Editor's Update 05/07/20:
What is meant by having an online presence? An online presence is when a business can be found online via an internet search. For businesses, this means that customers can find their website on search engine results pages.
Nowadays, most businesses also have a strong online presence on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Small business web presence is so important as it levels the playing field to compete with larger companies.
When small businesses have a strong web presence they can increase their audience reach, create stronger brand awareness with cost-efficient methods and boost a business's reputation and credibility.
How can you create a professional online presence for your business?
Here are just some of the ways to create a professional online presence:
- Create a brand and establish the core values and visual style of your business. Ensure your brand is consistent across all online marketing channels so that you are easily recognisable to your potential and existing customers.
- Build a website for your business to promote your brand, products or services.
- Create social media accounts and get active in your online social communities to nurture customer relationships. Share interesting and engaging content, initiate polls and discussions and share news and business updates to keep followers well informed.
This small business selling security services and products to professionals, other small businesses (B2B) and homeowners is a start-up that didn't start like most.
This client was lucky; he got the right contracts and maintained them.
Now a few years in, earnings have capped. He has come to me as a consultant, where he expects advice to take his company to the next level.
How did this security business grew from zero web presence to second-page listing in Google search (in under 4 months)?
The problem is simple –
How does he reach a new market and grow without bursting his budget? It is a matter for him to see the opportunities around him, turn the negatives of crime into a profit while creating solutions for others. Read on to learn how I helped this company elevate their brand.
The Goal: Expanding the business without investing too much money to add a new location or moving to a larger space.
1. Establishing a web presence
2. Attracting and converting visitors to the site
3. Making visitors repeat customers
4. Cementing business' content marketing strategy
1. Ranked on Google's second page
2. Gone from a Facebook page to having a complete online presence
3. A thriving community
BUSINESS OVERVIEW – Personal security available to you
This is a small business selling security services and products to professionals, other small businesses (B2B) and homeowners.
This is the start-up that never really started like the others. In that this client took his idea of security to the market, got contracts and stayed there, not going on the typical entrepreneur journey of struggle nor a proper setup, just he had great contacts.
Now a few years in; earnings have capped, and the client has come to me as a Consultant, where he expects he will get the advice he needs to take his company to the next level. These were his top questions:-
- “What are the ways that the business can expand without me laying out too much money to add a new location or move to larger space?”
- “How do I go about diversifying the product or service line to achieve growth?”
- “How do I know the time is right to grow the business?”
THE PROBLEM – How to reach new people
The client had a problem as to how to reach new markets. Questions 2 & 3 will be answered in a follow-up session, but for now, I will address the real issue, question 1. That I see as the main success factor; just he doesn’t yet see it’s potential.
In recent times security has become more of a problem, crime has risen significantly with murder rates steadily increasing, extortion at an all time high and Government efforts useless in deterring criminals, the security industry has not only gained momentum from business looking to secure their properties but from individual homeowners, communities and families looking to secure home, persons and assets.
All this out there and with improved technology around security the number of businesses requesting security has increased but as earnings capped this company has realized the need to appeal to clients outside of their circles to sustain this business and grow. As you see we have a small business pondering it’s next steps as to growth as earnings have capped out. Before starting work with me, they had almost no web presence. Just a Facebook business page that was not maintained, I think the last update was more than a year ago.
THE PLAN – Create a web presence
Though the company had contracts, we immediately recognized they lacked online presence. Communicating their brand vividly would be crucial and implement search engine optimization that would connect with potential clients would be equally needed. They also needed a marketing plan to include a social media strategy that would tap into the online communities that were already talking about crime. In the end, the goal became:-
1. Establishing a web presence
- Building a website and adding e-commerce
- Social media – build out Facebook and claim to list on other sites
- Attracting visitors to the site
- Convert visitors to customers
- Get said visitors as repeat customers
- Content marketing – White papers/ blog site/ video/ sase studies/tip sheets
- Get past clients recommendations/ testimonials
This is the effort needed to convince those undecided web browsers who are searching for answers; to choose their services as they will appear to be a more credible company.
THE PROCESS – Launching an online strategy
It took 3 months to come to life – the online marketing plan, based on the initial consultation my broad statement was “as you are not yet online this should be your next goal” … “it is a sure thing that businesses that are online appear more credible and will grow faster than those who are not”.
