This is probably one of the most important parts of your business. Any business needs customers to survive. Customers that pay and spread news about your product and even better, customers who stick around year after year. You could build the fastest car in the world, or cook the most amazing pizza that ever was, but if no one knows about you, or if they are not into fast cars and amazing pizza then your business will have a hard time getting anywhere. It is time to formulate some sort of a marketing strategy and lay down a marketing plan for your online venture. And don't worry, it does not need to be perfect. Marketing strategies may change several times during the evolution of a business and yours might change too as you learn more about how your customers buy online. You can apply several different marketing tips as you try to work out a digital marketing strategy that works for your line of business.
Knowing your customers is key. Take the example of a fisherman - your average fisherman Joe knows exactly what kind of fish he is going to catch, he knows what of bait he is going to use and he knows exactly which part of the river his fish like to hang out in. Getting the picture? Figure out who you will be addressing early on in the process. Get it down on paper. Build profiles of your customers - give them names. That is when you have some real people to talk to. Your website is just a collection of images and text and video and all that content is just communicating something to this audience. If you have a clear picture of who your audience is then you know what kind of messaging to have on your site, what kind of pictures to collect and the kind of information that you need to provide to these people. Knowing your customers also helps you to be specific and optimise your content for search engines (SEO).
There's many different ways to reach out to potential customers. You will most likely start with your immediate circle of friends and acquaintances. These are the people who will help you to develop your messaging strategy. You can then explore paid advertising options in print and online channels. You'll need to come up with a digital marketing strategy or online marketing plan spread out across social media, search marketing and SEO.
There's gazillions of publications and websites dealing with internet marketing and digital marketing and there's many marketing tools out there specifically for small business marketing. You could dive into Blipteam and build an online store right now, but it will help in the long run if you have a basic marketing plan in place - an excel sheet with some market research, a collection of marketing ideas and tips and a monthly list of action items and marketing targets to achieve.
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