Building an Online Presence for your Business

(This article can be found on Commercial Property Executive's Real Take blog where RDM President Peter Boritz blogs about topics in Technology and Real Estate.)

Creating an “Online Presence” for your business means more than simply having a company website. In today’s information-hungry world, your business should have multiple means to get messages to new and prospective clients, as well as industry-related news and articles to show that you are staying on top of the industry.

As the market begins to thaw, now is a great time to review your company’s online strategies and, if necessary, make improvements. Here are five tips to help get you on the way to building an online presence for your business.

Step 1: Define goals and modify your company’s website to support your goals

Create goals that include ways to differentiate your business from your competitors and focus on capturing leads.
Keep in mind that your company website should be concise and to the point with a homepage which answers what your company does and why customers trust your business.
Create a “Contact” page which clearly explains to customers how to get in touch with your business. Remember, your website serves as the hub for your business, be sure to include all of your other web efforts, such as blogs, on your contact page.

Step 2: Create a company blog
Maintaining a company blog shows new and existing clients you are an expert in the industry and as such you are current on topics and issues which may arise.
Use your blog to provide opinions about the market, be a voice of the company and stay in contact with new and existing clients. Blogging serves as a great way to get repeat visitors to your website and can create a sense of trust in your business making new clients more likely to utilize your services.
Check out some of the free blog sites such as Blogger, Wordpress or TypePad to start your blog and be sure to provide a link it to your website and let your clients know about your blogging efforts.

Step 3: Email marketing
Email marketing techniques are a simple and fast way to build leads from your website visitors. Provide an email signup on your website to allow visitors to join your company email list.
Create email marketing initiatives such as newsletters, client announcements and upcoming company events which can be sent to those on your list.

Step 4: Use Social Media
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are perfect resources for connecting with your clients and other professionals in your industry. With an effective website and blog in place, the addition of a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter campaign will help turn one-time visitors into connected consumers who are able to receive updates, links and other information about your company.
Utilize social networking to improve your company’s SEO.

Step 5: Online Video
Online videos give you the ability to demonstrate your products or services to prospective and existing customers rather than tell them about it. Some things to keep in mind:
• Keep your video between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long
• Be sure voiceovers are understandable
• If you place music in the video, make sure it isn’t overpowering
• Always remember to keep your message simple and to the point
• Embed your video on your company website and add a “share this” button for others to easily send to their social networks

For more on how to Build Your Business Online Presence, see Peter’s video on CPE TV