Throughout the consultation, it was clear they knew how to make and maintained connections but they were not getting many contracts. The office seemed to be a welcoming environment for both customers and employees, it became clear the marketing plan had to transfer, i.e. reflect that same vibe online to get visitors to make a query, visit the office and ultimately culminating in a sale or contract.
I offered solutions in my bid to get them to realize there are opportunities in technology and conversion in e-commerce. I analyzed a few trends with them to show how e-commerce could move them ahead of the competition.
THE WEBSITE – Building a professional website with many purposes
The elements that went into the design of the website were:
1. To position the company as a leader in crime prevention.
2. To show the security personnel on locations as well trained, responsible and mature professionals.
3. To show the company as accommodating – they had solutions for those on a budget.
The purposes of the elements were to meet the needs of the various visitors to the site which were classed as:
1. Those who had a security system and were looking to upgrade or improve.
2. Those who needed security services – personnel or camera monitoring system.
3. Budget sensitive shoppers.
4. First-time visitors- those who are gathering information about the company or products in a bid to decide on a provider.
5. Security pros – those looking for partnerships i.e. to form international alliances such as looking for a local company to provide additional security for their international executives and diplomats.
The elements and their purposes were in place, so I outlined a content strategy that would highlight their unique story to provide the online visitors with the information they would need to make the decision to choose them. Such as:-
1. A professional looking welcome page.
2. The warm team atmosphere at the company.
3. Their services and how to contact them.
After the site was established the following recommendations were suggested to complete the successful launch.
1. Strategies to see how marketing affects profitability.
2. Include strong and clear call to actions on certain pages.
3. Demo pages showing how a camera monitoring system could benefit a buyer.
4. Answers to anticipated FAQ – frequently asked questions.
5. Tie in with social media.
6. Blog site for content marketing.
7. Online listings in directories.
8. Appointment automation.
The following recommendations were implemented:
1. Maintenance of social media and blog site.
2. Online listing.
3. Appointment automation.
ONLINE LISTING IN DIRECTORIES - Optimising the listings to connect with potential clients and stakeholders
After the website’s launch, I covered more online territory via claiming and optimizing their listing across popular online directories and search engines like Google and Yahoo! Most people looking for a product or service start with an online search to gather information, so it’s important to ensure they are there when people search.
These listings were the optimization I spoke of at the initial consultation (we spoke widely, the questions were many) and I included it to show how they can bring critical information to the fore in a search; as website link, physical address and directions via Google maps, opening hours, phone numbers etc. and more such as photos of the office, their logo, ways to make an appointment and request info and more on the business such as it’s history, brand of products sold, what people are saying about them, etc.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING – Creating a community
After some work and constant promoting via advertising, the company got their Facebook business page up to par and even acquired a few page “likes” (they had none) – the reach is still at a minimum 200+ at last check. In order to build and connect with more “fans”; I am in the process of developing a Facebook strategy that I hope will:-
1. Get more clients and potentials to “like” the Facebook page and recommend the company by running targeted advertisements using Facebook and another medium – print, and radio.
2. Make clients and potential who liked the Facebook page and those seeking information or tips, want to join the Facebook Group that will be set up to provide security tips and more.
3. Build a real strong community through its Facebook Group that connects real people to each other while providing free tips and support to members of the community to keep them safe.
THE RESULT – Attracting more business online
With the aid of outsourcing, I was able to complete this project in a few months. The client has grown their business via the internet with e-commerce where they established a store front and social media where they have expanded their reach. Therefore, they did expand without laying out a large amount of money for the layout of a new location and setup costs.
They have gained a small social media following and leads through the website which has culminated in sales so daily they are answering calls and making deliveries which could in the future lead to the hire of a driver to do deliveries.
They are ranked on Google’s 2nd page when they are searched in their category so with time they will improve in rankings with the strategies planned.
In short, they have gone from a Facebook Page with no real presence (as it was not maintained – essentially abandoned) to having a complete online presence that includes:-
1. A modern, mobile-responsive website.
2. Optimized (SEO) directory and search engine listings.
3. A community via the Facebook Group established.
In essence, the goals were achieved and more; they have the visibility they never had with a following.
1. The community is thriving; it is larger than the Facebook page.
2. They can send offers to the community at any time.
3. And the community is used for its intended purpose, people go there for security tips, support, and demonstrations.
Do you need help with
There are 255 digital marketing experts on standby