So, you’ve opened up your business and are ready to assume the role of an entrepreneur in full, huh? Congratulations are in order, then – the first step is more than most are willing to take.
Unfortunately, this step is still only that: the first out of countless others, each potentially being more grueling than the previous. Yes, you might have opened up your doors to customers without hiccups, but have you really made sure you’re on the map?
Being a successful business owner takes a lot more than drive – you’ll have to make a constant effort to get ahead of your competition through creative marketing.
The essence of online marketing
In a sense, online marketing isn’t all that different from its real-world counterpart: lots of businesses in lots of niches trying to attract customers. Yet online marketing differs in one important aspect that far too many business owners who started in the real world neglect: search engines.
Search engines are always looking to make or break your business based on how they perceive you. Are you someone with a quality presence on the web or are you an interloper who needs to be swept back to the last pages of search results?
Fortunately, no matter the stage your business is at, there are plenty of ways through which you can convince the search engines to lean towards the former. Understanding how search engines work should be the corner stone of every online business marketing effort – we’d say it’s always best to start simple, but manipulating these devious and complex engines is anything but.
After optimizing your online brand in a way that gives you more favor with the search engines and lands you on more first pages (or, preferably, even in the top 5 results), it’s time to start thinking in more detailed terms.
Running your online campaigns
Here’s another thing that online business marketing has going for it: running a marketing campaign on the internet is much easier than doing it in the real world. You don’t have to pick and choose from heaps of newspapers or magazines, or scout for billboards, or argue with TV heads over how much prime time you can get – instead, you can have a full campaign up and running in a matter of hours (or even minutes, if you’re really in a hurry).
That’s not to say marketing yourself successfully on the web is easy, of course. No, you’ll have to put in a good bit of consideration into managing your resources effectively – every ad budget is limited, and you can’t afford too many failed campaigns that generate very little traffic.
Familiarizing yourself with the search engines should have given you a good understanding of how Google works, which should help you set up your first Google ad campaign. With Google, you only pay when someone clicks on the ad, so you’ll have a good insight into how well the advertising effort is working out for you. Make sure to monitor traffic and ask your leads about how they found you – if Google ads aren’t doing the trick, perhaps a few targeted Facebook campaigns might yield better results.
Past that, see about becoming a mainstay advertiser on one or two websites of your choice that have a decent amount of visitors – if you picked a website that complements your niche well, this method stands to get you the biggest amount of leads over the long term, although you’ll always have to give the website owner a cut of your profits.