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The big question running through many marketers and small businesses minds is “What can I do to increase my online presence?” People are wondering what they can do differently to increase click-through rates, impressions, conversions and so on.

Well, too many people are seem to be treating their online marketing campaigns the same way they treat their offline campaigns and it’s not working. Too many times people focus only on immediate sales. They often think if those results don’t come quickly, whatever is being done is not working.

A Harvard Business Review from 2010 puts it simply. “To compete in this aggressively interactive environment, companies must shift their focus from driving transactions to maximizing customer lifetime value. That means making products and brands subservient to long-term customer relationships.”

So a new question formulates, how do you create that long-term relationship with customers in a world that is online?

Colleen Jones gives insight in her book, Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content, saying, “The way to get results online is clout—influence or pull. On the web, clout allows you to attract the right people and, at the right time, change what they think or do. Achieving clout demands new thinking and a new focus on web content.”

An overwhelming majority go online for content, it’s what people want. People go online and spend large amounts of time reading, listening, and viewing content and they share this information through social media.

A key factor into online success is creating not necessarily new content, but influential content. Content that will capture users attention and cause them to change their behavior.

Jones continues with insight saying that since people go online more than ever before to make decisions, businesses of all sizes have the ability and opportunity to influence those decisions through strategic online marketing. Once you can create intriguing content that will cause people to change their behavior, you’ve achieved clout.

Achieving influential web content is not easy, but is the correct path for lasting results. Creating a powerful online presence involves principles of rhetoric and psychology in order to relay the correct information to the correct people at the correct moment. When this is accomplished then you will build a loyal customer base.

This is the true value of building your brand online. Remember, it’s extremely more expensive to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. Don’t be frustrated if your online social media campaign is not bringing in huge sales. It’s a long-term strategy that takes time and a lot of work.

Try concentrating and focusing on attracting potential customers that care or are interested in what you have to offer instead of blasting advertising to millions who could care less.

Jason Coon

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