By Sarah Kirkpatrick
When starting a new business there seems to be a never-ending list of things to do and learn and keep on top of, so why add another task to the list? You have your idea, you’ve talked to an accountant, you’ve registered your name, and you’re ready to quit your job and find success.
There is just one thing missing… letting people outside of your immediate circle know you exist. There is noting more exhilarating than your first ‘stranger’ purchase. When someone who doesn’t know you personally buys from you. That is the first measure of success. It could be from a referral, or it could be because of advertising – either way, awareness is key.
So how do you get to that milestone? How do you launch a business and have the customers pour in? There are a number of things that make a business successful, and I’m here to discuss the ‘awareness’ portion of it.
Why is digital marketing important?
- It legitimizes your company
- It acts as an outlet for customer service
- It creates brand awareness
- It enhances search engine optimization (SEO)
- It sparks brand loyalty
Makes sense; you need to be online in order to talk to all of the people there and build relationships with them. But where do you start?
Before we get into social media… we need to talk about a website. A hub. A place for interested parties to land and really get in touch with your brand. A website is what differentiates the professionals from the amateurs.
- Have one
- Make sure it is editable and manageable by you (so you don’t have to pay a developer for every little change)
- Ex: WordPress, squarespace, etc.
- Have strong branding
- Design it with your logo, colours, great images, etc.
- Get professional photography done
- Have it professionally written
- Keyword friendly, reader friendly, spell checked
- Have a blog page
Your blog is what tells Google that you are offering new information and that you’re still in business. Google likes to see that a website is constantly changing and has keywords to offer viewers. Can you imagine how annoying it would be to update your ‘about’ page every 2 weeks? Instead, blogs were invented. But that is only the technical side. Blogs are your opportunity to build trust and show yourself off as an expert in your field. Blogs are searchable informative and/or entertaining posts that bring people to your website.
- Follow the 80/20 rule
- 80% of your blogs should not be ‘sales’ related, 20% can be directly about your company/products/services
- Always stick to your industry
- Even when you’re not writing about your company, it should still be relevant to your niche
- Brainstorm keywords and use them 2-3 times, including variations in the body copy, and in the blog title
- Never send a blog out that doesn’t have a specific purpose. Choose keywords that are relevant to your company and to the blog
- Have an attention grabbing title
- Write down 10 titles and then pick the best one. When starting, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family which title they would click on first
- Write 500-800 words per blog (300 minimum) for SEO purposes
- Offer enough information so that it is worthwhile to read, but not too much that you loose attention. You also need room to add keywords without ‘stuffing’
- Post at least twice a month
Social Media tips
Like a website, consumers go to social media to find out more about a company. They want to see more than what is on your ‘about’ page and get an understanding of how you speak to your customers and stay present.
- Don’t start a profile on every social media channel
- 1-3 properly managed profiles (consistent, unique content, replies to comments) is far better than trying to be everywhere with 5-7 profiles that are duds.
- Never buy likes
- It’s very obvious when a company buys followers (1000+ followers and 1 person likes the posts) and it looks desperate. You can also get penalized and have your account shut down.
- Never delete bad comments, unless they are inappropriate
- Complaints allow you to address your customers’ concerns in a transparent way that shows others how you handle situations.
- Be consistent when posting to gain more awareness and stay present
- When a person sees your company name it plants a small seed. This seed can lay dormant until the actual need for your product/service arises. People must see a message or name a minimum of 7 times before remembering it.
- People are more willing to purchase from companies that they have interacted with before. By being present on social media you are opening up the lines of communication to a whole slew of people that you may not have engaged with before.
Don’t be overwhelmed. This can all be taken in strides. You do not need to be a social media guru and blogger extraordinaire your first day – but it is certainly something you should start working towards. Link your social media pages to icons on your website, write a few blogs to be scheduled out, and keep your eyes open for fun and unique links (other peoples blogs are fine while you get started) that you can share with your audience. If it’s all too much and you don’t know where to start, there are people you can hire to help you with strategy and content creation – so you can focus on what you do best – the business.
Ms. Kirkpatrick is a social media manager, copywriter, public speaker, and owner of Jumping Elephant – groundbreaking advertising! jumpingelephant.guru