For small businesses, the Internet presents incredible marketing opportunities that were once only available to much larger organizations. Now anyone, with the right tools and knowledge, can increase their brand’s visibility with a few clicks and a dab of diligence.
Though many of the principles of Internet marketing have remained the same over the years, others have evolved. The onus is on you to make sure your business doesn’t get left behind.
Defining your audience
The most important facet of branding is defining a very specific and highly targeted audience. By narrowing your focus, you’ll be better able to develop specific channels, content, advertisements, design elements and more.
Your brand should already have a target market offline, but it’s useful to note that your online target market won’t necessarily be the same. Similar, yes, but rarely identical.
This is especially true when your product or service is aimed at an older generation; say, 60 and up. There are plenty of seniors online, but millions remain unplugged. That alone tells you something about how to develop your online branding strategy.
Other factors include which websites your target market frequents, whether they have favorite social networking sites, how much time they spend online and what their favorite search engine is.
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Enhance your online visibility with these branding tips
Once you’ve narrowed your audience to a target market, focus on your visibility and online marketing. The key is to not get overwhelmed.
What works for another business might not work for yours. Depending on your target customers and their affinities, you’ll likely pursue several different angles and maximize those capabilities.
That being said, here are some top tips:
Choose your channels
You have a ton of tools available to you online. From social media outlets and blogs to SEO and paid advertising, there’s something for every strategy. A larger budget can handle three, four or five different channels and mediums, but a smaller brand may only be capable of handling a couple. It’s important to know your limits and not stretch your resources too thin.
Your ability to produce fresh, relevant material will enhance your visibility. While there are plenty of forms of content, blogs remain firmly cemented as one of the top, and most cost-effective, choices. Be careful with your approach, though: the Internet is incredibly expansive, and a blog post here and an article there will have the same effect as putting a drop of ink in the ocean. You need either to build up your onsite blog or focus on disseminating content to a few niche or industry blogs that have a professional readership. Over time, the same readers should read your content and relate it to your brand.
Make your brand accessible
One of the beauties of the Internet is that anyone can discover anything. That’s only true if you open up, however. You need to list your information in as many places as possible. Take Park View Legal’s Crunchbase page; not only does it list standard content like where the headquarters is located, contact details, and social media links, but it includes company information and video testimonials. You have to utilize all the online real estate you have.
Learn the SEO basics
If you have the money, invest in professional SEO. If you’re strapped for cash, at least learn the basics and use that knowledge to improve your search rankings and enhance visibility. If you’re working with a WordPress site, a plugin like WordPress SEO is invaluable. It shows you how to optimize each page and post for best results.
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Make your brand known
The Internet is no place for restraint. If your business wants to reach existing customers, add new ones, and promote itself, it’s important to take a proactive stance and market your brand aggressively.
Use these tips as launching points for an effective long-term strategy.