If you’re researching ways to build and grow an online presence — prepare to be overwhelmed.
There are tons of resources, programs, and tutorials on social media… SEO… curation… blogging… guest posting… list building… search engine marketing… webinars… contests… email marketing…. and the list goes on and on.
But there is one thing many of these how-to guides neglect to talk about. It’s something that is absolutely essential to it all. Without this piece of the puzzle, no amount of energy in any of these other tactics will work.
That important element is a digital foundation.
What’s a Digital Foundation?
A digital foundation is the framework that supports every other piece of your online presence and boosts every other element of your digital marketing strategy.
It’s the core that holds your online marketing together and the heart that leads it in the right direction.
If you don’t start your online presence with a digital foundation, you run the risk of wasting time, missing opportunities, making mistakes, and having everything you’ve built come crashing down.
Without a strong digital foundation — no other guru marketing technique or growth accelerator plan is going to work. You can’t build or grow without laying a strong foundation.
So if you are just starting out — acknowledge the reality of your situation, slow down, and start where it really matters… by building a digital foundation.
How to Build a Digital Foundation
A digital foundation is composed of ten pieces.
Each piece is created in a specific order so they can support each other and ensure that your online presence is working from the start.
Each piece is also strategically tied together so your online presence is always funneling back toward your goals.
I refer to the way you build a digital foundation as the digital foundation flow.
In the rest of this post, I will explain how each piece of this digital foundation flows and works together.
1. Start With You
You are at the center of your online presence. Your brand, personality, values, and voice are what makes your online presence different from everyone else’s.
So the digital foundation starts by identifying who you are, what is your unique approach or experience, and why are you driven to do what you do. During this phase, you define those points and start creating branded elements such as a color palate, font style, and logo.
2. Identify Your Objective
Your objective is the reason why you are building your online presence. It’s the thing that you want your online presence to help you acquire. That “thing” may be clients, product sales, or attention from those in your industry.
So next, you look at the reason for why you are building an online presence. You outline your offerings or goals and identify who you specifically want to attract.
3. Build a Simple Website
To promote yourself and your objective, you need a website. A website allows you to easily share your business or idea with other people because the simplest way to spread a message is to copy a link and share it.
This part of the digital foundation is all about building the basic website you need to get started. It doesn’t need to include all of the bells and whistles you may want and need in the future, but it does include all of the essential elements and pages you need right now.
4. Set Up Email Marketing Software
It’s not enough to just attract initial attention; you have to keep it. You must have a way to keep in touch with your audience outside of social media and random website views. The best way to keep that line of communication open is through email.
So the next part of the digital foundation is setting up an account with an email marketing software. This allows you to start building your list and have a way to stay in touch with interested audiences. You shouldn’t use regular email for this as managing a large list can cause problems down the road.
5. Add an Opt-in Form to Your Website
To get people to join your list, you need to have a way for them to sign up.
So next, you need to add an opt-in form to your website. There are multiple places to add opt-ins on your site so use the best strategy to make sure the form shows up in the right places.
6. Create an Opt-in Offer for Your Form
While having an opt-in form is the first step in getting people to connect with you, you need more of an incentive to get them to join. You need an opt-in offer that rewards audiences for signing up for your list.
In this next phase, you identify a way to create an offering that your target audience will find value in. You must create an opt-in offer freebie you can give readers in exchange for their contact info.
7. Begin to Blog
A blog is the way to attract people to your website and show off more of who you are and what you know.
So in this phase, you begin to develop a blog strategy that highlights your unique knowledge and value. You also use blog posts as a funnel into your opt-in offer. You develop blog topics that give readers a taste of a larger piece of information and then lead them to your opt-in that offers additional value related to the same topic.
8. Send Social Media Traffic to Website and Blog Post
Many people falsely believe that all you need to have an online presence is a social media profile. But that isn’t true. Social media profiles are not a reliable way to stay in contact with your followers. You need a website and email list to keep the main line of communication open.
But that is not to say that social media isn’t valuable or needed. Social media profiles are the way you draw attention to your website and encourage your interested readers into joining your list. So in this phase, you begin to use your social media profiles to drive traffic back to your website and blog posts.
9. Send Content Promo Emails
Once you have people in your email list, you can reach out to them when you release new content. They already said they are interested in what you offer. Now, you have a direct line for delivering them content that gives them what they want and drives them back to your blog and website.
In this phase, you create an email editorial calendar that aligns with your blog posting schedule so you can alert your audience when you post a new article.
10. Send Objective Promo Emails
Once you have an engaged list that you are regularity in touch with, you can start to share your objective with them. Whether that objective is to sell products or secure clients or land a new job, when you provide regular value to your audience, you can also begin to promote the objectives that are important to you.
In this phase, which is the most important phase, you begin to leverage your email list by creating an email plan that asks your audience to help you accomplish your goals.
Pulling It All Together
When these ten pieces come together, you build a digital foundation that is always:
- focused on you and what you offer
- funneling audiences to join your list
- leading back to helping you accomplish your objective
- set up to support your other marketing initiatives
When you have this foundation, you can start reading those guides on social media… SEO… curation… blogging… guest posting… list building… search engine marketing… webinars… contests… email marketing.
Because now, those other strategies will work and they will work well — because you have the foundation to support them.
It will follow the right flow and order of operation to ensure that your online presence is working for you from the start and built on the right foundation that won’t make you miss opportunities, need to back-track, or make mistakes.
Click here to schedule a one-on-one free consultation with me to see how I can help you set up your foundation now.