This article is the sixth chapter in our Digital Marketing Blueprint. Our series includes Identifying Your Marketing Problem (Step #1), Understanding Why Digital Marketing Is the Solution (Step #2), Creating a Digital Marketing Budget for Your Business (Step #3), Getting to Know Your Audience (Step #4), and Examining Your Key Messages (Step #5). Additionally, you can download the full guide here for free!
Step #6: Analyzing Your Existing Online Presence
Having your ideal client nailed down and creating messaging tailored to each persona is a huge step in the right direction!
However, before we can kick off your online marketing strategy (or start developing one, for that matter), we should first analyze your existing online presence.
We must warn you, this is where your Marketing Blueprint gets a lot more technical. Feel free to read it a few times, and if you have any questions, just give us a shout!
Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly / Responsive?
First and foremost, do you have a mobile-friendly website? There is a quick way to test. Simply go to the mobile-friendly Google website checker and put in your URL.
If you get something that looks like the image below, then you’re good to go!
At this point, Google pretty much owns the internet, so whatever Google says goes. A while back, Google instituted an algorithm that essentially gives “points” to mobile-friendly websites. These points go toward increasing your “trust factor” with Google, which helps your website rank higher in search results.
In a nutshell, not having a mobile-friendly website penalizes your ability to show up in search results, which is where your target audience is going to find you (or your competitors).
What Is Responsive Website Design?
You ideally need a responsive website, which is just a fancy way of saying that the website scales based on the device that is used to view it. See the image below to get an idea of what we’re talking about.
It’s the same website (not a separate mobile website) that scales to provide optimal viewing and user experience on every device. It’s also future-proof! If a new, smaller phone appears on the market next month, your website is already prepared for the change.
In short, a responsive website helps Google index your page, and it meets Google’s current “mobile-friendly” criteria. It’s a win-win!
Is Your Information Consistent?
Consistent information about your business (name, address, phone number, etc.) is ridiculously important. If you have ever moved or changed phone numbers, then the internet probably has a variety of inconsistent information out there about your company.
You may be thinking, “So what? The information is correct on my website!” You may be right, but did you know that every bit of inconsistent online information about your business negatively affects how much Google trusts you? If Google doesn’t trust you, then your chances of showing up higher in search results are limited.
Plus, do you know how frustrating it is to have Google tell you that a restaurant you want to try is at a certain location, only to find out it’s not? Chances are, you get annoyed and find somewhere else to eat. Don’t let that happen to your business! It’s important that you don’t give potential customers any excuse to choose your competitor instead of you.
Conduct a quick search of your business across the major directories (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, etc.). Is pertinent information about your business consistent? If not, you need to address that problem in order to help secure your present and future online success.
Are You Active on Social Media?
Love it or hate it, social media is important for your business’s online presence, and it’s continuing to grow. Not only does it provide you with a direct line of communication with your target audience, but it also affects your search engine optimization efforts. (You know, the ability for your website to show up in search results when people search for your products or services.) What does your current social media activity look like? When was the last time you posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (or whatever platform your customers are on)? A stagnant social media presence communicates volumes to potential customers.
What about your company’s branding? Do your social media profiles, website, and offline advertising materials all have a consistent look and feel? Brand consistency is key!
Are You Showing Up in Search Results?
When you search online for your products and services, is your website showing up? Approximately 93% of people utilize search engines for research purposes before deciding to buy. If your company isn’t showing up, then you can pretty much count on the fact that you’re losing business.
Take the time to do some research. Could you find your business if you were in the market for your products or services? If not, then potential customers can’t, either.
Are You Educating Your Target Audience?
A gigantic number of people are online, and that number grows every day. Your immediate reaction to this might be to cast a wide net in an effort to attract as many customers as possible. But in reality, this tactic is counterproductive because it results in a lot of waste.
You don’t want to put your brand in front of just anyone—you want to appear in front of the audience that is most likely to convert to a paying customer for you, and fast. This means you have to carefully narrow down a target audience and then tailor all of your content specifically to the people in that audience.
Once you know who you are talking to, you need to find out what they know and don’t know. And from there, you have created the perfect opportunity for your business to provide your audience with the knowledge they are searching for!
Are You Advertising Online?
Finally, are you advertising online? Paid search engine advertising (pay-per-click) is incredibly affordable when compared to traditional marketing efforts, depending on your industry! Plus, it goes a long way toward putting your brand directly in front of people who are searching for what you’re selling.
If you want to stand out from your competition and stay top-of-mind until your potential customers are ready to buy, then you simply have to be advertising online.
If you are advertising online, what do your ads look like? Are they engaging? Do they go to a landing page that is designed to convert visitors into buyers? If not, it’s time to examine how effective your current advertising strategy is, and then tweak it for optimal success, if needed.
The Bottom Line
Take a real, honest look at how your brand appears online. Are you accurately, thoroughly, and intentionally communicating your brand’s messages and reaching potential customers? You must know where you are before you determine where you’re going.
This article is the sixth chapter in our Digital Marketing Blueprint. Download the full guide here for free!