There are so many things you can use the Internet for. It’s an endless depository of knowledge, an endless source of entertainment, and a place to hang out with people. If you’re a business person, however, you might be more interested in the Internet’s potential to help you on your way to success. And the potential is there – you can use the Internet in many ways to build your brand, reach new customers and bring something new to your old customers. There are many possibilities to grow using the Internet, but before you get started, you need to get a handle on some of the basics.

Relationships, Connections, Engagement

Arguably the most valuable use of the Internet for your business is the possibility to connect with other people and businesses. You can connect with other leaders in your industry, with websites that offer industry news, with people you admire and people who are your competition, and most importantly – with your customers. If you’re not sure how to do any of this, here are a couple of ideas.

Social networks let you do a lot in a single place. You can join in on conversations if you want to get noticed. Can publish your content if you want to get established as an industry authority. You can get in touch with interesting people in your field of work. You can also connect with your customers and clients, listen to what they have to say, and start a conversation with them. The important thing to remember is that, if you want to really engage with people using social networks, you shouldn’t try to do it on every social network you can find. Choose a couple and don’t spread yourself thin.

You can also send out regular newsletters to your customers. You can provide them with valuable information, keep them up to date on your business, and offer them little things like special deals that will show them how much they’re valuable to you.

If you allow your customers to comment on your website or social network pages, or if you give them the option to contact you via email, always remember to respond to their queries. There’s nothing worse than a question left without an answer. If you want your customers to contact you, and if you give them the means to do so, the least you could do is reply to them.

Make Sure You Can Be Found

A lot of people believe that creating a website and putting it online is all they have to do to have an online presence. And while putting up a website is important, it amounts to nothing if people are not able to find it.

There are plenty of ways you can promote your website, your content, and yourself online. You can write guest posts on industry websites with good traffic – that will increase your visibility.  You can build backlinks to your website, which will help your search engine rankings. Be careful, though, to only use quality websites when building backlinks.

Your website and the content you publish on it should optimize for search engines. Get familiar with keywords, learn how to write effective headlines, and do all the necessary things to have your website search engine optimized. Once you get some traffic, you can start using analytics tools to study it, find out what’s working. And bring visitors to your website, and what isn’t.  These tools are invaluable for the success of any website, and you really need to know how to use them.

Don’t Forget to Sell!

Try not to get lost in all that communication and fine-tuning of your website. Remember, you want to sell, or attract customers, or get them to sign up for your newsletter. You’re creating an online presence with a goal in mind, and there are some important things that will help you reach that goal.

Call-to-action buttons are one of those things. When you create a web page with the sole purpose of getting the visitor to sign up for your newsletter. You should have a highly visible button on that page that says “sign up now!”, or something like that. Whatever you want the visitor to do, make sure there’s a big, red button for it.

Knowing how to write persuasive copy is a huge bonus, but whether you know how to do it or don’t. You should put in some exit ads on your website. They will give you one more chance to offer your website’s visitors something just as they’re about to leave. Video ads are getting more and more attention, both from the audience and from marketers. They seem to be doing their jobs, and you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to create them.

Finally, remember that complicated websites can be a strong turn-off for visitors. You don’t want them to spend tens of minutes trying to navigate your website. They need to be able to find what they need quickly. Once they find it, they need to be presented with all the information they might need to decide to buy it or inquire about it. So, create your website with your visitors in mind, and try to meet their needs without them having to spell out for you what you need to do.