Print, billboards, TV ads, car-wraps are all tools used to build a brand, generate quality leads or both. The internet should be viewed as another tool in your marketing tool chest. And just as you would target a TV ad to a specific demographic (based on what time and what channel it airs) your collective internet presence should also be targeted.
Who are you targeting with your internet investment? Here are some good questions to ask and answer (ideally BEFORE) you spend money and resources on a web/social media presence.
What does that potential customer who is sitting behind the computer about to do a search for your product/service look like? Culture, race, age, background, experiences, and job shape the way we think, act and talk. It also affects how we search the web. Thus, the best way to connect with a potential client on the web is to first know them.
Think about the customer you'd ideally like to sell to or design your website for.
How old is he/she?
Position in a company?
Who does he/she work for?
Head of household?
With or without kids?
With these type of questions answered you've painted a vivid picture of the person sitting at the computer. The next challenge is to understand their frame of mind at the time they start searching. For example, if you are an online retail company, what stage of the buying decision are they likely to be in when they start a search on the web?
Is it, “I have decided to buy, here is my credit card”?
Or, “I have decided to buy and want to know my choices”?
Or, “I am contemplating the idea of buying and only doing research at this time”?
Knowing the type of person and their mindset at the time their journey on the web begins is crucial for any successful web marketing strategy. Why? Because with this knowledge you are better equipped to understand (a) what that person will type into a search engine and (b) what questions will be foremost in his/her mind when they first land on your site.
Already spending money on a website, twitter account, company Facebook page? Then try this simple test. Pretend you are that customer and search like he or she would search. Did you find your company? Is it on page one, two, three, or fifteen of the Google search page(s)? Now go to your website and company Facebook page and experience your web presence as if you are the customer.
Are you happy with the results?
As I said in the beginning of this article, your web presence should be part of an overall marketing campaign . That campaign should be supporting a comprehensive long-term growth plan, it should be targeted and tailored. Sadly, I have seen way too many business owners burn money to create a web presence only to discover later that simply a presence is all they received for their investment.