Founding a new business is one of the most exciting things you can do. And, if you do it right, it can be among the most profitable things that you can do. However, starting a new business is also one of the trickiest and riskiest things that you can do. You need to make smart decisions from the start. One of the smartest decisions you can make with a new business is setting up that business’s online presence properly.
You need to be online because your customers are online. Starting a successful new business means creating an online presence from scratch. Invest wisely in the help you need, and get this done right!
Here are a few tips for creating your business’ online presence.
Why your business needs to be online
These days, people live their lives online. More than three-quarters of Americans own smartphones. People search for things online all the time. In fact, Google fields more than 40,000 search queries per second. People date online, socialize online and, most importantly for your business, they work and shop online.
Think you can dodge this requirement because you’re starting a B2B business? Think again. Just like people, businesses research online before they buy. Employees and entrepreneurs find business partners, suppliers, and consultants online. Whether your customers are individual consumers or huge corporations, you need to be online!
Where does your business need to be online?
Basically, everywhere. You need to identify the social platforms where your ideal customers hang out. A blog is another necessity (see below), and has to offer content your demographic is looking for. Look often for other blogs that offer similar content and guest post on them. Seek out influencers on all platforms that can promote your brand in exchange for money or free products/services.
So what does “being online” mean for a business?
For starters, it means having a website. In 2018, not having a website is like not having a physical address. It will make consumers think your business is shady (and that’s if customers ever find out your business exists at all — which, without a website, is unlikely).
You will also want to be active on social media. The largest social media platforms are an obvious place to start: Facebook, with more than two billion users worldwide, is a no-brainer. Twitter is important, too. Instagram is a good place to be, especially for businesses that rely on physical appeal to market products. Certain types of businesses will want to monitor LinkedIn, where headhunters, B2B businesses, and others can promote their services while recruiting top talent.
Advertising is the key to online business success
Being online is great, but it won’t do you much good unless people are visiting your website, and seeing the great things you have to offer. You need to invest in online marketing. That means direct forms of advertising, of course. Banner ads, PPC advertising, email mailing lists and newsletters, links in blog posts, and more—you definitely want it all.
You also want more subtle forms of advertising. This isn’t Field of Dreams: just because you built it doesn’t mean that customers will come. You need to promote your website and social media channels, and guide customers to them. One key is search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is the practice of making your business as search engine-friendly as possible. Ultimately, you want to be a top 3 result on Google and other search engines.
SEO is complex. It involves keyword density, link equity, and more. You can—and should— invest in help for this aspect of your business. SEO experts who provide content marketing services can build and manage your blog, improve the conversion rate of your lead generation funnel, and manage the techy details of your site in ways that make your SEO more robust. This has real value for your growing business.
Your customers are online — you need to be too!
When you build your new business, build it where your customers are. Build your brand online. Starting a new business isn’t easy, but you’ll have the best possible chance of success if you put your self front-and-center where your customers spend the most time.