9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


7 Steps for a Professional Online Presence (Worksheets Included)


It’s not enough to show up online. A business needs to be professional online. Here's how (in seven easy steps).

(If you want to skip the post, you can download the worksheet here.)

Since the beginning of 9 Clouds, we have urged businesses to increase their digital literacy and build their digital foundation. For many years, that was all that it took. If you put yourself out there, you were able to be found online. Simply being present meant that your customers could find you.

That's no longer the case.

Competition has increased. It’s not enough to simply be online. It is now required to be professional online.

This standard should not scare a business or individual away from taking action, however. Instead, it should force a business or individual to only pursue digital efforts that can be done with focus and professionalism.

Personal Professionalism

If you set high standards for yourself, you will have no problem being professional.

Before getting started, or putting a bigger focus on your digital presence, ask yourself one question: Am I ready to focus on this?

Your virtual presence requires focus to be truly professional and successful. There are two ways to know that you are ready to focus on your digital presence. You can:

1. Commit to checking your analytics at least monthly

If you are not ready or willing to look at the numbers to know if your efforts are improving, you are not ready to be professional online. If you are not professional online, your efforts will most likely be a waste of time.

2. Commit to updating your online presence at least monthly

Many strategies, such as social media, require constant engagement. You can be professional without always being connected (or using social media). At least once a month, however, you need to update information, grow your digital presence and ensure your online business matches your real-world business.

Public Professionalism

If you can make the commitment to be personally professional, your business will look professional to the public.

To make sure, here are a few steps you should take to be professional in public. You can download them as a checklist too.

  1. Your website should look great on a mobile phone. (Squarespace can easily help. Shopify is great if you are selling.)
  2. Your Google My Business page should have the correct information, a photo and a link to your website.
  3. Your website should have Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
  4. Your website should have a blog. (If you don't have one, Medium could work.)
  5. You should think of five words or phrases your customers would use to find you. At least once a month, write a blog post with at least one of these words. Once a month, look at how many people are finding you with those words on Search Console.
  6. You should build an email list. You can do this by having customers sign up on a piece of paper at your store, subscribing on your website or inviting attendees at a live event to opt-in to updates. (If you need an email marketing tool, MailChimp can help.) Bonus points if you set up an automatic thank you email and “automation” to upsell these subscribers.
  7. After, and only after, the above are complete, begin using the social network that you feel most comfortable with and that your customers are most likely to use. (We are seeing the greatest success with Facebook and Instagram for most customers. View our guides to learn specifics about each network.)

If you have these seven steps under control, then start more “outbound” methods of advertising like AdWords, newspaper ads, radio and more.

Get Professional

My goal for 2016 is to be professional in my personal and business life. (I wrote about it here.)

The fact is, we no longer have a choice. If we want to create work for others, it has to be professional.

If it's not professional, it won't be found, it won't be trusted, it won't be purchased and it's not worth your time.

Your specific strategy may differ, but now is the time to ask yourself:

What am I willing to focus on? What can I do professionally?

Are you stretched for time and wondering where to start (or focus) online? Our checklist will help you make the biggest impact with the least amount of time.

Download the free checklist today and start growing your digital footprint.