So you’re a small business and you’re trying to score some online brand visibility. The only problem is that you’re not Coca Cola, you don’t have a huge budget, and your website is brand new. What to do? Well short of hiring a specialist or agency like Digital C4, there are some things that you can do yourself to boost your online presence. It does take time and persistence – which is why many people hire smart agencies – but if you do have the bandwidth start with these 6 steps and stay at it!

6 steps you can take to help boost your brand visibility online:

  1. Set realistic expectations. You need to understand that connecting with prospects and customers online takes time. Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media network building take time when done right. Build a network too fast and you can alienate the brand evangelists who are your best advocates. Likewise, link building too fast from an SEO perspective can get the kind of Google attention you don’t want. Set monthly goals for each and commit to building your online brand equity over time (think months not days or even weeks).
  2. Build a keyword list. I’m always amazed at how many companies don’t have a well thought out list of keywords and phrases based around what people use to search for them online. Don’t build a list containing hundreds of words unless your site is huge or you are Coca Cola… pick 20-40 keywords and then use them and variations of them on your site, any content you create, and when using your social media marketing platforms for communication.
  3. Optimize your website. Take that keyword list and optimize your site with them. Try to focus on one to two keywords per page and use the keywords in your Meta data, H1 tags, alt image tags, and throughout the copy. But… don’t overuse them in the copy. Be creative with them for sure, but write for your prospects and customers, not Google. Link keywords to other pages throughout your site where appropriate. Highlight some keywords using bold and italic fonts as well.
  4. Optimize your social network profiles. Optimize your profiles using keywords intelligently and when possible link to your corporate site. You’ll want to use keywords when you post and share content – especially when you’re sharing your own content.
  5. Write (good) dynamic content around keywords. Use the keywords in any custom content creation you embark on, whether this take the form of e-newsletters that you’ll archive on your site later, blog posts, or press releases. Link keywords back to the page on your site that pertains to that keyword.
  6. Share this content socially. Get the word out… via your social networks, or sharing sites like StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg or Reddit.

This isn’t the only way to build online brand visibility – if it were my list would be huge – but these tactics if done well, with consistency, can help you gain the online presence that can boost your business. There’s a ton of competition on the Web… don’t give up before they do!