Getting started with online marketing is the hardest part.
It’s real easy to get stuck in your ways, and it’s more true for that to happen when you’re a business owner, especially when you’re
getting started with your online marketing.
Running a successful business is tough in any niche, so if you’ve been in business for over five years, you’re probably doing something right.
Doing what has kept you moving forward in business for years is a good thing, but it can sometimes come back to bite you if you’re afraid to branch out and try new things.
Nowhere is this more common, than business owners being hesitant to embrace new changes in technology, and the many ways the Internet can help them market their business.
Many Business Owners are Afraid Online Marketing
A lot of business owners that have been successful for a long time didn’t grow up with a computer or smartphone in their pocket.
Some of them today didn’t get their first computer until well into their adult life, and may have already been running a profitable enterprise before the Internet was established.
These are the business owners that have a problem with getting started with online marketing, and still rely on the old methods of advertising, like radio or print ads.
And even though I am in the business of online marketing, I will admit that, depending on your business niche, and target demographics, some of these still might be the most effective.
But most likely, you’ll get a much bigger bang for your buck with online marketing and advertising.
When I consult business owners on getting started with online marketing, the number one question I get is “How can the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites help my business?”
Usually, the interest they suddenly show is because they’ve seen a competitor or know of a business owner who has recently incorporated online marketing methods into their advertising and marketing strategies, and have seen significant success.
They want to have similar success, but have no knowledge of what would work best for them or their business, or even where to begin.
1. Set some goals: What do you want to gain from your online marketing?
The first question you need to ask yourself is what do I want to accomplish from my online marketing efforts. Too often, business owners who don’t have a clear picture of what they hope to accomplish rush into getting a website created, setting up a social media presence, and do some email marketing, but don’t have any goals in place. The result is an unorganized mess that doesn’t engage users.
Are you looking to just get the word out about your business or do you want to run specific promotion and sales directed at those that find your business online? Do you want to use social media as a way to give some personality to your business? Or are you mostly interested in increasing the amount of traffic your business sees as a result of people on Facebook or Four Square? The first step to creating a successful online presence will be to have clearly defined goals. – These will help you decide which platforms you’ll be on and what you will do once you’re there.
2. Manage expectations: Do your research about online marketing audiences and options for your business niche.
You need to be honest and realistic regarding your expectations. If you’re struggling to keep the doors open and looking for a miracle that will solve all of your problems, technology and the web aren’t the magic bullet you’re searching for.
It’s true that every business should have at least SOME sort of web presence, but using a social media strategy might not make sense for you. Simply “being on Facebook” is fine, but what’s the point of spending the time to get there if you’re not connecting with anyone?
Example: If you had an insurance agency that specialized in retirement planning, chances are good, you’re not going to see a lot of interaction with people in this age group on social media.
3. Set yourself up for success: Find the right tools or services that help you easily manage your web presence.
Online Marketing Business Opportunity…
Decide if creating a website and setting up a Facebook, Twitter, Four Square, Yelp on your own is something you can handle.
A website can be the most technologically challenging here, but services like Florida SEO Hub offer a professional looking site using the WordPress platform with minimal design or coding skills needed. Once the site is done, it’s simple for anyone in your business to keep up with adding content, images and blogging.
Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels are fairly user-friendly to set up; if you can enter basic information about your business, you’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes.
You can take Online Marketing Courses:
Not everyone has the required level of computer skills to set these up though, or might prefer to have someone else handle it.
Web designers and social media experts are readily available. Put the word out and shop around. Most SEO companies also offer web design and complete social media services with a simple turnkey solution, but you’ll most likely pay more than if you hired a freelancer to get your website and social media pages set up and running.
4. Getting started with online marketing: Decide which sites or networks you want to use, then test for success or failure.
Marketing Online Business:
Now, you’re ready to go. You’ve set your goals for what you want to accomplish, you’ve adjusted your expectations, you’ve determined that your business type could benefit from a social media and web presence, and you’ve decided to either do it yourself or hire it out.
You’re not done yet! There are definitely dozens of things you can do online to market your business, so the next and final step to getting started with your online marketing, is to determine which sites and networks make sense for you, and which don’t.
Author: Steve Berchtold