Starting a Business is Hard
Anyone who has started their business knows how challenging and overwhelming the process can be from the start. Even when you already know your service or product, there is a slew of things when it comes to management and operational aspects. These include anything from applying for proper permits, hiring staff, and handling your payment process.
A lot of this occurs before you can even think of how you’ll promote yourself. And as if you weren’t overwhelmed enough before, now you have to face the question of marketing. Without the proper guidance and expectations, you run the risk of not only driving yourself crazy but potentially giving up too soon and becoming a statistic of businesses that tried and failed.
Marketing is also Hard
The truth is that you’re good at what you do – whether that’s making a product people want to buy or offer a service that improves their life. You’re an independent entrepreneur with an adept ability to problem solve and figure things on your own.
But, let’s face it. Some of us have egos, and our pride keeps us from asking for help. On top of that, we have to manage our expenses. It may feel prudent to save money on marketing by doing it on your own, but this can potentially cost you more if you don’t know what you’re doing. Your customers come to you because you’re a professional and can help them in some shape or form. So, why wouldn’t you let someone else do the same for your marketing?
(there are two reasons why I prefer taking a car to a mechanic 1) I don’t have the skills 2) I don’t have the time or desire to learn it on my own. I just want my car fixed.)
Understand the Process, but don’t Stress Over Details
An online marketing strategy doesn’t have to be that complicated. As you can see below, we’ve narrowed it down to five key steps. Keep in mind that within each component, there is also a strategy and process. While you need to be involved in offering your input, you don’t need to think about every minute detail – and much less, learn how to do it all on your own.
We want to note that this process is merely a suggestion for a business with no online presence whatsoever that wants to be aggressive from the start. It’s possible you already have some aspects, like social media profiles or something else, or have budget considerations and may not be able to implement all components, which is perfectly fine!
Create Your Website
First things first, you need a website for your business. If you already have one, great! But, you’ll need to consider whether it looks outdated and whether it’s intuitively easy to use. If so, it might be time for a facelift. Another thing to consider is whether it’s on a robust Content Management System (CMS) platform like WordPress.There’s a reason why WordPress is the most popular CMS for websites with good SEO. If you don’t know what CMS your website is on, you can find out here.
Start your SEO Campaign
Having a website with no SEO is like having a car without an engine. The point of having a website is so that people can discover it in the search results of Google (or another search engine). Time is of the essence with SEO. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get free, yes free, organic traffic. At the outset, the onboarding process needs to begin with tasks like installing Google Analytics and getting your business listed on other top referral websites and profiles.
Fast-Track New Traffic with Google Ads and Paid Social Media
Over the long term, SEO delivers the best return on investment, but it can take several months to see results. For this reason, it’s a good idea to fast-track traffic to your website with paid ads. The idea here is to generate paid traffic through Google ads and retarget those who didn’t convert on the first attempt on social media. On top of that, paid traffic speeds up the learning process for algorithms so that you position yourself for more successful ads in the future.
Convert Your Leads and Ask for Reviews
If you’ve allocated a healthy budget to your ads and have a website that converts (one that’s easy on the eyes, easy to use, and easy to understand), then the phones should be ringing, and/or the orders should be lining up. Assuming you’re answering the calls and providing outstanding customer service on your end, you should have some happy clients.
If you do, ask them to leave you an online review, especially on Yelp and Google. Not only do reviews solidify your reputation, but they also help your SEO by solidifying the association between your business profile on a review site and your own website.
If you’ve generated some positive reviews, it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask your web designer to display some of these customer testimonials on your site.
This last step is the most crucial of all and one where many businesses, even those working with marketing agencies, can give up. It’s understandable because we live in a world of instant gratification. You expect to have your pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, so it’s natural to expect the same from marketing. However, SEO and marketing, in general, are a way of doing things, not an end to a means. They are as a routine part of your business as your morning cup of coffee.
Throughout any campaign, whether that’s SEO or paid ads, you’ll always need to have someone who can continue operating these tasks and assess results periodically. An SEO strategy may need to change over time depending on where you’re at by that time. The same goes for paid advertising. Other functions that include marketing maintenance are regularly posting to your social media profiles and blogging.
In short, marketing is a lot like taking care of your health. It consists of routine habits like eating right, exercising, getting enough rest, and managing your stress. Periodically, you visit with your doctor and get a check-up to make sure you’re on the right path.