There is a common issue people have before launching their website: lack of web presence. In order to have Google recognize you in its search, your pages need to be cataloged, and for that to happen you need to publish your site first. It sounds confusing, but luckily we have some suggestions for how to build brand presence without having to publish before your website ready – because that’s definitely something you don’t want to do.
Invade the Social Media
Pre-launch is the time when you should focus on gaining that social media following on all different platforms. Although you don’t have your own content to share at the moment, that doesn’t mean you can’t share other content that relates to your industry or your target audience’s interests. There is a long list of trending hashtag conversations you can partake in which will allow you to share your expertise. You can have real conversations and network with potential customers even if you don’t have a website. Although, I do suggest you create a placeholder or teaser page with your domain name so that you can link it to your social pages.
When our digital marketing team first started, we continuously tweeted and posted all about our startup experiences. It’s a very easy way to be transparent and connect on a personal level with your audience. There’s no point in putting on a front and pretending you’re something you’re not. Being open with people allowed us to answer questions, such as when we were going to launch. We then shared sneak peeks to build excitement for what was soon to come.
Join Online Communities
There are communities all over the web for almost every industry and they’re just waiting for more members to join! For example, we’re big fans of Built in Chicago, which is a site for startups located in – you guessed it – Chicago. My suggestion is that you make an account for yourself and your company. Comment on people’s articles, post your own, and share that content on your social media sites. If you select the right communities, then you can have conversations with people who understand your industry. If they don’t, it’s a perfect time to educate them. Talk about problems you have faced, ask for advice, or share your words of wisdom. The great thing about these communities is that they want to help each other, so why not use it to your advantage and make real connections?
News Stories, Directories, and More
When we decided to start a marketing firm, we reached out to local papers to have them cover our story. This got us a lot of attention, and I strongly suggest it to anyone and everyone who wants to build brand presence. People like to hear about up-and-coming companies trying to do it the right way.
The great thing about reaching out to local press is that most newspapers have a digital copy on their website. This means you can have it link to your placeholder page, start discussions in the comments section, and share the article with your peers. You may also be able to be mentioned on the paper’s newsletter (if they have one).
Joining a newsletter is a great idea even if it’s not with a newspaper or magazine. There are a lot of websites that send out daily newsletters, so it doesn’t hurt to reach out and ask if they will write a piece about your company so you can share your story with their readers.
Another tip is to not underestimate the power of joining online directories. Not only can these directories help people locate your information, but those entries will also pop up on Google. I suggest finding every directory you can and entering your company’s information. Also, if you do create a placeholder or teaser page like I mentioned earlier, you can link your URL to these listings and not have to worry about adding it later.
Attend Networking Events
Quite possibly the best way to get the word out about your brand is to attend networking events. But how does that help your web presence? Let me explain. Sites like Meetup have a ton of events for all sorts of people, not to mention discussion boards where you can introduce yourself. You can chat with people online and then connect with them on other social platforms. When you do begin following them or send a friend request, make sure you mention where you met. This will help remind them who you are and they won’t assume you are just looking to build your network with random people.
Don’t forget to look at small gatherings like Chamber of Commerce events either. At these gatherings you’ll meet other business-driven individuals. Here you can exchange business cards and connect with them on sites like LinkedIn. Invite them to follow your business or Facebook page, that way they will be aware when your site launches. This is much easier than emailing everyone later on telling them that your site has gone live.
In The End it’s All About You
It’s 100% your team’s responsibility to gain that web presence and brand awareness that you crave. No one else will put in the extra hours to attend events, nor will they spend the time tweeting prospective clients. Don’t wait to build brand presence until after your site launches, because at that point you’re almost too late. Gaining those organic traffic numbers doesn’t just happen because you have all your website pages cataloged with proper meta descriptions. Real human traffic comes from the presence your company has all around the web and beyond it. Take my advice and start now.
This article was originally published as How to Build Brand Presence Before Launching Your Website by Kelsey Joza on September 30th, 2014.