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Posted on January 4, 2018 | Angela Shugarts
Over the past few months, we’ve focused on several content pieces that answer one of the most common questions we hear from clients: why can’t people find me online? Meaning their business, of course, which inspired us to compile a series of posts related to the topic.
We knew the answer wasn’t cut and dry. There isn’t usually ONE thing that prevents your target audience from finding you amongst the sea of sameness in the digital world. There are several factors that may affect your brand’s ability to “rise to the top.”
Lack of social media strategy
While our clients may have a frequent publishing schedule on social media, we find they sometimes lack the strategic insight to make those posts really work for their business. Our blog on Strategies to Social Media Success walks businesses through the strategic thinking required to make social media posts the best they can be and reach the right audiences.
In addition to a step-by-step guide to maximizing Facebook posts, we also created an Ultimate Social Media Cheat Sheet for businesses and social media managers to keep at their desk when creating content.
Overlooking PPC (and other digital strategies)
When you Google your business, what do you see on the “results” page? Does your brand’s website appear on the first page? Above the fold? If not, there are digital strategies including pay-per-click ads that can help your brand cut through the clutter and capture the coveted first page position on search engines.
As our digital expert Joe Kahler states, “The time has come when companies must ante up for paid search ads if they want to ensure a piece of the search traffic pot.” The reality is, people are online more than ever and attached to their screens. It’s time to make sure your brand considers paid and earned media methods to be found online.
Disrupting the marketplace with compelling messaging
Your brand identity is critical in any channel, but especially online. If you are not clear with who you are, what you stand for, and what you offer customers/clients, you will not stand out amongst competitors. Crafting a compelling positioning statement that defines your brand’s difference and avoiding these brand messaging mistakes are great first steps toward creating a strong brand identity that people will pay attention to.
Missing the target with your target audiences
Sometimes, businesses believe their target audiences are everyone. But we know that when businesses try to target everyone in the world, they’re ultimately reaching few. This thinking is tied to the idea that if you attempt to share your message in a full stadium of fans, few will ultimately hear it because of the sheer noise of the environment. The same holds true when understanding how to define and reach your target audiences. But keep in mind that some people are a poor fit to target. For example, don’t advertise adult diapers to teens or promote junk food to fitness enthusiasts. Although it may not always be that obvious, there is a right target market for your product and a bunch of markets that just don’t make sense.
Not using the marketing funnel to inform communication efforts
This recommendation tends to be placed on the back-burner for clients when tactical efforts overshadow the importance of simply taking a step back and understanding your target audience’s buying behavior. If it helps, tape the marketing funnel process next to your desk space to serve as a constant reminder that all your communication efforts (from social posts to brand messages to marketing campaigns) should address parts of the funnel.
For example, use PR strategies to generate awareness for your brand; host events to build connections and encourage people to consider an investment with your brand; develop email nurturing campaigns to drive traffic to your site and get users to “add to cart;” then target existing customers with targeted advertisements to encourage brand loyalty.
Drinking your own Kool-Aid
As a business executive, you may be hearing many recommendations from your employees, marketing partners, and even personal contacts regarding how to boost your business’ online presence; with so many voices telling you what to do, you may be hesitant to invest in any of them without knowing the ROI. It’s important to set clear goals and have a willingness to experiment with various marketing strategies in order to benchmark current online presence and aim higher.
At the end of the day, your business’ online presence may be tied to your bottom line–so tap into your self to understand when you’re making data-driven decisions and when you’re just drinking your own Kool-Aid. You can’t rush the process, solely depend on numbers to drive marketing tactics, or directly tie all marketing efforts to sales—so, avoid being the roadblock and let your marketing team’s expertise shine.
So, there you have it, a few recommendations to get your brand on the path to online domination. Of course, there are a plethora of other communication strategies that we didn’t touch on (like media relations), that your business should consider in order to stay current in the sea of online activity. The digital world is always changing, so don’t get caught up in the weeds, focused on one of these six communication methods. All need to be integrated into your marketing effort in order to see maximum results. There is no “one-and-done” effort to boost your online presence.
- Angela Shugarts