5 Steps to Marketing Your Business Online

Planning to establish an online presence for you new venture? Here are some pointers to get you started

If you asked the average entrepreneur, most could detail their business model without missing a beat. Yet in contrast, the realm of online marketing can be a challenge for the uninitiated. For those wishing to go beyond traditional channels, a targeted and continuous digital strategy is not only cost-efficient, but ultimately more effective for your new business in the long run.

Here are five essential solutions that can enhance your brand’s visibility, and keep your enterprise flying successfully in the digital space.

1. Create a scalable website with solid content

What would you do to learn more about an unfamiliar brand? You’d probably reach for your smartphone and Google it immediately, yes? Likewise, establishing an online presence improves your chances of acquiring new customers, and helps to bolster your existing customer base. The first step to achieving this is to build a credible website.

Aesthetics are of course important, but do keep in mind that your website content and navigation are equally critical too. Work with qualified web designers and copywriters to ensure that your products or services are presented in a simple, attractive and engaging manner. For an ecommerce site, secure the platform with SSL authentication and apply the necessary precautionsi.

2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

As you are building your website, you might want to consider further tweaking its content to improve your search engine rankings, a process known as Search Engine Optimization. Google, for example, displays links to pages that it deems to be the most relevant and authoritative: ideally, you want to be as far up that list as possible.

Besides comparing keywords used in customers’ searches with your site’s content, Google also tries to determine how authoritative your site is, based on the quality of referral links. If you want your page to excel in search rankings, be sure to include common keywordsii in your content — and also encourage quality sites to link back to your homepage and content.

3. Consider pay-per-click advertising

Not to be confused with SEO, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an effective means of driving traffic to your website via search engines. With PPC, you have the option of purchasing keywords on a pay-per-click basis. Google AdWordsiii, for instance, is an advertising service designed for businesses wanting to display PPC ads on Google’s network.

So how does PPC work? Let’s suppose you are selling shoes in Singapore. If you purchased the keywords “shoes, Singapore”, a text ad for your website would appear in the paid results section for searches made with the relevant words. Users will be directed to your website upon clicking this link, and you, in turn, will pay a cost-per-click fee to the search engine. A key to this is refining your search terms as much as possible so that you’re not paying for combinations that are too broad to fit your needs.

4. Leverage on social media

The next logical step is to position your offerings through social media accounts to amplify your brand name and expand your customer base. As mentioned, targeted marketing is crucial, and especially so in social media. For example, a Twitter or Instagram account is most effective in reaching out to millennials and young adults. If the majority of your clientele consists of an older demographic, then it might pay to make a Facebook page your social media priority.

According to Invespiv, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Considering that there are 1.59 billion monthly active users on Facebookv alone, these numbers represent real opportunity. With social media content, the goal is to concentrate on value over volume. Give your followers something informative for them to share: and make sure that the tone of the conversations is engaging, and offers something Facebook users want. Hard-selling on social media may lose you more fans than it gains.

5. Keep in Touch

Last but not least, build a relationship with your customers by following up through newsletters or targeted electronic direct mail (EDM). Do note that tailoring these marketing emails to your target audiences is critical in securing optimal return rates, and subsequently, increase sales.

For example, sending emails about enterprise servers to teenagers isn’t likely to boost your ROI. Instead, think of crafting your EDMs with content your target customer would be most interested in, and consider credible ways to share that information in an attractive format. The rule of thumb is that EDMs that are more content and story driven will get the higher open rates.

In terms of tools to help you, online services such as Constant Contactvi and MailChimpvii are among the many affordable applications available to help you integrate an email marketing component with your business plan.

[i] http://www.itdinteractive.com/ecommerce-security-checklist-for-2015/
[ii] https://adwords.google.com.sg/KeywordPlanner
[iii] https://www.google.com.sg/intl/en/adwords/
[iv] http://www.invespcro.com/blog/social-media-influences-purchase-decisions/
[v] http://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/
[vi] https://www.constantcontact.com/index.jsp
[vii] http://mailchimp.com/