7 Steps For Building A Powerful Web Presence – Process Is Everything When It Comes To An Effective Digital Strategy

Have you started building and growing your online presence beyond a basic website? Did you know that your online presence today affects your credibility, reputation, professional relevance and referral power?

Perhaps you’ve been hesitant to do more because of compliance fears or perhaps you just aren’t sure where to begin. New digital tools, social networks and mobile devices in just a few short years have completely changed the way we live and work. All that change can be overwhelming, and it’s moving at the speed of light.

We’ve entered an era where anyone can build a personal-media platform. If you don’t attempt to adapt and embrace this “new media” revolution with your own online presence, you are putting your business at risk. The risk of sitting on the sidelines today is greater than the risk of moving forward.

In order to forge ahead successfully, you need a process. It’s not the new tools that will make you successful, it’s the process you implement to leverage those tools. When you have a process in place, all of a sudden, things aren’t so complicated anymore. Sound familiar? This is exactly what you do for your clients when you help them develop a clear financial plan and implement an investment strategy that is targeted to their goals. It’s all about the process and we can help.  Connie Amidei, Chief Digital Strategist, AmiTec Consulting

1. PLAN

The most logical place to start is to develop a plan. Think about your goals, budget and the resources that might be required to go digital. Consider which online marketing channels make sense for your business, as well as the education or training you might need to get up to speed with building your online presence. Most importantly, creating a powerful online presence will require a consistent investment of time to build traction initially and to continue that momentum on a daily basis. Now is a good time to evaluate which marketing activities aren’t working and reinvest your resources into building long-term digital equity that will pay off for years to come.

2. PUBLISH

Today it’s easier than ever to self-publish online. Through blogging technology, you can publish text-based articles, videos, audio podcasts, images and presentations on your own website, as well as on social-media channels, in order to expand your visibility and credibility. Work to build a robust library of unique, personable and high-quality content that is accessible and relevant to your target markets 24/7 on your website. This will make it easier for you to be found by your target markets in search engines, on social-media sites and even in e-mail inboxes (for those who “opt-in” to your database). Don’t underestimate the power of publishing as the foundation of your digital strategy.

3. SHARE

It is no secret that we are bombarded with information today. People have enough information. What they really want is knowledge. They want someone to sort through all that information and lead them to make good decisions. Part of creating a successful online presence is sharing the right knowledge (content) with the right people (members of your target markets). Ideally, a decent proportion of what you share online comes from content that you develop, but you can also build significant clout online by sharing content from other influencers and reputable websites or blogs. Activating your online presence through a consistent and systematic social-media-sharing strategy will help you expand your following and stay top-of-mind with your community.

4. CONNECT

You can invest in an amazing online presence and have outstanding content, but without a community, you won’t generate opportunities that can forward your personal and professional success. Focus on building your community online through search engines (web traffic), social media (networking) and your e-mail database. It is your community that ultimately will enable you to cultivate trusted connections who can become advocates for your business, referral sources, promotional partners and new clients. Invest in both the depth and breadth of your network.

5. ENGAGE

As you cultivate your community via your online presence and activities, you will open up the door to engagement opportunities with others. This is professional networking as we know it in the traditional sense, but it’s online, easy and can accelerate relationship development. Building the community first gives you access and permission to engage with the members from within. It also allows you to gather intelligence about the individuals with whom you are connected. Engaging in influential networking activities based on personal knowledge about someone’s personal or work life is incredibly powerful. It can create an immediate warm relationship!

6. OPTIMIZE

Optimizing your online presence is a continuing activity. Online marketing programs cannot be put on autopilot. The landscape changes rapidly and therefore you will need to be constantly updating and optimizing your online presence. Think about all the new features and updates you hear about from social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Just as you optimize client portfolios for risk/reward, you will want to do the same for your digital portfolio to make sure it’s working for you in the best way possible.

7. ANALYZE

Luckily, some amazing and powerful digital tools are available that can give you great insight into how your digital strategy is working [such as Google Analytics]. A good number of these tools are free or low-cost. With digital tracking and marketing tools, you can gather data from your activities and re-balance your strategy from time to time as you learn what works well for you. You will need some time to gather that data and make sense of the results. However, it is quite powerful to be able to measure marketing performance, which is something that has never been available in the past.

Following this seven-step process will help you navigate the digital landscape and build a powerful online presence. Keep in mind that the results of your efforts will not be visible at first, but don’t worry — results will come over time. Think of your online presence as a long-term growth stock. If you consistently work to build it the right way, you will have a valuable asset in the end.

