September 25, 2017
Thinking of starting your own business that needs some online digital presence? This is a question that many of us have asked ourselves and many fall by the wayside because of the lack of a viable, well-structured online presence. So where do you begin to put together a strategy that will give you a presence in a highly competitive arena when you are potentially competing with well-established companies operating for many years in your space. Well, it’s not easy and it’s not cheap, but this step-by-step guide will hopefully be your saviour. The most obvious place to start that is also relatively inexpensive is various social media platforms. Considered to be easy to handle, they provide useful opportunities to promote your products or services and give you a good multiplier effect; especially if you use family and friends to share your posts with their connections and so on. Remember, link into as many opportunities as you can, as quickly as you can to get you up and running as fast as you can.
Here are 10 useful tips to guide you to digital marketing success:
- Find the Starting Line: You must start by defining the marketing strategy. This is a must to get your startup visible across all the various aspects of digital marketing. Getting help from a professional digital marketing agency may be outside of your budget in the early days of your startup, but don’t discount this option for too long or you may regret it later. There is a vast amount of research required for a successful online digital presence, especially competitor analysis that can throw up a substantial amount of information that could be extremely valuable in the decision making surrounding digital marketing for your startup. If you don’t find your market early, your startup will struggle for revenue, simply because no one knows who you are and what you are offering. Don’t take that conceited approach thinking “prospects will want to buy from me” regardless of competition; this is a recipe for disaster before you have even had chance to set yourself in the blocks before the gun goes off.
- Digital Online Presence: Getting this right is complicated for experienced marketers, let alone startup companies so a lot of attention is required to ensure you give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding. As a startup you must promote your brand, product or service to as many potential customers as possible in the shortest time available at a reasonable cost. An informative multi-functional website is a good place to start. There are many template platforms that offer a cost-effective solution to creating a website, but engaging a professional digital marketing agency is the best advice as they will have vast experience in aligning your website image and functionality to the market you are in. Secondly, design and functionality is particularly important in the “Mobile Friendliness” aspect of the website.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is essential if you are ever going to rank in the various search engines. There are many techniques to this phase of your digital online presence and simply to ignore it is not an option. It involves presenting your website content in the best viable way so that Web crawlers used by search engines know what your site represents and can offer your potential customers the opportunity to view your brand, products or services aligned to the search terms they have used to track down your offer. This includes images with tags and descriptions; optimized for size to allow good downloading speed without compromising the quality. Your content must be excellent quality, quantity and the correct headings on each page. And don’t forget a good backlinking strategy which is another vital aspect of your SEO strategy. There is no “quick fix” to this section of your strategy, it simply takes time and the experience of a professional SEO expert to rank you for keywords that prospective organic visitors will use to find you.
- Local vs National SEO: As part of your digital online strategy, you need to establish if your target audience is local or national. This is very important when it comes to you ranking for keywords. For the same keyword, you can rank locally but not nationally and vice versa. However, if the keyword selection is extremely well thought out, you could, in fact, rank for both. Take time to post your startup details with local directories, online newspapers and as many publications you can think of to help with backlinks to your site. Normally, it is free, but you might find some directories will charge a small fee. It’s worth the expense to have a marketing presence and you are more likely to target a wider audience who maybe looking for your brand, product or service through a third-party.
- Device Optimised Website: A mobile-friendly website is more important these days than ever before so, as a startup, ensure this is the case. With more than 50 percent of all searches using a mobile devices, your website must be visible or you are likely to lose valuable traffic which, in the initial stages, could be extremely damaging to your online presence.
- Get your Brand, Product or Service message out there: As a startup, you cannot sit back and wait, you need to be promoting regularly. It’s not uncommon to be expected to send up to 10 posts a week to Facebook, or five tweets every day to Twitter. And do not forget to post to LinkedIn and Google+ at least once per day. It may all seems excessive, but startups need the exposure on these various platforms.
- Attractive Content: Writing content about how good you are will simply not cut it with your audience members; they need much more than that. As a startup, you have a fantastic opportunity to educate with informative content mixed with promotions to engage with prospective customers. A website is not an expensive catalogue of who you are and what you do, it’s an interactive platform for you to engage prospects by keeping them intrigued with what you have to offer them. This transpires into them staying longer on your website, getting them more interested in your brand, product or service until eventually they purchase from you. That isn’t the end game either; they are more likely to refer friends, family or business colleagues to take a look at you if they have had an enjoyable experience.
- Images and Video: Sometimes it can be difficult as a startup to get useful content, especially images, but don’t worry, there are many libraries you can turn to in the initial stages. Engaging a digital marketing agency can prove the best way forward — it will guide you in image quality to improve download speed and SEO benefits. High resolution pictures are not necessary; they will only slow down your site and prospects will not wait — they will move on to the next site in the SERPs. It’s worth noting that the attention span of a prospective customer is less than 10 seconds, so you have minimal time to impress. Excellent quality animated explainer videos are a fantastic way of capturing attention. It’s a proven fact that browsers prefer to watch and listen rather than read. For startups this is a brilliant way to share your journey and interact with useful content.
- Make Contacting you easy: Contact information for a startup is an essential piece of the jigsaw. Simple interactive phone numbers, and e-mail buttons especially for mobile devices, should be prominent throughout your website. Make sure is it easy for visitors to communicate their questions and queries. Always respond quickly and efficiently. Use a plug in option for live chat or if you are not available online, make sure the plug in has a message option facility so you don’t lose that golden opportunity to communicate. A key feature of this section of your digital marketing presence is a contact form. Make it easy to complete and, more importantly, have an auto-respond option to thank them for their enquiry. There is nothing worse than a prospect taking the time to complete the form and them not knowing if you have received it. It’s basic courtesy, but you will be surprised how many companies fail with this task. Giving a good response to a prospect shows you care about them which, in turn, adds to your credibility and they will be more willing to purchase from you.
- Landing Pages: These have one function, to convert a visitor into a customer. Focus is always on the call to action button (CTA) so designing a landing page correctly is of vital importance. A key point to note is there should only be two basic ways of leaving the page so navigation opportunities for the visitor should be eliminated other than a button to convert (CTA) or the “x” to exit the browser. Minimal high quality content and images need to be prominent and get straight to the point of your offer or promotion. This form of marketing suits a startup business and the rewards can be very satisfying if you get it right.
Now it’s over to you and good luck with your startup!
Matt Robinson is the co-founder of Digital Web Services Group Ltd; a leading digital marketing agency based in Manchester, U.K. Matt’s true passion for online marketing in all forms has developed over many years of online marketing experiences.