The internet is big. We can only really imagine what it looks like. The only physical, visually describable parts are the interconnected computers, miles of wires and satellites, but those images look nothing like what we connect to through a browser. That looks more like a universe, conceptually.
Imagine a universe of dots afloat with lines connecting them. Not every dot connects to every dot. And connecting lines only appear when someone clicks a link, activating that connection. Nothing happens online until somebody clicks a link or visits a site.
Now, given how vast and disconnected the internet can be, how do you leverage your online presence? How do you make it work for you to capture attention and generate leads?
You make a funnel out of your online presence.
Look at the three dotted circles in the illustration below: the center, a second layer, and the outer edge circle. Those represent three levels of your online presence, with the center as the focal point.
What is the center of your online presence? The center of your online presence is where you'll be directing traffic. Typically the center is a company's website.
On the second layer, place all the social channels that you actively use. These include channels you use occasionally and regularly. Exclude channels you have not used in a year or more and those you’ve decided to keep on the fringe. If you’re actively using them, include your newsletter service (mailchimp, constant contact, AWebber), event services (eventbright, evite), social media channels, and your blog, if it is a separate site from your website.
On the outer edge circle, place all those channels you’ve excluded from the second layer. This is where you place every channel you own but do not use, even if you’ve used them in the past. You have some presence on these channels, but you have no plans right now to engage. Reserve this circle for your online outcasts, content that people will inevitably find because that’s the way things happen on the web. Include here also social channels from early social media, and recent ones you didn’t see a point to keep up.
Think about all your brand’s possible online presence and get everything onto one of the two outer circles on your chart. Don’t forget the many services that list your site for a fee, and sometimes free. And these are often specialized for realtors, insurance agencies, and design firms. Some of these specialized service listings go a step further and provide a landing page too. If you’re active on these services, place them on the inner circle. Not so active? Place them on the outside.
After you place all your online instances on the chart, connect every site to the center by updating those website profiles with your logo, business name, tag line, description with brand keywords, and especially a clear link to your website, the center of your funnel. That’s how you activate those green arrows and the connections that make your funnel work. No matter where they find you, you want to create the opportunity for them to recognize your brand and move toward the center of your funnel.
Every time they see your business name they’ll see the same logo. That’s why it’s important to be consistent. It’s that very consistency that creates the walls of the funnel constructed from instances of your online presence.
Some of those sites on the edge, where your presence is not as powerful or active may be more effective if they direct traffic to other social media platforms, the ones in your second circle. Encourage visitors to find you on your active social media. Whatever your favorite social channel to hang is, tell people what that is so they can connect with you there.
When you look now at this chart from a different angle (see image below) you'll see how the funnel takes shape.
The purpose of the funnel is to direct traffic to one place, the place where you keep your calls to action.
To leverage your online presence, choose the center and set up a funnel to direct traffic to it. Add your calls to action to the center. Once you’ve got this, set up your lead capture. That is how you leverage a world of domains connected by active links. It's also why it is so important to make the center of your online presence fabulous by building a website you love.
For a strategy consultation to help you evaluate your technology toolset and make strategic decisions and improvements, submit a consultation request. We’ll help you make clear tactical decisions so you can create an effective funnel from your online presence.