The Benefits and Challenges of a Strong Online Presence
Looking at the Different Facets of Your Companies Online Presence and How They Impact Each Other
In the past few weeks I’ve seen an unusual number of blog posts and articles appear about how social media is greatly impacting your search ranking. It was one of those blogging anomalies. Everyone (in my industry at least) decided to write on the same topic at once. Which sort of surprised me because it’s not really news (you can expect similar articles to pop up when there is a new development in any industry). I don’t want to sound condescending though – it’s more that I’m surprised to see the trend than anything else. It’s important information for you to know and it’s absolutely true.
This article will focus on something a little different. There’s a bigger perspective here that I really want you to see: Every facet of your online presence impacts every other facet. Your website, blog, search engine optimization (SEO), ad campaigns, social media, mobile app/website, and even your promotional email are all interconnected. While these elements are (at their core) separate, they each cross-over and impact each other. The lines between what is SEO, social media, email, web development, etc… are quickly becoming blurred. It’s becoming harder to define where each ends and the other begins.
This is both a good and a bad thing. On the positive side, those who have a rich online presence will receive a lot of benefit from it. On the negative, it increases the importance (and cost) of properly implementing many different facets in your online presence. Let’s quickly look at this challenge and then get to discussing a positive solution.
The Challenge to an Interconnected Web Presence
The fact is that your web presence is interconnected. The problem is that you can’t know everything. There isn’t one individual that can be good at website optimization, blogging, SEO, advertising, social media, mobile development, and email marketing. Even Internet marketers, who spend all their time studying the industry, can’t hope to learn enough about all the different facets to do it all. This means that you’ll need to rely on a number of specialized professionals to get it all done right. And those professionals will have overlapping skill sets. Or worse, skill gaps of which you may not even be aware.
It will become more difficult to define clear job descriptions. Communication between contractors and team members will also be important to manage. If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably seeing the dollar signs right about now. It can get expensive to find, hire, and manage all of these professionals just in order to compete with those who can afford an in-house marketing team.
This might leave you feeling a little frustrated or distressed. Let’s turn the focus to a solution.
The Two Pieces to a Complete Solution
Do you want to create a rich online presence that brings you more business? There are two things you’ll need to make this happen.
1) A deep understanding of your own businesses message to your market. It may surprise you that this has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet. But it’s a critical first step to developing an effective online presence. It’s about the core of your business, organization, or personal brand. You need to know who you are, what you stand for, and what people benefit by hiring you (or buying your products). Really clarify this in your mind and amongst your employees. Your message is truly what ties all the different facets of your online presence together.
By knowing your business message and not compromising your market perception, you can begin to build a consistent online presence. When you know what your core message is, you have a gauge by which to measure every blog article, tweet, video, web page, and piece of online content. This will make decision making on each piece of content quick and decisive. Plus, you’ll be able to communicate this message to your contractors or employees so that they can produce content that matches your message.
2) Hire a full service Internet marketing agency. In full disclosure my company, devEdge Internet Marketing, is a full service Internet marketing agency. But before you write me off as self-serving, please hear me out. Another concern you may have right now, especially if you’re a small business owner, is the cost associated with this. We’ll discuss that concern as well.
Part of building a strong online presence is also building and managing an expert team. A good Internet marketing agency will already have a solid team in place and will manage things on your behalf. Taking a huge amount of responsibility and knowledge requirement off of your plate. You’re left only to find 1 competent agency instead of up to a half-dozen contractors. This will save you time, money, and stress.
While you are looking for a good Internet marketing agency, don’t necessarily pick the first one that you find. Sadly, there are still a lot of untrustworthy Internet marketers out there. Instead, engage each agency in a conversation. They should be open about how they get their results and honest about their short-comings. Nobody is perfect, but the ones that admit they aren’t perfect are much more trustworthy. The agencies should be able to explain things to you clearly and in a way that you understand. If they start talking about something that sounds mysterious or magical to you, it’s probably not a good sign. Finally, if you are cost-sensitive, seek an Internet marketing agency that is performance based. This means they’ll only charge you based on the results they get for you. Make sure that the pricing structure and goals you set are mutually beneficial to you and your agency.
When everybody wins, you can begin to trust that the other party has your best interests at heart.
What Do You Think?
We’ve quickly explored how every facet of your online presence impacts every other facet. We took a deeper look at the problem of finding, hiring, and managing an expert team to implement a strong online presence. Then I gave you my take on a solution. Now I’m curious what you think. Would you agree or disagree? Is there a different solution that you’d suggest? Did this cause you to think of something else? Please leave your comments below.