Over the years we have worked with dozens of clients who have had great products, offered excellent services and knew that they were on the right track to some extent. But somehow they weren’t able to make much headway with their business marketing online. We are often brought in at a time when their business development budget is almost depleted and were consulted as a last resort. However, despite every business being different and targeting a different market, we found that there are many mistakes or errors that all businesses had in common when moving from offline to online or startup online.
Our goal with this particular series of articles is to highlight mainly the steps all businesses should take from the very beginning to ensure that they are on the right track. We are going to simplify the process so that even someone with no background in online business marketing can understand and work through the steps we propose.
Laying Down a Solid Foundation
Before you even buy web hosting or a domain you need to know a couple of things which include but are not limited to the following:
- What is your budget for setting up your business i.e. domain, hosting, web design, credit card processing, advertising?
- Do you have all the people in place who will handle the tasks mentioned above? If not start recruiting now.
- Have you recently run a pilot program to see what type of market you’re dealing with and what kind of results can be expected? If not this can be done via a simple Facebook page for most products and services. If you don’t have any experience with it, you should have a business marketing expert help you with it.
- What timeline do you have for putting up your entire online store? It has to be realistic mainly based on the time estimates you’ve received from the web designer, content writer, and developer. Always add 10% – 20% more days to the timeline because things always get delayed.
Who is your target customer or client?
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make especially if they are just starting up online is that they have a particular assumption about their target audience. But it’s an assumption that’s not based on any real data. So, to start with you need to answer these questions:
- What problems does your service or product solve and who would be interested in it? Make sure to write this down because it’s imperative. If you’re selling a particular type of wrench, for instance, your target audience would be males who have an interest in DIY plumbing.
- How will you connect with your customer online? There has to be a story that helps you connect with someone who stumbles upon your product or service. So if your product is a special wrench, you could have a story about how you are an experienced plumber who got sick and tired of regular wrenches that were so hard to use and often got stuck.
- What reservations will your customer have? One of the things you need to bear in mind that there will always be reservations. However, a winning business marketing strategy will include addressing those reservations head-on. In the case of a special type of wrench, it could be that some people think it’s a gimmick. You could address that by proving how it’s not with a video of it in action.
In Part II of How to Build a Winning Business Marketing Strategy Online, we will discuss how to use the information you collect to improve your website so that its laser focused on your target audience for the best results.