have become a must. A great aspect about these tools is that they are very easily linked to each other. So if you publish information on one channel, it is immediately reflected on most of the others as well.
This is a great way to really engage your audience, although you can probably achieve the same result via most social media portals. A blog, however, gives you stronger branding, engages people who simply refuse to setup accounts on social media channels, and gives you more flexibility in designing layout and structure, thus improving your content management. If you are tech-savvy, you can even setup your blog as a website, with sub-pages, features, etc.
Your Email Solution
Sending out unsolicited mass email for promotion purposes has become passé and totally unacceptable. This is not to say that you need to refrain from using email as a key communication tool. However, if you decide to use this channel, you must make sure people opted to receive your messages and can opt out again easily without any hassle. Again, there are plenty of free solutions on the web that are readily available and fairly easy to use. So if setting all this up is so easy, why do some companies lack those tools? Well, one of the main challenges is in coming up with content and continuous updates. Writing the copy text for your website for example is not easy at all. And this doesn’t mean you’re done once you put in the effort and go online. You still have to come up with new content quite frequently. The same goes for the other online channels. Your Facebook page is for free, but so are those of thousands of others who compete with you on “likes.” Remember, it’s the content that makes it all happen.
Last but not least, a great benefit of extensive online presence lies in search results. If you have lots of postings and articles all over your channels, a search will yield a lot of results when people search for you. Not only does this make it easier for people to find you, but they’ll also feel assured that you’re well established and have been in the market for a while.
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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