Today, few things are as important to building a successful business as getting it established online. Although it’s useful to check out what your rivals are doing, simply copying them won’t cut it if you want to be a success. You’ll need a coordinated plan based on a real understanding of the market and you will need to be prepared to invest in order to get ahead.
Understand what your customers want
As so often in business, it starts with understanding your customers. Factors like age, gender and income bracket will help you identify the sort of things that appeal to them when they’re online. The good news is that you won’t have to do all the groundwork yourself – as long as you have a clear idea of your customer profile, you’ll be able to find lots of useful research online which you can compare it with in order to establish the best approach.
You’ll find that customers in different groups prefer different kinds of social media, have different preferences around text, images and video, and expect to be addressed in different ways. Even the color scheme you choose can be influenced by this.
Focus first on your website
Functioning like a traditional storefront, your website will always be at the core of your online presence. It is the place where people find out who you are and what you stand for. You may want to sell products or services directly from it (there are lots of plug-ins from trading sites that make this easy to do), or you may want to use it to persuade prospective clients to contact you by phone or email. The first thing to think about is accessibility.
A well-designed responsive website will look good and function properly no matter what device it’s accessed on. You’ll need a style that suits your brand and appeals to your customers, and you’ll need to keep things simple so the visitors can take in the most important information immediately.
Be smart about social media
Having a social media profile is essential for reaching people, and if you can generate content that people want to share, it means that your followers will do some of your marketing for you. It’s a great way to direct people to your website and to build up a relationship with potential customers, giving your company a personality. In order to make it work in your favor, you will need to choose the right platforms for your target customers and make sure you keep your accounts busy – a neglected account gives a bad impression.
Make it personal
Nothing generates interest and keeps customers loyal like the feeling that you care about them personally. Wolverine Solutions Group runs targeted marketing campaigns and organizes email messaging that’s tailored to your particular customers and lets them know that their interests are important to you. This kind of approach is much easier than trying to keep up with personalized email by yourself, and the last thing you need is to make a mistake.
Don’t forget to give your customers the chance to speak to you as well – simple things like using opt-in post-purchase feedback forms will make them feel their views are valued and will provide you with invaluable marketing data.
Show your expertise
If you want to create a sense that your business is the best at what it does, it helps to build yourself up as an authority on relevant subjects. You can do this by putting yourself forward as an expert for journalists to consult, by writing articles of your own and publishing them online, by making how-to videos and posting them on YouTube or Vimeo, or by arranging to be interviewed in the media. This is also a good strategy for building up high-value links to your website, which will improve its search engine ranking.
If your business has a physical presence or does most of its work in a particular geographical area, using local keywording on your website and in your social media posts can really give you a boost. Search engines love this, and you can build on it by connecting with local media and raising your own profile in the local community through activities like sponsoring charity events or addressing meetings.
Customers feel more attracted to businesses that feel like part of their own communities, and you may also be welcomed in local business and social forums online as a valued contributor on local issues.
Developing your online presence in this way makes it much easier for you to get the attention your business needs without exhausting yourself in the process. Don’t be reticent about putting in the work and spending the money because a well-planned and sustainable online campaign will more than pay you back.
Interesting related article: “What is SEO?“