Each day, billions upon billions of searches are conducted on Google. With this revolutionary tool, people from all over the globe can access a universe of information in mere seconds.

Knowing this, have you ever considered what comes up when people search for you or your business? Does your vision correspond with the results that pop up on the results page?

If you aren’t sure, I suggest Googling your business right now. See what pops up.

Given the reality that billions of queries are submitted every day, it’s foolish to avoid the first impressions, words and images that people see when they look at you and your business. It is for this very reason that I decided to give my website a facelift, so to speak.

In the process of bolstering my website, I learned several valuable online branding tricks and strategies. But before getting to that, it’s important to understandy why your business needs to be relevant and up-to-date with its web presence.

Here are some of the top reasons to monitor and safeguard your business’ online image:

1. Internet users aged 50-64 have risen sharply, from 40 percent in 2010 to 77 percent last year, according to a Pew Research Center study. Senior Research Specialist and co-author Mary Madden said, “While seniors are testing the waters, many baby boomers are beginning to make a trip to the social media pool part of their daily routine.”

2. People are spending more and more time online, specifically on social media. According to a recent Nielsen study, PC users spend approximately 20 percent of their online time in social networks, while mobile users are even more prolific at 30 percent.

3. Google now gets more than 100 BILLION searches per month. Enough said.

4. Half of small business owners reported gaining new customers through social media, most notably through Facebook and LinkedIn.

These stats are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to conveying the importance of having a strong online and social media presence. Given this revolutionizing shift in the way people communicate and businesses market to consumers, it’s time to adapt.

During the process of overhauling my website, I employed the A.C.E principle, which comes directly from the book “Creating Trust,” by Matt Zagula and Dan Kennedy. It offers some practical wisdom for creating trust with prospects.

Authority

Having authority means that you have a powerful and influential voice in the industry. When you have authority, people care about your opinions and what you say. Think of the first name that comes to mind when you think of advanced IRA planning/knowledge. I’m guessing Ed Slott was toward the top of the list

Celebrity

Your celebrity status may not directly relate to your level of expertise, but it’s still an important element for building trust with prospects. I like to use the example of Suze Orman. If she opened a financial firm in your town today, you’d be faced with fierce competition. Not necessarily because she is more qualified than you (obviously), but because she has celebrity status.

Exclusivity

Exclusivity is the idea that you don’t just work with anyone. Think of a high-profile plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. Does the average Jane Doe know about and/or visit them? Probably not. The element of exclusivity gives your business/services an added layer of credibility and desire.

The A.C.E principle corresponds with the idea that people buy the “who” not the “what.” Imagine walking into a grocery store looking for a good cereal. Are you more likely to buy Fruit Loops cereal or a generic knock off? While there may be little to no difference in the quality or taste, you’d still probably purchase the name brand because you trust it. The same idea applies to your business. People are interested in the “who.” Knowing this, how can you differentiate yourself from other producers? What do you offer that no other financial professionals can quite match? What values and qualities do you have that make you indispensable? These are all important things to consider while building a remarkable online and social media presence.

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