While setting up a business is undoubtedly an exciting – albeit daunting – time, there is an awful lot to get your head around. While some things might be less important than others, one aspect of setting up a business that should never be overlooked is a digital marketing strategy.
In the modern world we’re living in, it’s essential that new business owners take the necessary steps to develop a solid foundation for their online presence. We’ve discussed the importance of an online presence at length before, and now we thought it would be a great idea to provide new business owners with a practical digital marketing checklist that even the world’s greatest technophobe could implement.
These digital marketing essentials will ensure your business starts out with its best foot forward, and will be able to be developed and enhanced overtime, alongside your business as it grows.
In its earlier iterations, social media was a relatively simple concept; it was a way to chat with your friends and family online, share news, and look at photographs of their pets. Some platforms, like Bebo for example, took a slightly different approach to the concept, but ultimately the purpose was always the same.
Now, however, social media has transcended its original intent, and now, amongst many things, it’s a powerhouse for advertising and marketing. And like it or not, social media is here to stay.
If you’re a small business owner, we reckon you should like it. After all, it’s a free way to reach new customers, grow your brand awareness, and partake in useful market research. Sure, you can boost your social media presence through paid advertising, but with a bit of time and effort, you’ll be able to grow your business effectively without spending a penny.
The platforms you’ll want to prioritise will depend on your industry. Are you a restaurant or a cafe, and what to show off your food? Make sure you’re posting delicious dishes regularly on Instagram. Do you sell computer hardware and offer guides to customers about your products? LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to share written content.
To be honest, we recommend that you have some form of presence on all major social media platforms, but with a bit of experimentation, you’ll quickly decide which one suits the needs of your business and your customers best.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a service provided by, you guessed it, Google, which allows you to create a free online listing for your business.
Have you ever searched for your local takeaway and seen a tonne of information show up for it on Google, with a phone number, opening times, reviews, and more? We call that a Knowledge Panel, and the majority of that information is pulled directly from a businesses’ Google My Business Listing.
A Google My Business Listing is fairly straightforward to set up, and the amount of information you can add is quite extensive. The more time you commit to filling out its various fields, the bigger the benefit you’ll get from it. As they say, ‘you reap what you sow’.
Your Google My Business listing is particularly powerful because it can show up to users who aren’t directly looking for your business. For example, a user might search for ‘italian restaurant near me’, and then see the Knowledge Panel for a restaurant called ‘La Bella Vista’ pop up. This is because, in Google eyes, La Bella Vista is the most appropriate restaurant for the user, and has appeared in Knowledge Panel instead of the 6 other Italian restaurants in town.
Why? There are a tonne of reasons, but one of the primary factors of achieving a Knowledge Panel is a well optimised Google My Business Listing. So, as we said earlier, make sure you take the time to fill it out as much as possible.
Link building is the fancy name for acquiring links to your website from another website. It’s an important digital marketing step because it gives your website more credibility in the eyes of Google. It’s important that links only come from trusted websites, however, as links from ‘dodgy’ websites can actually cause a lot of harm to your rankings on Google (which we’ll cover later in our SEO section).
Rankings aside, though, link building is important because it gives your business more presence on the internet. Every time another website mentions your business or links to your website, it increases that all-important brand awareness bit by bit.
So how do you start link building? It’s a fairly easy process – to begin with, at least. There are a tonne of free online directories on the web, such as Yell, Yelp, and Cylex. There are also a lot of national newspapers like the Independant and The Sun that have their very own online directories. This process can be arduous and takes time, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
There’s a whole lot more to link building that we don’t have time to cover here, but if you’d like us to begin doing it for you, why not give us a call?
Another essential component of getting seen online is a strong digital marketing strategy. We’ve got a comprehensive guide to content marketing on our blog, so we’re just going to cover the basics here today.
Ultimately, content marketing is the process of creating and sharing content for your customers, prospective customers, or other users on the internet. The goal of content marketing isn’t usually to convert customers directly, rather, it’s a way of drip-feeding audiences with your brand in order to make them familiar with it over time.
There are many different types of content, from long form blog posts designed to educate your readers about products and concepts within your industry, to simple images posted on social media with the humble intention of reminding your followers you are there and ready to serve them.
With so much of the world spending more and more time online, it’s essential that you use these habits to your advantage by using content to expose your brand as much as possible.
A Website Built With SEO In Mind
You might be wondering why we’ve saved websites for last. After all, without a website, it’s very difficult to leave any kind of digital footprint for your business – it should be one of the first things you get up and running, right? Correct, but we’ve left your website until last – specifically a website built with SEO in mind – because all of the essentials we’ve listed so far will help you rank better in Google.
Yep – taking the time to build up your social media presence, build links, optimise your Google My Business listing, and develop great content all add to your website’s ranking potential. Of course, the website itself needs to be built to rank if you want to fully harness the power of digital marketing.
Take the time to learn the basics of SEO (which by reading this article you’ve already begun to do), because there’s quite a bit that you’ll be able to do if you are willing to put in the time. Of course, if you’d rather leave to the experts, that’s where we come in.
Active Internet Marketing (UK)
Here at Active, we’ve built dozens of websites from the ground up with SEO in mind. We work with our clients to understand their industry and goals, before conducting in-depth keyword research to ensure their website is set up to rank, straight out of the box.
Over time, we help these businesses grow and develop with industry leading SEO strategies and technology. If you would like to find out more about the services we offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch or request a call back.