For any SMB (small and medium-sized business) that wishes to expand beyond the local boundaries, placing your business online is the smartest move to make. If you are trying to get ahead of your competition and overcome the phase of picking up breadcrumbs, you need to present yourself to the web.
The whole web has become an intense marketing battlefield exactly because of the low cost and highly efficient online promotional techniques. These marketing campaigns do not require immense budgets and are perfect for any SMB starting up. The whole idea of putting your business online is to be heard of and recognized as a brand. So, how do you achieve that? Here are a few milestones you need to complete.
First Step: Launching a website
There are numerous website platforms which you can use to create a website, so the first thing you need to do is to define the volume of your business and opt for a platform accordingly. Here are a few examples:
Domain Name & Hosting
Before start a business in this online world, you need to buy a domain name that suits to your business and a best web hosting to run a website smoothly without any kind of trouble in future. A domain name should be a unique, branded & SEO friendly. By the way, SiteGround & BlueHost are one of the best web hosting companies with 99.99% of their uptime &well known for their fast customer support services across the globe.
This is the most popular and most commonly used content management system (website platform) in the world. It offers a great deal of functionalities and numerous design options which can be personalized to suit your business needs. WordPress is 100% free CMS which means you can install it freely to run a website and modify it to match your needs. WordPress is recommended for any kind of business and it is user friendly when it comes to maintenance. However, it requires an advanced to intermediate knowledge of programming languages, so if you opt for it, it is advisable that you invest in someone experienced to do it for you. This is a perfect platform for almost any SMB or large corporate businesses.
This is a fast solution for any type of small business website. In a matter of minutes, you can create a fully organized website without any troubles, by simply dragging the elements on “the canvas” and dropping them in place, or by using one of the numerous predefined, customizable templates. It is perfect for small businesses, for their portfolio presentation and business card – for example, restaurants, patisseries, fashion designers, book stores, etc.
Second Step: Social Media Engagement
People constantly hang out on social networks where they communicate, research, engage in discussions and even make their shopping decisions. Engagement in social media is a perfect way to introduce your business to the people and spread brand awareness over the web. However, always keep in mind that social media engagement is not a one-way street. It is not as simple to offer prizes just to harvest signals (likes, shares, pluses and tweets), you won’t benefit from them much. To put it bluntly, have you noticed that Facebook has two numbers defined for each page: the number of likes and the number of people actually talking about it? The success of social media engagement is measured by the ratio of these two parameters. The lower the ratio (likes/people talking about it) the higher the influential factor and that generally reflects on your business.
Third Step: Market and Web Analytics
By connecting your website to Google Analytics, you can constantly track your website traffic and see how your visitors respond to your content. For example, a page with certain content about one of your specific products/services has lower traffic than the rest of the pages. You need to define your website audience based on their geographical position, age, time spent on your website and the hot-spots of the page that consume their attention the most and replicate the setup for each page. By performing these tweaks to your page design, content and functionalities, you may greatly improve your traffic on the website, thus your visibility on the web.
Market research is closely connected to this process because you have an option of creating your own circle of targeted audiences and gradually expanding it. With the data gained from website and traffic analytics, you can make investment decisions based on the visitors’ interest – this creates a market flux and can positively reflect on your business.
These are just ideas to keep you going, the milestones you need to achieve – the rest depends on you and your ability to research, interpret and employ the ideas you deem perfect for your business.