Whether your business is in startup mode or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur who knows there’s room for improvement, 2022 offers many growth opportunities for brands of all sizes. But if you aim to scale this year, you need a reliable business foundation built to last.
As technology has evolved, that business foundation has become primarily digital. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar or not, there’s no denying the fact that the modern consumer is reliant on tech to research, shop, and to make important buying decisions.
Today, businesses must use websites, social media, and digital ads as their virtual billboards, building trust with potential customers from a distance.
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So, if your brand needs a refresher or you simply want a strong rebound from the pandemic, prioritize these three momentum-building strategies to increase awareness, attract more leads, and reach your business goals.
Optimize your digital footprint.
Your digital footprint represents every trace of your brand online, but your website serves as the primary source of brand touchpoints and, ultimately, inquiries. But it requires more than just having an easy-to-remember URL and a pleasing aesthetic (although both are important!).
There are six key elements your website needs to win over its visitors:
- A strong handshake: In other words, an impactful story that clearly states who you are and what you do. Revisit your elevator pitch and make sure your website communicates it from the very first page (“above the fold” in publishing terms).
- Simple navigation: Your website can have all of the beautiful photos and compelling copy that demonstrates your creative prowess, but your navigation must be straightforward and easy to use. Otherwise, people will get lost and find a more accessible website to do their research.
- A “team” section: Every person on your team represents your brand, so potential clients will look for the faces behind your business. People are attracted to storytelling, so skip the stuffy bios and opt for personal narratives instead.
- Your services: People want to know what you can do for them—it’s that simple! Outline your services in detail, showcasing the value you provide for your clients. Remember: Features tell, benefits sell!
- A gallery of photos: This one is pretty simple for creatives, so it’s a matter of curating your portfolio to highlight your very best work. Make sure this page is easy to access!
- Social proof: It’s one thing to say you’re great but entirely different when someone else does. Social proof builds authority through third-party validation, so create a space on your site for testimonials, press features, and award badges.
With these six aspects updated, your website won’t just look nice—it will also function as a conversion machine that illustrates the value your brand offers to its clients.
Refocus your efforts on SEO.
Once your website is optimized, the next step is to make sure it’s easy to find! Google is the most successful search engine because it excels at connecting its users with the content they need. Its algorithms compile over 900 factors when determining which websites rank on the first several pages, but businesses only need to know the three key areas Google values:
- Content SEO
- Offsite SEO
- Technical SEO
Of the three, content SEO is typically the low-hanging fruit as it’s easy to work on, even if you’re not a website developer or SEO strategist. Ask yourself: How will your ideal clients find you on Google?
Consider the keywords that align with your brand and how you can rank on that first (or even second) page. Get specific with long-tail keywords—“Chicago wedding venues West Loop” will provide more SEO value for a Chicago-based venue than simply using “wedding venue.” Collect about 20-30 keywords, then start creating content!
Google wants to find your keywords on your website, blog, and social media channels. Give them what they want! Develop content tailored toward your SEO keywords. For example, a post titled “Modern All-White Wedding at the Four Seasons, Chicago” is far more advantageous than “Julie and Doug’s Wedding.” Be descriptive, using venue names, cities, themes, and colors—terms your ideal clients would type into the search bar.
In addition to titles, make sure to optimize image metadata with your keywords. Google bots cannot “see” your photos, but they can crawl an image’s description and alt text. Fill those areas with easy, SEO-friendly keywords that tell Google what a picture is about and who would find value in it.
If SEO seems complicated, use a tool like Semrush to research the volume of your keywords and adjust your approach accordingly. A keyword that one person searches is as ineffective as one that gets 5 billion searches, so look for a sweet spot in the middle!
Revisit your LinkedIn efforts.
LinkedIn is often underrated as a marketing tool. Yet, in reality, it is far easier to get meaningful organic reach, as it doesn’t rely on a pay-to-play model as much as Facebook and Instagram. Yes, there are many people on those platforms, but that’s precisely why it’s harder to get exposure. Competition is through the roof, so you must pay to see results from Facebook or Instagram.
If you haven’t used LinkedIn for a while, you’ll be surprised to see that it has grown far past a basic platform for sharing resumes and searching for jobs. You can get exposure to all types of people with minimal effort, so why not take advantage of it?
Plus, LinkedIn is a master of SEO, so if for no other reason, use your profile to improve your Google rankings! If someone searches your name, your LinkedIn page is often one of the first links to show up. Make sure to use your keywords in your headline, bio, and experience sections.
A few ways to level up your LinkedIn game:
- Build your network: You should aim to have at least 500 connections, so start looking for your people.
- Post fresh content: LinkedIn is a publishing platform! Demonstrate your thought leadership and cultivate engagement by sharing relevant content with your audience.
- Leverage your endorsements: These are a great way to establish your Know, Like, Trust factor, so endorse your connections and request they return the favor.
With your website, SEO, and LinkedIn strategy at their best, you’ll establish a solid business foundation that will support your growth for years to come. Then, it’s a matter of staying up-to-date and managing your online presence to evolve alongside your brand.