Just where do you start when building your business online?

We’ve all had the emails from those companies promising top Google positions for your business, showing long lists of tasks they will carry out. Do they work? Are they worth the money? Should you risk it?

There really are a lot of digital marketing companies out there offering a wide range of services including but not limited to SEO, PPC, link building and social media, but what is right for your business?

Reality check

Back in the day, if you wanted to get your business noticed, you took out an ad in the Yellow Pages; it wasn’t cheap but it was tangible. People intuitively understood why they needed to be listed in the Yellow Pages, and with many needing to be at the top in their category, there were a lot of listings starting with ‘A’ in the company name.

These days the reality is much different, however. The number of possible channels through which to promote your business has expanded dramatically, each requiring their own particular skill set and budget.

Added to this is competition. A few years back, many businesses chose to blog, as blogging helped their visibility, but now even cats are ‘blogging’, so what was once a competitive strategy has become less so. The same is true for social media – it can help your business to grow, but not without a plan and a careful strategy. If you’d like to know more about using social media to grow your business, click to read this post titled ‘How to grow your business: Social media’.

Digital marketing strategy

There are plenty of digital marketing companies out there that offer a range of specific services: SEO, PPC, social media and link building to name a few. It’s wise to understand that a bit of blogging or stand-alone optimisation isn’t going to make much difference without a coherent strategy and defined goals. So choose a digital marketing firm that can really set your digital marketing strategy apart you’re your competitors.

Our post ‘How to grow your business: The importance of an online presence’ may strike a chord with many small business owners.

Start with this plan

When you started your business, you likely had both a plan and a target audience before you began. When looking at how to be successful online, you need to start at the same point – your audience. It’s your job to understand what your target audience intentions are and what is being searched for and then meet their expectations. This has always been true for physical marketing, and it’s just as relevant in today’s online era.

Carry out an audit of your online business environment; from audience to competitors, research how people search for what you do and gain insights into what your competitors are up to.

Here’s a simple itemised digital marketing plan that may help you (list on the right):

  1. List out the types of people and businesses that are likely in your target audience. Try to define specific ‘personas’ – clear characteristics or roles that distinguish one potential customer ‘type’ from another and their specific needs.
  2. Work out what the top three or four keywords or phrases are that people use to find businesses in your market.
  3. From the searches, identify your top 10 competitors online.
  4. Review their websites and social media engagement and see what they are doing well.
  5. Develop a plan to integrate these ideas into your own online venue – whether a website or social media venue.
  6. Create content that people want to read, content that solves their problems instead of just promoting your services. It may sound odd, but people hate to be sold too – but they love to buy.
  7. If you run a localised business, then you need a local online marketing strategy, for many, this involves social media.

Taking ownership of online marketing is something all businesses need to do, use you will loose out to your competitors. Remember, as your accountants, Tax Agility want to see you succeed and we’d be very happy to discuss aspects of your business you feel you need to improve. If we can advise, we will.