A very big part of marketing your business takes place on the internet, in various forms. It’s important to maintain your reputation on the web as well as increase your web presence. What people think about your company often starts with what they can find about you online. It is very easy to create a negative reputation online or be difficult to find on the internet. But it’s almost as easy to ensure a positive reputation online and make sure people are finding you. There are different venues for your company to increase its presence on the web and there is one that’s most important.

When social media pages are used correctly, they can be a great tool for making people aware of your company. Make sure you create a business page that is separate from your personal profile. Post product and event photos if you wish, update it regularly, and keep everything you post on the page on a professional level (that means monitoring what you let other people post, too). If your company’s mission can be advertised well through photographs, you may benefit from a Flickr account. Flickr is a place to post and share photos in a photo stream format. You can even create a map of where you’re located, a brief profile and add contacts.

Blogs are another way to expand the real estate you have on the web. You can create an account with sites like Blogger, Blog Spot, or Word Press and have the blog integrated into your website. People can comment on your posts and you can create keywords that will get your site to come up in search results. Forums may be a good feature for frequently asked questions or for customers to post new questions that need answers.

Google Places is an excellent resource for people to know exactly where you are located, all your contact information, and a brief summary of the nature of your business. People can rate your business and post reviews. You can also upload photos here. Many people find your Google Places page when they do a general search for businesses like yours in the area. Review sites are often linked to Google Places. This is one part of your internet presence over which you have little control. A customer can post a good or bad review about you and it cannot be removed. What you can do is prevent bad reviews on the front end by always providing excellent customer service and fixing customer complaints right away. There are also various ways of marketing through email. You can send out “cold emails” to people you have never contacted before, but you can also send promotional offers to your best customers or send out mass emails about events or specials. All of these are great ways to be very present on the web, but there is one thing that is most important.

The most important part of your web presence is of course, your website. You probably knew that, but do you know if your site has everything that it needs to be successful? A successful site needs prominent contact info near the top of your homepage. You need simple and clear navigation features. Make sure the color scheme is simple and intentional. Create a balance of images and content, and weave keywords into that content to make your site searchable. Include links to all the other venues previously mentioned on your site and make sure these links function correctly. You need to have a call to action—something that a customer can do to take the next step in using your services. You site should showcase why you’re different by posting awards and recognitions. Make sure you have someone who can create complete metadata for your site. Finally, your site should answer who, what, where, when, and why.

In time, you can find the right combination of these online features to contribute to the marketing of your business. © 2012 eMarketing 4 Business LLC