When launching a small business, there are innumerable small details to consider. Coming up with a unique niche in an already saturated marketplace is a challenge unto itself, nevermind the more mundane tasks of securing an office, hiring employees and dealing with startup finances. But even while you’re still nurturing your brainchild, it’s crucial to devote some thought to your company’s digital marketing strategy. Here are five details to square away as you take the steps to turn your business idea into reality.
1. The Importance of a Website
To put it bluntly, modern businesses might as well not exist without a website. Even the smallest mom-and-pop shop can and will draw in customers and establish a reputation by crafting a carefully considered website. Consider your site as important as your brick-and-mortar storefront: It needs to be sophisticated and intriguing enough to draw in new clientele. First things first: Decide what you want your domain name to be and then take the steps to obtain domain registration.
Once you have a domain in place, you must take the time to build a superior site and populate it with informative, clear and relevant content. It’s also crucial to update that content with great regularity; consider starting a company blog on which multiple individuals—preferably ones knowledgeable about your business or field—can write frequent posts updating readers about the goings-on at your company and in your industry.
2. Establishing a Social Media Presence
Once you’ve established a high quality website, you should turn your attention to another way to connect with potential customers: social media. Creating Facebook page and a Twitter account and joining a Google+ circle or two will help raise awareness of your brand while giving you the opportunity to interact with your intended client base. Plus you’ll have the opportunity to compose frequent tweets on your company’s innovations and developments; down the line, social media will give you the chance to address customer service issues quickly in a public forum. Being active on social media sites also sends signals to Google that yours is a viable, active business worth checking out online. Which brings us to…
3. Search Engine Optimization
To earn a high ranking in the organic search results on Google, you’ll have to work a little SEO magic. If you own a store selling historical knick-knacks in the Windy City, it makes sense to optimize your site for search phrases like “antique store Chicago”—but for all you know, consumers are using an entirely different search phrase.
Do a bit of keyword research to find out what people are searching for online that’s related to your industry in general and to your business in particular. Put these terms to use on your site, in your blog posts and on those afore-mentioned social media pages. Just be sure not to over-use them, as Google has strict penalties for keyword stuffing and other over-optimization practices.
4. Tread Lightly with Email Marketing
Now that you have a fantastic website that turns up in organic searches, a strong social media presence and a clear picture of your company’s online trajectory, it’s time to think about an email marketing campaign. Connecting with potential customers via e-mail is a delicate art; friendly communication can quickly become too heavy-handed.
If a potential customer has trusted you with his e-mail address, abusing it will only turn him off. Your safest bet is to learn from those who came before you: Do a little reading on what makes a successful e-mail marketing campaign and try to adhere to a less-is-more policy.
With a well-thought-out plan of action, your startup business can achieve success online—which can ultimately lead to a more successful business with a stable profit margin.