Friday, July 15, 2011

 

Four keys to building (or improving) your online presence

Ask most people how to build out or improve your online presence and they'll immediately get tactical. They'll tell you you absolutely must be on Twitter. Or that you have to build your site a certain way. Or write everything with SEO in mind.

And they might be right. But before you can execute, you have to put your entire online presence and strategy in context. The best online strategies (for enterprise organizations as well as small businesses) focus on the following four key areas:

Customers
Everything you do is for them. You need to know who they are, who you're targeting and prioritizing, where they hang out, who they hang out with, and so on. The more you understand this customer or prospective customer audience, the more their behavior will tell you where to be, how to write and how to interact.

Content
In a variety of formats - written, audio, video, and driven by your customer's preferences - content is the engine that will drive performance, engagement and action with your customers and prospects online. You need to translate your customer's needs and pain points into advice, recommendations, best practices and other content specifically focused on helping your customers succeed.

Community
Marketing will never be a one-way street ever again. To quickly earn trust and credibility, you need to comment, connect, engage and otherwise interact with your customer and prospect community. Even if you're not engaging 24/7, at minimum make it very easy to engage with you, or respond to something you've published. Better yet, find other places online where your customers are participating and join in right with them, not as a seller but as a peer.

Call to Action
Never leave your customers or prospects with a dead end. Put yourself in their shoes - what would they need next? What additional article would be valuable as a follow-up to what they just read? What additional information will they likely want to request after educating themselves? Include and measure calls to action throughout your online presence.

By having a plan that includes each of the above four components, you can get tactical and execute with confidence that you're engaging the right people in the right places with the right content, with an end game in mind.

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