When you start your business, the sheer number of online marketing options can be overwhelming and confusing. Most business owners want to reach a wider audience with the hope of attracting more people to buy their products and services but don’t know where to start. Our advice is to start with some very basic steps to set yourself up for future success with your digital marketing efforts. Here are some tips to get started.
The absolutely most important thing you can do for your marketing efforts is to make sure you deliver a product or service that is 100% awesome. This doesn’t mean having beautiful marketing materials and slick videos describing what you sell. This means that whatever you deliver to your clients, whether a physical widget or a service, is of the best value. Make sure that you exceed the expectations of each and every one of your customers every time. Positive word of mouth will take your business further than anything else, so make sure you’re ready to deliver your best with every interaction. Pretty websites and engaging social media posts won’t be able to make up for shoddy customer reviews. Spend the bulk of your time perfecting the goods you deliver to your customers and the word will get out (especially if you make a point to regularly ask your customers to leave online reviews and testimonials). This free marketing tactic provides more value than anything else out there.
Register Your Business with Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business).
It’s amazing how many businesses fail to take this simple action. One of the top questions we hear from clients is, “How do I get Google to list my business at the top of search results?” Google makes this really easy for you by offering a free service to list your business with them. You get to create your own business profile that tells Google exactly who you are, where you’re located, how customers can contact you, how they can purchase from you, read reviews and more! Your listing will appear in in a Knowledge Panel in search results and you’ll be listed in Google Maps (which is super important for local SEO). With a Google Business Profile, you get to control how your business appears in Google’s search results and increase your business’s overall visibility on the web.
Collect Email Addresses Every Chance You Get.
This one is a hard one for most business owners, especially in the beginning, when it can be uncomfortable to ask your customer for an email address. In fact, a question we often hear is, “Can’t I just add all my friends/family/acquaintances/customers without them having to opt-in?” And the answer is NO. There are definitely rules about how you can add people to your email list and it is important you get familiar with them so your domain doesn’t get blacklisted. Plus, you want people to feel excited about hearing from you, rather than like they are being spammed. Start with some simple opt-in options: place a bowl on your store counter where customers can drop a business card and be entered in a free giveaway, ask for your customer’s email address when getting their contact information, have a newsletter sign-up sheet whenever you have a table at an event, or have a simple sign-up form on your website. Once you are ready to start crafting email offers, you are going to be super grateful you took the time to build your list right from the very beginning!
Purchase Your Domain and Add a Simple Website.
Protect your online brand by purchasing a domain name specific to your business. Make sure it is easy to remember and relevant – don’t get too cute or clever here. You want to make it as intuitive as possible for people to find you on the internet. If you’re business name isn’t available, think about adding your location or some other identifying element to the domain name. If you’re not ready to invest in building a complex website, at least make sure you put up a simple page that says a little bit about what you do and provides your contact information (another great SEO signal as well). Google offers a free website as part of their Google Business Profile service and it’s an easy way to get started (and help bring your business to Google’s attention even more!)
Create a Social Media Profile.
Building a presence on a social media platform is a great way to provide proof to your customers that your business is trustworthy. You don’t have to be on every social media platform to start reaching your target audience, just pick the one where you think your customers spend the most time (you can figure this out researching on the internet and asking your existing customers). Be sure your profile is completely filled out with all the necessary details about your business and include some great pictures. Visuals are extremely important and help make your profile stand out from the competition. Try and add a new update at least once a week so that customers can see that your business is active and engaging with your audience.
These basic steps enable you to build a strong foundation to start your online marketing efforts. Once you get comfortable setting up your online presence and building a following, it’s easy to start expanding your reach. The problem most people run into is trying to do too much in the beginning which leads to frustration and little progress. Once you’ve mastered these 5 easy steps, you’ll soon find yourself ready to take your marketing efforts to the next level!