Sis, creating and running your digital empire requires using online tools to build awareness for your brand.
Your online platforms are the tools you use to broadcast your brand to the world. The most important thing to remember when it comes to digital platforms is: KISS
Keep it simple, sister!
Don’t try to jump on the hottest new trend or create a system so complicated that people can’t figure out where to find you – or you can’t manage it. Tell people where you are and stick with it until you build momentum. If you feel like you’re doing too much by way of online identities, then you probably are and it’s okay to scale back.
Here are the online identities that matter for making your brand profitable:
- your website
- your email community
- your social media
While I think your email community is the most important, for today we’ll focus on your website and your social media accounts.
These two topics alone could fill up volumes and volumes, but – for the sake of time and simplicity – I’ve focused on some high-level basics that will have the most impact.
Your website should be both your personal assistant and salesperson. This means it should be optimized to communicate effectively with potential customers, relay messages to you and sell, sell, sell your brand 24/7.
It takes the average consumer three seconds to decide if you are what they need by looking at your site.
Your website should do four things:
- Communicate who you are and what you do
- Collect information from visitors
- Convert your goals
- Categorize your site for search engines
I’ll explain each of these further.
Communicate who you are and what you do:
As soon as people go to your site, they should see who you are and what you’re about. Your brand identity should be used to guide the visual and verbal elements on your site. However you choose to communicate who you are and what you do, it needs to be visible and apparent “above the fold.” Keep in mind that your site needs to be presentable on desktop and mobile devices. Based on current internet usage trends, you should prioritize mobile-first design or at least responsive design.
Collect information from visitors:
You want to be able to collect data on how people got to your site (can be done by installing Google Analytics) and what they are doing on your site. This will tell you what content matters to your visitors so you won’t have to waste time on pages and projects that don’t move the needle for your business.
Convert your goals:
There are two main conversion goals you need to have for your digital business: email conversion and purchase conversion. Your website should encourage people to do both. It’s important to note that building that opt-in community is dependent on your online platforms driving people to your email list.
When it comes to driving purchase conversions, your website helps in this process as it’s either the place from which they purchase or where you build trust to inspire a purchase on other marketplaces such as Amazon.
Categorize your site for search engines:
SEO, SEO, SEO! Search engine optimization matters. You don’t have to master SEO to have a profitable website but remember: The key to good search engine optimization is to use words people will search for when they want your specific type of company, and be consistent with using those keywords on your site.
Don’t go overboard on this or try to “game” the system. Search engines use sophisticated algorithms to measure SEO, and if your site gets flagged for using shady SEO practices (such as “stuffing” a bunch of keywords into your website that don’t make sense, just because you’re trying to get traffic) they will penalize your site then you may find it nearly impossible to get organic search traffic. SEO can be a really complicated process, so if you need more information on this, I’m happy to help.
Here are some basic website tips for your creative brand:
- Keep the options on your website simple and focused on your goals. If you give people too many options they will rarely do the thing that you really want them to do.
- Think about your website like a newspaper or magazine. What matters – what makes people interested to learn more about you – is what is on the cover or what is above the fold. If above the fold is not interesting on your site, your site is not optimized.
- Review your site’s SEO properties: URL structure, Page titles, keywords, etc. This can be a little more technical than most people are comfortable with, but it’s something you should review.
- Make your site faster. The time it takes for your site to load on people’s computers matter. Check your page-load time with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Google will check the page load time for your website and give you some tips on how to make it faster. Some of the recommendations are highly technical so you might need a consultant or web developer to help you make those updates.
- Keep your site up to date.
- Include calls to action. If you want people to do something on your site, like buy your books, include calls to action (CTAs) that point to that. Limit the number of CTAs you use to keep visitors focused on the most important objectives.
- Get other sites to link to your site. When other sites link to yours, particularly sites with high search engine authority, it gives your site more search engine credibility and helps with your SEO.
But let’s say you have an awesome website. It’s all set up and ready to go. Now what? Well, you’ll need marketing channels for reaching people and getting them to your website. Social media is a great way of doing that.
If you want to get the most out of social media, do NOT use social media sites solely as distribution sites.
What I mean is, each social media site is a website people stay on for hours at a time searching for valuable content, so you don’t want to be the person constantly saying “buy my products” then sending people off the platform to find valuable content. You want to give them value right on the platform.
And remember: value can be entertainment or information.
Here are some basic social media tips for growing your community:
- Interact with other people and brands. Like and comment on their content.
- Use hashtags in your posts to boost discoverability
- Invite people to like or follow your profiles (you can do this via email, on your website or by inviting people to your page using Facebook’s “Invite” feature)
- Use high-quality images on social media. Studies show that images do better than text.
- Experiment with video.
- Tag people you quote on social media
- Jab, jab, jab, right hook. (read this article: “The One Thing I Didn’t Clarify Enough in Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”)
- Post “stand-alone” images to increase engagement. Posting a stand-alone graphic with a quote (without a link) increases retweets by 19%