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Starting a new business is a bit like caring for your first born. Now while you don’t need to write a marketing strategy for your first born; you do need to ensure that you are giving your business the best chance of success. That is done by ensuring that you are placing it in front of people looking for your product.
When you are devising your business strategy; planning the supply chain; product specifications; looking at costing models and ultimately picturing your retirement on a Caribbean beach; don’t forget your marketing strategy – specifically your internet marketing strategy.
The reason I am stressing internet marketing strategy is because as a startup; there is not a lot of loose change lying around and internet marketing lets you easily account for every cent you spend and then track this back to measure a Return on Investment (ROI).
Once you have done a little bit of market research and determined who your ideal audience is and how your product can service their needs, you need to start making that research and your business strategy bind together to start informing and attracting your audience.
There are a few basic internet marketing strategies that every startup needs to get right from the beginning:
The website is the first and most important aspect of a holistic internet marketing strategy. There are two facets to website design. The front end and the back end. The front end determines the user experience. It needs to be :
- easy to navigate
- easy to understand
- get the point across quickly
- be search engine friendly
The backend of the site is what the browsers and the search engines look at when they read your site and need to follow the following rules:
- adhere to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines
- be code light (good text to code ratio)
- be search engine friendly
- include the appropriate meta data
Generally, website audiences do not like to read and are easily distracted. Your website design needs to communicate why your product can fulfill their need as quickly as possible and with the minimum of distractions.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is critically important, not only for start-ups, but for online business in general. Simply put, SEO is a process which ensures your website is made as relevant as possible to specific searches performed on sites such as Google. There is a near inexhaustible list of SEO checks that need to be performed, the most important of which are:
- Page Load Speed
- Meta data
- H1 tags (heading tags)
- Content, content, content
- Back links
- Image Alt tags
There are literally hundreds more checks in this list and each has a different degree of importance. There is no definitive list which lays out the process to follow and every SEO company has their own interpretations of exactly what is important.
3. Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC)
There are a number of pay per click platforms on the web at the moment; the most notable of which are : Google AdWords; Facebook Ads and Yahoo Ads. These ads are served mainly as text ads; but image and video ad formats are also available.
The major benefit of PPC advertising over traditional advertising is the fact that it is not priced on an impression basis, but rather, as the name says, a cost per click model. These ads are served on pages where the ads are relevant to the search term that is being searched (with Search engine PPC models) or to the demographic of the person on whose profile the ad is being served on (in the case of social media PPC ads).
PPC ads have to be highly relevant to:
- The search term of the user
- The landing page where the ad will direct the user
The above affects your cost per click and determines how well your ad will perform on the networks.
These three internet marketing strategies need to be done right! There are many more strategies that come further down the line like social media; display advertising; website optimization and so forth.
Getting these basics right is like instilling the right values and morals in your child. They need them like your business needs a sounds marketing platform in order to succeed and achieve a big life.