5 Steps To Follow Before You Take Your Business Online [Forgotten Strategies Inside]
Where would you start if you had to take your business online today?
Some of the most common ways business owners suggest when they are fully convinced about marketing their business online are –
- Facebook Business Page Marketing
- Website Related Marketing & SEO
- Facebook based Paid Ads or Google AdWords Marketing
While there could be many other means of starting to market online, these are the top 3 ways, I keep hearing often when I meet business owners as a part of my Digital Marketing Agency in Pune, Innovators Digital.
The above 3 ways, no doubt are powerful methods of attracting new customers to your business, but they are tool focused than being customer focused.
After all, every marketing effort we do is for winning new customers, ain’t it?
If you have been in business for over 5-10 years, it means that you have already served a number of customers and catered to many different needs that they had. You survived the cut-throat competition in the business world.
All this knowledge forms (or needs to become) the basis for your digital marketing strategy.
Forget all the buzz that you hear in the market including – Search Engine Optimization, Paid Advertising, Social Media or anything else. Make your customer the center piece of your strategy instead.
So, even before you create that Facebook page, or invest money into paid advertising or pay a digital marketing agency for search engine optimization to take your business online, Here are 5 steps you can follow to help you prepare for Digital Marketing itself –
5 Steps To Systematically Take Your Business Online
1. Build A List Of Existing Customers
If you are already using a CRM system to store all customer details, That’s awesome. All you would need to do is export customer records into a spreadsheet. If not, look up all those past invoices & start building a list of customers you already served in the past.
Capture the following details for each of your customers – Name, Email, Phone, City, Orders you fulfilled, Customer Complaints & Accolades
Once you have captured the above data, You may even want to grade all these customers internally by the total amount of business you received or their repeat purchase status or the frequency at which they pass a reference to you.
Customers who purchase repeatedly or pass a reference can be useful in two big ways –
- They buy often from you, so there’s something they like about the way your business serves them. Ask them what they like about your business. Also, ask them where they think you should do better.
- The other thing can be that these customers are generally updated about the industry you operate in. You could uncover newer ways in which you could serve them further and grow your business.
Try looking for a pattern in this customer list; For example – Do certain customers buy more during a certain season?
Once you have done this research into your own customer database, move another step closer in your pursuit to take your business online.
2. Speak with these Customers
In the quest of doing a lot of business, Businesses often forget to connect with their customers. While we do agree it’s important to speak with the customers on a regular basis to uncover new insights, the sheer volume of work to attend, probably pushes us away.
But, Never again. Now that you have graded your customer list by certain parameters, start speaking to those who feature in the top 2 categories in that list.
When you speak with them or meet them in person, have an agenda of the top 5 questions you want to discuss with them.
The goal of this meeting should be to understand their thoughts about the you as a vendor, the products or services they availed from you, their current business needs & what they think you can add more value on.
Last but not the least, focus on listening to some constructive criticism too.
Then, note all these insights down & put it back into the spreadsheet you created in Step.1 or into your CRM.
3. Identify & List Your Business On Vertical Search Engines in Your Industry
Every Industry today has its own vertical search engine. For local businesses, that’s where your prospective customers probably start their search. TripAdvisor, Amazon, JustDial, Sulekha and the likes are all vertical search engines.
Here’s an example – Let’s say you want to buy a packet of dog food. Where will you search for it online? Chances are you mentioned Amazon over Google.
Here’s another – If you wanted to find 5 things to do on your next vacation destination, Where will you search for it online? Chances are you mentioned Tripadvisor.
In my personal experience, the searches on these local search engines are absolutely specific. Prospects or People who are searching for a product or a service have already furthered into the sales funnel. They probably are in a position to make the purchase soon. Why not track them there?
Since there’s a ton of competition even on these local search engines, I would recommend you to even go for a paid listing. As inquiries start coming in, You will understand a few important things:
- What does the brand new prospect look like?
- Is the prospect mentioning products/services you did not know of?
- Are there new products/services I should be incorporating into my business?
That’s it. Now before you take your business online finally, list down all the goals you have from your Online Marketing efforts.
4. List Down All The Goals You Expect From Your Online Marketing Efforts
Now that you have covered the 3 steps above, It’s time to start thinking about the Online Marketing Efforts for your business.
Of Course, You cannot afford to ignore investing on Social Media Marketing or Search Engine Optimization or Digital Marketing or Promoting Your Business Online.
But now that you already have done homework on your customers and business in general, it will be easier to list down the goals you epxect from your marketing efforts.
Generally, Your Online Marketing Efforts will have one or more of the following goals –
- Get New Customers – Lead Generation for your business so that your sales team can convert them into new customers
- Build Your Brand Online – You want to start building your brand for the long term
- Get Traffic To Your Blog / Publishing Website – If you are a news website, You want more traffic
- Get In-Store Walkins – If you are a hotel/salon/restaurant, You want more people to visit you
A professional marketer or an experienced digital marketing expert can help by working with you to quantify these goals. If you are already working with one, schedule your next meeting and work this out.
If not, start quantifying the results you want to achieve. Do you want to get 100 new leads per month? Do you want 200 extra people to walk into your store? Do you want 10% increase in your revenue?
It helps to quantify these results so that every marketing effort you make is tailored to achieve this goal.
5. Enroll Yourself For An Entry Level Digital Marketing Workshop
Last but not the least, enroll yourself for an entry level Digital Marketing workshop.
If you routinely search online for Digital Marketing Courses on the internet, You will find many different courses at various costs too. Some of them might be very exhaustive, others limited in what they offer.
So, I suggest that if you are beginning on this journey, find out workshops that last for a day or two. Attend these workshops and ask all relevant questions.
You may understand one of the two things at these workshops –
- I should enroll into an exhaustive Digital Marketing Workshop – You may find many good providers out there who offer exhaustive training over 3 months and teach you Digital Marketing in detail.
- It’s better I outsource my Digital Marketing Efforts to an expert – If you have decided in this aspect, you can outsource these efforts to either an Agency or to a Freelance Expert
Do you already feel ready to take your business online?
I hope this article helped you out. I run a Digital Marketing Agency in Pune, by the name, Innovators Digital. If you want to call me over for a discussion, feel free to reach out to me by writing to – firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can even initiate a chat with me by clicking on the messenger icon to the bottom right of the page.