The worst thing a business owner can do for his business is to dive head on into something without really knowing or understanding what it is. We’ve noticed this trend in a lot of clients, especially those who have yet to be introduced to the world of digital marketing and how it works.
If you’re a business owner or thinking about opening your own business soon, and would like to use online efforts to promote yourself and expand, here are eight very important things to do and remember before promoting your business online.
1. Read and Research
Like any successful business, you must first plan. Define your market, and know how to target them through digital marketing strategies and campaigns. Read up and research on what would work best for your target market. If your market is below 35 years old, the quickest way to reach them is through social media. In the Philippines alone, almost 37 million have access to the Internet and 97% of the total online population have Facebook accounts, which is why many local businesses prefer to do Social Media Marketing over any other type of marketing, to increase awareness and exposure, and target individuals with specific interests belonging to a certain demographic.
Reading and researching will also give you a better idea on how digital marketing works. There are many trusted blogs online that can help you and give you the data and information you need, such as Business 2 Community or Search Engine Land. Try to attend talks and seminars on digital marketing as well. To give you a rough estimate of how much you need to invest, there are digital marketing calculators available to assist you. The more you are able to maximize your strategies and campaigns, the higher the potential of your return on investment or ROI.
2. Have Clear Goals and Objectives
We’ve encountered clients who want to build their fan pages or drive traffic to their website only because they want to overtake their competitors through big numbers. Before investing thousands of money in ad campaigns, think again: what are your goals and objectives in growing your fan page or driving more traffic to your website? Is it because you want to eventually convert these numbers into actual buyers? Do you want to create a database for your business to give you an idea of who your market is or so that you can use the database for e-mail marketing? Or are you simply after leads and inquiries?
In knowing your goals and objectives, it’s much easier to define your KPI’s and how to reach these. You’ll also be able to establish exactly how much you need to invest in order to get the return on investment you desire.
3. Build Your Online Property
Before promoting your business online, make sure to build and strengthen your online properties. These include your website and social media accounts. It’s best to set up a website first for your potential consumers to find you. A wise move would be to invest in making it responsive so that it can cater even to mobile and tablet users. After all, 2014 is the Year of Mobile Phones, and soon enough the penetration of mobile usage worldwide will overtake desktop usage.
Speaking on a technical note, only purchase your domain name and hosting service from reliable providers. And if you want to really protect your site and make it exclusive to your business, buy all other domain name extensions to avoid cybersquatting. Maintain your website by allowing Google to crawl your site every so often, and by implementing on-site efforts for search engine optimization. You may not feel the results early on, but it’s definitely a long-term investment you will be thankful for.
4. Use a Web Analytics to Your Website
Once your website has been set up, don’t forget to add a web analytics. One of the most popular tools these days is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free comprehensive web measurement tool by Google that gives you a better understanding of your website’s traffic and audience behaviour. It will help provide insights on what you can do to improve your website’s performance. Other tools you can use are Piwik and Similar Web. These are all tools designed to aid in improving your website’s performance, and eventually to serve as guidance in your digital marketing strategies.
5. Create Social Media Accounts That Will Help Promote Your Business
Continue to build your online properties by setting up a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter Account, LinkedIn Profile, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram as necessary. Target keywords to describe your business, to help your business rank faster in search engines, and to increase credibility.
Remember: There are many ways you can build your social media pages aside from using ads. You just have to get creative!
6. Know the Estimated Cost per Clicks If You Want to Run a Paid Advertising
If you’re thinking about running ads either on Facebook or using Adwords, know the estimated cost per clicks or cost per impressions so that you can plan efficiently and spend your budget wisely. A lot of people make the mistake of using paid ads without really knowing how, and they end up spending more than necessary. As much as possible, you want to invest as carefully and as minimal as possible yet still get the maximum results. This is why we encourage you to read up and research, so none of your money goes to waste.
7. Have Initiative and Exert Effort in Contacting People
Like how all businesses start out, you need to have initiative and exert extra effort in contacting the right people who can help expand your business. Grow your network and get to know people who have already made themselves huge online. Set up a free listing in search engine local directories, and include your website’s URL and description. Comment on blogs in the same industry as yours, and redirect them to your website. Be a guest blogger and write an article that can help boost your business’ reputation.
If you’re selling products, send some samples to bloggers and online publications who can review or feature it on their site. Have business cards made and hand them out every time you meet people. You can even ask your family and friends to help distribute them to influential people. On the other hand, if you have business cards from before, e-mail these people and introduce your business to them.
Become more active online and publicize yourself by tying up with blogs and online publications. All these efforts can help you build more credibility for yourself and your business, and eventually increase your number of loyal customers.
8. Don’t Give Up
The hardest part about setting up a business is at the start. There will be numerous obstacles thrown your way, but this doesn’t mean you should give up. Know that starting a business online is a good move, because capital expenses are lower and it’s much easier and much faster to broadcast yourself to both a local and global market. This is why digital marketing is best for start-ups and SME’s. It provides an equal platform for everyone, making the competition a fair game.
The time to start a business online and promote it through different digital marketing channels is now. Businesses both big and small are slowly shifting to these channels and what better way to take advantage of it than by being ahead in the game? You’ll find that having a business online, as long as you implement a good digital marketing strategy, will lead to maximum business results and return on investment.