 

Building your Organization’s Digital Strategy

Making an impact online requires more thought and strategy than ever. This is particularly true for nonprofits, which generally have smaller budgets and fewer resources at their disposal.

According to Connie Amidei, Chief Digital Strategist at AmiTec Digital, developing an effective digital strategy starts with planning and assessment. Your digital marketing strategies should focus on creating valuable content, while remaining consistent with your branding message and committing to interacting on social-sharing platforms.

Define Your Story   All good campaigns have core messages.  What is the story you are trying to tell, and more importantly, why should your audience care? Most nonprofits inherently have an emotional story to share, so it’s vital to figure out how it connects to the lives of the donors you are trying to reach. And, finally, know exactly how your story will elicit a response from your audience.

Platforms and Engagement   Once you have your story you’ll want to think about how you will spread it. In other words, what social media networks will you use to engage and interact with your audience?  To determine which mediums will be most effective in your digital strategy, you first have to consider who is most likely to be moved by your story and want to help your cause.

Consider this group of people in terms of age, lifestyle and geographic location. Which social platforms do they favor and what type of technology do they use to gain access to the Web? The more you know, the better able you’ll be to reach them.

Measure and Evaluate   Success means constantly measuring and evaluating results. One way to help determine the effectiveness of your digital campaign is to use social listening tools such as Radian6 and TweetReach to gain insights into how your audience is interacting with your message. A little time spent on evaluation will save money and headaches down the road, and ensure every campaign gets the returns anticipated.

Mobile Options for Nonprofits   There is a huge demand for mobile services from consumers and it isn’t solely directed at for-profits. Nonprofits must focus on incorporating mobile-friendly strategies into their marketing and fundraising campaigns. Technologies like SMS and text donations, mobile websites and apps allow nonprofits to extend their reach as well as their cause.

 

 

Choosing your Clients: Because Relationships Matter

I have a consulting firm. It does great work. It’s a fun place to work. Growth, revenue, and new business wins are nothing more than a by-product of those two facts. Our approach to new business might seem a bit unconventional, but my team has asked me to share it anyway.

Don’t do it for the money.
I don’t know of a single creative person I respect who gets out of bed every morning to earn a paycheck. When things get tough, and that is the default mode in this business, particularly at this time, “the money” isn’t going to pull you through. Better to make a reasonable fee working on something you genuinely have passion for than to make tons on something you wouldn’t shed a tear over if it fell off the planet.

Don’t do it for the creative opportunity, either.
Sounds blasphemous coming from the owner of a creative firm, I know.

We’ve all done it, chasing work simply because it’s a “creative opportunity” is dangerous business. Those magic quoted words have a way of rendering all other ills invisible.  Connie Amidei, Chief Digital Strategist 

An exciting product and an innovative brand cannot begin to compensate for a passionless, clueless or flat-out lazy marketer.

Do it for the people.
The brand, category and product do not matter. The people across the table do. We need to feel a client’s passion and energy. We know that after they finish the meeting with us, they still have to run through the halls of their headquarters championing the work and fighting off critics. We cannot succeed without that ingredient. When deadlines feel overwhelming and production falls short of expectations, it helps to remember you are doing this because you believe in and care about the people you’re working for.

Chemistry and Client Vetting
Potential clients stroll into our offices for chemistry checks thinking they are doing all the checking. On the other side of the table, we are asking ourselves, Do we like these people enough to go into battle for them. Do we think their business model is sustainable? Have they made other changes in the organization necessary for success? Are they at all in denial? Do they understand what marketing can and cannot do? Is there going to be a key decision maker who is not present? The result is having the option to choose your clients.

Total Honesty.
Be so honest about their business, their thinking, and their assumptions that you put them back on their heels. A good client will appreciate the challenge providing it’s done in a thoughtful, earnest way. With a potentially awesome client, you will work toward a better solution quicker. A bad one will slip into inauthentic behaviors and stick their fingers back in their ears. This a critical juncture for choosing quality clients. Pay attention.

One Last Thing.

There is no substitute for brilliant strategic insights and result driven creative ideas. However, that is the easy part. Identifying people who will understand and appreciate it all is the challenge.  Connie Amidei, Chief Digital Strategist

Connie has served as lead consultant and online strategist for over 450 interactive web development projects over the last 9 years, and continues to push the envelope with innovative ways to brand, market and promote organizations online.