What does having an online presence mean to you? Do you have a website, maybe a regular newsletter? Do you post the occasional blog? Ask yourself, does this really add up to a marketing strategy?

The first challenge, for many businesses, is to actually create an online presence, but the real hard work starts when you consider building it to make it something truly effective.

The Basics
Have you got a website, and if so, do you understand what it?s for? This is a serious question, because a website is actually a strategic marketing tool. If you?ve created your website but pretty much left it at that, as a static thing, then you really aren?t making the most of its potential.

Your website has to attract and engage your target audience. So is it designed to work like this ? are you asking your target audience the right questions and providing the right answers? You need to ensure your tone of voice is correct and that your brand and its values are clearly expressed.

Don?t settle for being simply online; ensure that your website is active and working for you.

You have to consider SEO ? search engine optimisation ? because you want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you. Do your keyword research, make sure your site is talking about the things your audience is looking for.

Your business blog is not some confessional dear diary ? it?s the means by which you can constantly refresh your site and communicate with your customer-base. The idea is to produce educational, informative and attractive content that is rich in keywords. And you should do it regularly.

Your blogs should bring people to your site by making them feel like they are choosing you, rather than you pushing content at them. This is pull marketing, and it helps you grow your online presence.

Email Marketing
Build a valuable asset for your business by getting your online followers to subscribe to your emails.

This will help you to create a real dialogue with your subscribers, and you can vary the content, from newsletters to bulletins and ebooks.

Sharing Through Social Media
SEO is not the only thing you should rely on to get yourself noticed and make your online presence more effective.

Social media channels are ideal for sharing your content. This is about you choosing the appropriate channels, those used by your target audience, and using them to connect.

But remember to always keep your material customer-focussed. The blogs, articles and other content you share should be empathic to your audience?s needs and interests.

Be organised about it: have a schedule for your social media activity and stick to it. Find out the best times to share through particular channels to reach the audience you seek.

Measure the Results
It?s vital that you test and measure your online activity to be able to further refine it and make it truly effective.

There are various analytical tools and metrics you can access to find out who?s visiting your website, and which pages get the most traffic.

You also need to be aware of your website?s conversion rate ? how many of those clicks from visitors are turning into actual enquiries?

At Reform Creative we know how valuable an online presence is when it comes to business, and we know how to help businesses become more effective online. We?re a design agency based in Manchester. Give us a call.

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