Promoting your online business

Developing a marketing strategy

With access to a number of marketing tools, especially digital, you may feel overwhelmed, with no idea where to start from. Whether you seek help from specialised people or not, it is essential that you draw up a marketing strategy to promote your business.

You will normally need to:

  • Allocate funds for branding and promotion;
  • Identify goals/objectives (what you want to achieve) and the target audience or market;
  • Establish the manner in which you intend to reach your audience;
  • Research what competitors are doing (in terms of prices, offers, products, etc);
  • Understand your audience and the way it searches for product and services online (terms and phrases mostly used);
  • Determine the social media channels that work best for your business – based on the highest Return on Investment (ROI);
  • Decide on the type of marketing to pursue – will it be internet marketing or traditional marketing or a mix of both?

 

Reasons why you should invest in digital marketing

Digital marketing is generally cheaper and more cost-effective. Therefore, it enables small businesses to compete with competitors regardless of size as it allows you, amongst other things, to:

  • Assess the effectiveness and success of your marketing efforts;
  • Easily gather feedback from your customers (through social media platforms, surveys, polls, etc.);
  • Build customer profiles. This allows you to understand what your customers want, in terms of gender, age, purchasing behaviour, etc.

Different ways of promoting your business on the Internet

  1. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is used to direct traffic to websites. You would pay the owner of the website where your advert is showing whenever the ad is clicked (Example: ads on Facebook, Google, etc).
  2. Share videos about your products on YouTube (you can create your own YouTube channel if you prefer). This allows you to show your products in action and is particularly useful if you mainly sell over the internet.
  3. Participate regularly in forums and blogs to attract traffic to your online store and share these on social media. Providing fresh content about your company and products can help you generate trust in your business. However, avoid doing a sales pitch as you risk turning-off customers!
  4. Use email marketing to target your customers. You can either invite consumers to subscribe via the website to your newsletter or send targeted e-newsletters on a regular basis.
  5. Create a Facebook page and engage with your followers by creating and sharing interesting and valuable content.
  6. Connect on Twitter or other social media platforms that are relevant to your target audience, to promote events, offers, etc.
  7. Create a LinkedIn profile for your company. This can be an important source of new business especially for B2B eCommerce.
  8. Monthly newsletters help you grow your relationship with your customers. Get them to sign-up (ideally provide them with a good reason to do so) and keep them posted about your offers, events, etc.
  9. List your business on portals that are related to your type of industry (Example: industry-specific portals such as booking.com or TripAdvisor, directories, etc);
  10. Consider developing a mobile APP for your business or to include your business on an existing APP (look out for APPs that are related to your type of business). This will allow you to offer deals, provide updates, services and/or connect with your customers.
  11. Don’t forget to list your business on Google My Business. This will ensure that consumers can find you regardless of the device they are using.

 

Related links:
Write a marketing plan
Return on Investment – ROI – formula and use
Promoting your business using blogs
Using social media to promote your business
Turn your web visitors into buyers with web analytics
How to turn visitors to a website into customers
The beginner’s guide to keyword research for eCommerce
30 ways mobile applications can promote your business
Launching a branded small business APP
Google My Business – Get your business on Google for free