Image: gerlos via Flickr
The web just keeps gaining significance in the world of small business and it’s no longer enough to think about your web site as your web strategy.
Marketing today means building a great deal of your thinking around a total web presence. I suspect you’ve heard this before because this idea is one that is being voiced by just about anyone that’s online today, but I encounter business owner after business owner frustrated with trying wrap their head around this idea in a practical sense.
For today’s post I would like to outline what I think is a very practical and doable approach to building your total online presence. You can build your web presence out fully by taking action in each of the five station of work below. Think of each station as a bucket. You need to start adding to each bucket in a systematic way, but don’t try to fill one bucket before you move to the next – put a little in each bucket and keep returning. This way you’ll build momentum in the short view, while building value in the long view.
The Listening Station
Your online marketing will benefit greatly when you take the time to monitor what’s being said by others. Creating an automated way to do this, something I call a listening station, is a base strategy these days.
- Create Google Alerts to monitor your brand, products, competitors and industry
- Use tools like to Social Mention and Postling to get deeper analysis of what’s being said – even on review sites like Yelp!
- Find and subscribe to industry or related blogs and feed them into Google Reader for quick scanning
- Create Digg and delicious accounts to quickly scan what’s hot and what’s new
- Put key journalists in a Google Alerts track so you can participate when they write or blog
Content As Hub
I’m going with the assumption that you have web content that describes your business, tells your story, outlines your products and services and maybe even showcases a few client success stories. That’s good, that’s a start, but now you need to go to work on consistent content creation – the kind that builds trust, draws links, and educates.
- Add a blog, sorry you must do this, better still, build your entire web site with WordPress
- Create a lists of related or local bloggers using Google BlogSearch and placeblogger as potential guest blog hosts
- Submit keyword rich articles to article directory sites
- Keep a notebook of every question a prospect or customer asks and create blog post answers and FAQ pages
- Stick a camera in front of your best clients and get them to share how important your business is to them
- Turn your sales presentation into a slide deck and post it to your site
Pushing Out Assets
- Create YouTube, Flickr, and Slideshare accounts and post your videos, images, and slides with complete keyword rich descriptions of each
- Claim and enhance your Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local profiles
- Build a LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn Company Page complete with lots of links back to your site, blog, and events
- Create an Official Facebook Page (that’s what they are calling Fan Pages these days)
- Claim and enhance your company pages on review sites like Yelp and CitySearch and start participating in the review process
- Build profiles in social networks beyond Facebook and LinkedIn – here are 13 good ones
- Use your Facebook Page as a way to create awareness about events and content and as another vehicle to reach prospect with fresh content
- Ask and answer questions on LinkedIn Answers – it can be an interesting way to showcase your expertise
- Use a tool like Flowtown to figure out which of your prospects and customers are the most active in social networks and equip them to be ambassadors
- Learn how to mine Twitter for leads and opportunities – I share some useful ways here
- Create events and groups on MeetUp and bring like minded people together
- Use project and customer portal tools like Central Desktop to create a place where your customers can access information and collaborate
- Get your customers involved in creating community through the use of a wiki that allows them to share and generate ideas
- Create a group blog that features content contributed by your team of strategic partners
- Set-up Facebook Groups and add your customers and prospects so you can host live group chats and peer to peer discussions
- Add the peep.ly service to your directory so visitors can see who you have in common social networks
That should get you started, but expand your thinking beyond the action steps above. In fact, share more action steps in the comments here!