It’s hard isn’t it?
Yes, I’m talking about establishing your brand online. As you have probably learned, you can’t just throw up a cool-looking website and then expect thousands of visitors to come flocking to it.
It doesn’t work that way. And it’s pretty frustrating, right? You’ve probably dabbled in social media. You may have even written a few blog posts.
But nobody comes to visit. And you’re probably about to lose your mind.
To add salt to the wound, you have probably seen many business owners make it look easy. How do they get so many visitors and subscribers?
Here’s reality: it’s not easy at all. Building a strong online presence takes a lot of time and hard work. But that’s not all. It also requires you to make sure you’re taking the right steps. After all, you don’t want to waste time working hard on something that isn’t going to get you anywhere, do you?
Online Branding Steps
That’s what this post is about. In this post, I’m going to give you some basic pointers that will set you on the path to building a thriving online presence. You will learn the steps you need to take to begin improving web traffic, getting more subscribers, and converting customers.
Start Your Blog
If you have done any reading on online marketing, you’ve already learned why blogging is important for business owners. Blogs remain one of the most powerful tools for expanding your influence, building credibility, and getting more exposure for your business.
Businesses who blog earn tons more leads than those that don’t.
Here are some of the benefits of blogging:
- Blogging improves your search engine rankings, making it easier for prospective clients to find your business online.
- It increases the likelihood that prospects will become paying clients.
- Blogs are a great way to build your email list.
So why don’t more entrepreneurs blog? Well, one of the reasons is because they believe it’s too hard to build and maintain one.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are steps you can follow to establish a high-quality blog.
Start Creating Content
After you have chosen your platform and web host, and your blog is completely set up, you need to start creating content. This is the part you’ve been waiting for, right?
Not so fast.
Before you start writing content you need to have a plan. You don’t want to just start writing whatever you feel like writing. You need to know what type of content you need to write.
Fortunately, this isn’t too hard. You just need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of information does my audience need? What questions are they asking?
- What types of blog posts would work the best for my readers?
- What have others in my industry written about? How can I take a unique approach?
Here’s the thing: you’re not just writing content for the sake of writing content. Each blog post you write needs to have one objective: to benefit your readers as much as possible.
People don’t read content that isn’t helpful. Chances are, if they came to your blog it’s because they believe you’re providing information that they need. You need to deliver the goods!
Create Your Social Media Strategy
Creating a blog is an important step, but it’s pretty much useless if nobody reads it, right? That’s where social media comes in.
Social media is the best way to promote your content and your business. It’s the tool you will use to attract visitors to your blog and your website. An effective social media strategy can get your website more exposure and enable you to interact with your audience.
Use The Right Social Media Platform
Before implementing a social media strategy, you need to know which platforms to use. Otherwise, you might be wasting a lot of time posting on platforms that your audience doesn’t use.
The key is to find out which social media platforms are best for your target market. You have to understand the demographics that make up your audience. Fortunately, you may already know this if you’re familiar with your industry.
Build Your Email List
When you start earning more traffic from your content marketing and social media efforts, it’s time to start converting these visitors into subscribers. This is how you will build your online audience and keep in touch with your followers.
Not only is email marketing great for building and nurturing your audience, it’s a highly effective way to get more customers. Email marketing is 40 times more effective than using only social media to attract business.
Give A Compelling Offer
How many times have you visited a website and been offered something cool for free? No doubt you’ve probably downloaded at least a few ebooks, checklists, and other types of content from sites that had valuable information to share.
Chances are, you only had to type in your email address, then download the goods, right?
So why does this work? Well it’s a little thing called the “reciprocity principle.” It simply means that if you give something valuable to another person, they will be more willing to give you something that you want.
In order to get subscribers, you have to offer something valuable. You can’t expect your visitors to give you their highly-prized email address if they’re not going to get anything out of it.
The great thing about this is that it’s not too difficult. You just have to think of what types of information would be the most valuable to your visitors.
Here are a few examples of free offers you can give to your readers:
- Cheat sheets
- White papers
- A free consultation
- A video teaching
Not too hard right? But here’s the key: it has to be something that goes deeper than the value you’re already providing on your blog. You have to give them a reason to want it.
Engage With Your Audience
After you have gained permission to contact your visitors, you need to engage with them. This is where you will develop your email marketing campaigns.
When email your list, you don’t want to send only promotional materials. Similar to social media campaigns, email marketing should be used to provide value to your readers. Otherwise, they will stop opening your emails. They may even unsubscribe.
You don’t want that, right?
Figure out ways you can give your readers more of what they want: helpful information. Here are some suggestions:
- Send updates on your latest blog posts.
- Give content that only your email list gets to see.
- Ask for some feedback from your audience. It’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your subscribers.
- Give your readers a “behind the scenes” look at what your business is doing.
When you’re focused on providing more value with your email marketing, your readers will be more likely to spend their money with you. You don’t want to send a ton of sales emails if you’re not also providing a benefit to your readers.
Building an online footprint isn’t easy. It does take time. You will need to work hard to promote your website and build a healthy following. Most businesses don’t get instant results.
But if you’re consistent, you will be able to build an engaged audience. It does require perseverance, but when you finally start getting more clients, the hard work will pay off.
This article was written by Jeff Charles and originally appeared on Small Business Trends [link].