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How to grow your business online: A guide for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur growing a business online
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Why your business should have an online presence

Starting and growing a business in 2020 includes significant changes compared to five or even ten years ago.  As an entrepreneur one of the most important changes in the business environment is digital marketing.  In the early stages of planning your business your marketing plan may include a website or some kind of online presence. 

 

Why your company should be online? Starting and growing a business in 2020 requires significant changes compared to five or even ten years ago.  Digital marketing is one of the most important changes in the business environment.  In the early stages of your business planning, your marketing plan may include a website or some online presence.

Taking your business online is much cheaper than traditional methods of marketing. More specifically, there is a wide range of digital marketing platforms.  Your business can be “few clicks” online.

Not yet persuaded why your business needs online. Research the current online platforms YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok. Google search these platforms for the number of users. In most instances, millions or billions of users consider each of these online platforms.

You’re familiar with this phrase? “Google It” Google is the number one search engine used every day in millions of online searches.

Imagine yourself in your clients’ shoes.  The first thing we do when searching a product or service is a Google search.  The challenge to you as a business owner is simple. Can anyone find your business online?

How to start building an online presence for your business

Getting started with building an online presence for your business is critically important for growing your business and attracting new clients.  The first step includes developing a digital marketing strategy.

Hubspot defines a digital marketing strategy as, “Your digital marketing strategy is the series of actions that help you achieve your company goals through carefully selected online marketing channels. These channels include paid, earned, and owned media, and can all support a common campaign around a particular line of business” 

Strategy is the keyword to take note, the online world is filled with many competitors who are trying to get the attention of potential clients online.  Your online business strategy should be clear by defining your objectives. Consider using the following points to develop your digital marketing strategy.

Value proposition – clearly define what problem your business solves and who is your target audience. How will your business online presence help people find solutions to their problems?

 

Set Goals – define what your online marketing strategy will achieve, are you trying to increase awareness of your brand? Are you trying to increase sales and leads of your products and services? Remember to specify with these goals by including timeframes and numbers.

 

Allocating a marketing budget – the online market is becoming extremely competitive.  To effectively execute your strategy consider allocating a budget for paid online advertising.  Review the skills of your marketing department and if needed outsource your digital marketing to experts if you do not have experts in house. 

 

Customer persona – develop a customer persona to clearly understand who your ideal customer is.  This step should be done in detail and list all the challenges your ideal customer experiences.  A business online presence is not your personal brand rather platforms for customers.

 

Competitor research – finding information about your competitors’ sites online is quite simple, just do a Google search.  Check the online platforms your top competitors are using to grow their businesses online. Visit the social media pages of competitors to get a better understanding of their content marketing plan.  Avoid trying to replicate what your competitors are doing online, but rather explore new opportunities.

 

Marketing channels: choosing the best online platforms for your business – there are many platforms to choose to grow your business online.  In most cases when consulting with clients for digital marketing services we find they try using all four social media channels. This is a huge mistake made by business owners. To avoid making this mistake refer to the customer persona you developed and research which platforms the majority of your ideal clients use online.  Invest time in researching online platforms and choose which suit your business based on your business strategy.

 

Content creation: many businesses are online however, this does not mean customers are going to flock your online platforms and social media pages.  Make sure the content your post online and your marketing efforts are useful for customers. Think about the last time you clicked the like button on a social media post, signed up for a newsletter or made an online purchase. The content you create should have clear objectives and goals and add value to the lives of your customers. Focus on content that will nurture customer relationships. Email marketing is a great option to consider for developing loyal, long-term customers.

 

Website development should be a top priority for business growth and your business online marketing strategy. Start by registering a domain name for your business, learn web development or outsource the web design and development process to an agency. 

Most online marketing options used by small business owners are hosted by companies allowing you to use their service for your business.  A business should have its own online platform to engage, interact and transact with customers.  This is the main reason why having a website for your business is so important.

Most purchases are not made on social media but on a website, social media plays a huge role in referring potential customers to your website to reach your conversion goals or get to know more about your brand. By using the services of a professional web development agency you can incorporate online selling on your website.

Building your own self-managed website can save you money but you will need to invest time in learning and educating yourself. Choose a hosting provider  that provides professional support and is reliable, to prevent downtime on your website. Consider these options for building your own website:

Wix

SquareSpace

Weebly

Measuring and effectiveness of your business online presence

Developing a strong online presence for your brand requires patience, ongoing learning and adapting to changes on social media channels. Data is key to understanding the effectiveness of your business online presence.  Small business and big business understand the importance of analyzing data.   While small business owners may not have the budgets like corporate companies, there affordable tools to help you get started.

Hootsuite

Buffer

 

Social media platforms include built in analytics features which are free to use.  Explore the features by spending more time on the platforms used by your business.  In cases where your business is using more than one social media platform consider using social media management tools.

 

Not all data viewed on social media is equal, for example the number of likes received on a post may not lead to a customer visiting your website or showing further interest in your business.  Choose analytics data which is relevant to your business goals and objectives and focus your content accurately. 

Finally, online platforms are constantly changing make sure your business stays informed of new trends, information and updates. Connect with us for more information J29 Business Simplified.

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