Online Business Basics: Why Your Business Needs to be Online Now

Make hay while the sun shines (meaning: take advantage of a situation while the conditions are good) rings true in marketing your business online as much as it does anywhere. The opportunities available to your business may pass quickly if you don’t act.

If you have yet to take advantage of the opportunities available to you online, you need to stop waiting and go digital. With so many free tools available, like WordPress, for example, to kickoff your website, social media platforms open to all comers and more, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be online.

Doing business today almost requires you to have an online presence to be successful. Start with something like a simple WordPress site. Select a nice looking template, drop in your logo, write some engaging copy about your brand, and push the site live.

Many small businesses pass on this simply because they believe they need a developer to create a website. That’s no longer true. The beauty of WordPress (or Wix or a number of other CMS solutions) is that virtually anyone can setup a website with little effort. Your first site may not win any awards, but as your revenue begins to increase, you can put some of that money aside and pay a marketing agency to upgrade your website.

Once you have your website live, you have a number of promotional options available to you. The good news is that many of these tools and resources are free as well. Facebook and other social media channels, Mailchimp for email marketing, you name the marketing tactic, there is likely a free tool to help. The free versions always have limitations, but you can build the foundation with those limitations and boost your efforts as you build the resources.

You can’t be everything to everyone

The good news is that you don’t need to do it all. Take on what you can based on your resources. Then, as you build your business (this is starting to sound familiar by now) you put more back into it, hire more people, bring in freelancers and boost your efforts.

Start with the minimum. I recommend the following:

With that in place, you should be able to handle at least the basics with 1-2 people in house. Often, small businesses will split these responsibilities across multiple team members, sometimes none of whom possess marketing backgrounds.

So, let’s get started by digging a bit into the basics of creating an online strategy for your business.

Getting started creating your online strategy

No matter how limited you are with regard to resources, you’ll need to start your foray into online marketing with a strategy. Without a strategy, you can easily lose track of goals and you won’t be able to tell which tactics were successful and which were not.

At the very least, your strategy should include:

  • Your current resources
  • Info about your target market
  • The channels you plan to use
  • Tactics you’ll use to grow
  • Goals and metrics to measure success
  • Budget for tracking purposes

Your marketing strategy can get a lot more complicated than this, and ultimately it will as things move along, but for now, just lay out the basics to serve as a roadmap and to hold yourself and your team accountable.

Once you have the plan in place, you’ll be much more prepared to actually executve your online strategy…and succeed.

Implementing your online marketing strategy

Take it in phases. I recommend the following:

Phase One

Starting with building the foundation. That foundation is your website. That’s the online presence around which your marketing strategy should be build. The goal being to send qualified traffic to your website, convince them to submit their contact info so your sales team can follow up, or buy an actual product if you operate and ecommerce store, and then move them into your marketing communications.

Phase Two

Once you have the website built, setup your social media channels and get together and marketing collateral. You can start a blog at this point (which is great for SEO, thought leadership, brand awareness and more), and that will give you move content to post on social media to send back to your site.

Phase Three

Email marketing can start here. Again, this is a basic strategy if you’re just starting off, so things can get a lot more complex, but social media, blogging and email can get you started off nicely.

So, you’re ready to take it to the next level?

Once you have the basics in place, you’ll want to continue to grow your online presence. To do that, you’ll need more resources, your approaches will need to get more sophisticated, and you’ll need to consider a website redesign. Don’t worry, we have plenty of resources to help.

Here are a few great articles that can help you take your online marketing to the next level.

Website design: Tips to create and promote a WordPress blog

Social media: How to boost your company’s social media presence

SEO: SEO basics and how it can help your business

Paid media: Why you should incorporate paid media into your strategy

No more waiting. You’re now armed with some solid insights to help you get started, so what are your waiting for? If you have any questions, we have answers, and we are happy to help.

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Joseph Tsaker

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