Six Steps For Launching An Online Marketing Presence
As a teen entrepreneur coach, I work with young entrepreneurs who are often bootstrapping when they start out. They are searching for simple ways to build a presence online to compliment whatever they are doing in the offline space. Even though they are often technologically savvy, when starting a business, marketing a business online can be information overload. So these are the simple steps I share with them so that they can get started. And they can use supplementary resources, advanced programs and tools and fee based 3rd party applications to build on this foundation as they acquire more knowledge, visibility and money.
1. Name It and Claim It. When you decide to build an online presence pick a topic that centers on a theme and try to make sure everything you set up from your social networking sites to your blog, somehow ties back to that theme. It helps to build greater brand awareness. The more niche or specialized the theme, the easier it will be for your target customer and the media to find you vs. you trying to find them. Express your unique voice as it will make you more memorable i.e. Relationship Marketing Expert, Mari Smith, always wears turquoise in her videos, online avatars and at conferences so she can be easily recognized….not to mention she is a 6′ blonde =) When creating a name for your blog or user name, try to think of an all encompassing term that someone might use to search for your site or blog.
2. Choose Your Platform. Think about the behaviors of your customers or do a survey (www.surveymonkey.com) to find out what online tools they are using. The places where your customer are spending their time are the places you need to be active. You don’t need to register for a lot of sites or the latest and the greatest. Register for one or two sites. Keep your content and status updates current (you don’t have to be on their daily, but at the minimum you should post something once weekly).
3. Create Content. Create, distribute, test, refine, repurpose. The beauty of marketing online is you have trackable tools. This allows you to see what your readers click on, forward, delete, etc. If you don’t get a good response on a post sometimes the smallest change makes a big difference i.e. changing the headline. That is why testing is important. After you have tested that content, take some of your most popular material and themes and find a way to repurpose it meaning, can you convert tips into a short video, an interview or a workshop? Can you take a video of a presentation and break it down into tips? Another way to create content is to ask complimentary companies in your network to submit useful content to you; spotlight some of your loyal or active clients; register your industry buzz words and keywords on google.com/alerts; and/or read your local newspaper to trigger some ideas for things you can talk about.
4. Distribute Your Content. Post your content on a blog; Use a site like www.bit.ly to create a trackable link then post that link on www.ping.fm, which updates all your social networking and social bookmarking sites simultaneously. Make sure your blog is registered on a site such as www.feedburner.com or www.technorati.com Offer to do ‘guest blogging’ to companies that offer complimentary services to you. Ask Influential Social Marketers in your hometown or industry to share your content with their respective networks. There are other more advanced and fee based tools such as Attain Response F5 that provide multiple methods of delivery such as video email, and live broadcasting.
5. Build Traffic. There are many ways to do it- free and fee based. There is no right or wrong way. The important thing is to BE A RESOURCE & BE PRESENT. Update your content regularly, provide original content and pitch interesting stories to your local media. Have a presence on at least one social networking site because they have high website rankings (making it easier for people to find you). SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is often touted as one of the fastest ways to build traffic and website rankings. One major downfall is that people who focus too much on optimization techniques and become numbers focus tend to lose sight of building real content that connects with their customers (existing and prospective). The most targeted content you can produce is the ones that answer the needsd of your customers.
6. Reinforce Your Message Offline And With Traditional Media. You cannot truly exist online unless you exist offline. Marketing online compliments the traditional ways of marketing. It does not replace it. Let the local media know what you are up to. And engage your local community by hosting workshops, seminars and small gatherings at local venues. Record the workshops to create videos that can be cut down into how-to segments or for promotional use.Bring handouts, do door prizes for business card drops or offer resources that encourage your offline customers to connect with you online, which will further evolve the dialogue and grow the relationship.