The Top 5 Tips for Taking Your Business Online
If you've read anything about marketing in the internet age, you know how important it is to have an online presence for your business. In the age of the silicon chip, any business that markets solely through old media loses a significant amount of market share to online businesses every day. If you already understand the importance of getting your business online, but do not know how to go about doing it, the following tips will help you get started.
Tip #1: Hire a Web Designer
Regardless of how you plan to establish your business online, you will need to have a website. A website makes your business stand out visually, which is something a Facebook page or Twitter page cannot do particularly well. While it is possible to make a good looking site using pre-packaged solutions like Wix and Weebly, these sites use templates that are pretty recognizable, and therefore not unique. Hire a pro web designer and you will get a unique design that catches attention.
Tip #2: Establish your Social Media Presence
The first sites you should sign up for are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Once you have a personal Facebook account, you can make a Facebook page for your business. On your Facebook page, you should include all relevant info about your business, plus a picture of your business' logo. Use Twitter to send out mass messages to people in your network. If you are a freelancer, you can use LinkedIn to find new gigs. The best way to secure consistent gigs on LinkedIn is to dominate discussion groups so that you stand out when people with gigs coming looking for you. On all social media sites, get your initial contacts by sending out requests to people you know personally, and build contacts from their contact lists.
Tip #3: Build a Blog
A blog is a journal-like series of posts that tell your viewers about something related to your business. Owning a blog is one of the best ways of establishing an online presence. To get started with a blog, just find a blog provider (WordPress is the best one for professional looking sites), sign up, choose a blog name, and choose a visual template. Once you have started your blog, update it with your first post, which should contain information relevant to your business' niche.
Tip #4: Visit Forums and Discussion Groups
There are web forums out there for just about every discussion topic you can think of. To find the most popular forums related to your business' niche, just do a Google search for your niche, and include the word "forum" in the search. Sign up for two or three of the sites that turn up in the top 10 Google search results, and start posting. Use your control panel to insert a banner ad with your business name in the footer. By doing this, you will ensure that everyone who reads your posts will see your business and potentially visit your site.
Tip #5: Sign Up for an Advertising Program
If you want people to visit your website and buy your products, you will need to attract viewers to your site. The easiest way to do that is with paid advertisements. Unless you understand the online landscape very well already, do not attempt to directly purchase ad space on a popular site or blog. Instead, sign up for a pay per click (PPC) or a pay per view (PPV) advertising program, like Google Adwords or FullTraffic Ads. You are not obligated to pay when you sign up for some of these programs. Instead, you pay when someone clicks or view your ad. Thus, with PPC/PPV advertising, you pay for actual customer engagement with your website, not for space on someone else's website. One particularly effective PPV advertising tactic is to buy FullTraffic ads that direct users back to your business' page.
Of course, these five tips are not the be-all and end-all of getting your business online. However, they are the most powerful tactics you can use to get started with online marketing. With a web designer, a social media presence and a forum presence, you can easily track down everything you need to expand your online presence beyond the bare basics. But always remember to start at the beginning. Use these five tips before you try anything else in online marketing.