When you begin building your business for the first time, it is difficult knowing where to invest your time and money. Why do you need a website, when you can sell through Facebook? Why invest in social media marketing when you can email your database directly? And why spend time and effort writing a monthly newsletter when your website contains all of the information anyway? It’s enough to send your head into a spin.
Thankfully, you have found this post to help you navigate the highways and byways of your online business marketing.
For any business wishing to be taken seriously and to continue to grow, a good website is an essential investment. Whilst quick and simple options such as Wix may seem like an appealingly inexpensive solution when you are just beginning, within a disappointingly short space of time you will begin to realise their significant shortcomings. Rapidly becoming more of a headache and hindrance, later, though most likely sooner, you will be faced with the fact that your website is unable to match, reflect or support your business and you will need to scrap all your hard work and invest. But whether it is the time and effort you put in yourself or the funds you pass on to a professional, the investment is incredibly worthwhile. Think of your website as the foundation of the bricks and mortar that is your business.
Just as only the foolish man builds his house on sand, so too does the foolish business person build their business on a weak, makeshift website.
Newsletters, or electronic direct mail (EDM), are the perfect way to target-market and build a strong community or clientele around your business. Personal, informative and often supportive in their content, they are the virtual voice of your company, reaching out to clients and customers past, present and future who have already expressed an interest in your business to show them that you care, that you are continuing to develop and offer new products and services, and to entice them into investing again or for the first time. But rather than a hard sell, EDMs have the ability to be the word-of-mouth advice that is far more inviting than a marketing graphic. They can also draw people to your website for more reasons, such as blog posts, videos or incentives, essentially inspiring them to walk through the digital front door of your online store or office.
When managed correctly, EDMs can help build a fiercely loyal flowing, grow your audience and drive business to the foundation of your digital company; your website.
Your Social Media
There is a wealth of social media platforms now demanding our attention in that great big digital ethos. Choosing the correct one to best reflect your business is essential. You don’t want to appear either too amateurish or too serious, depending on your company. You want to be visual, but you also want to be informative. Ultimately, you want to be casting your line into the correct audience pool. It depends greatly on the business type and the desired customer, but the appropriate choice will give you a fast, free and simple way to easily communicate with, and pitch to, your ideal demographic.
Building upon this, it will also allow you to invest in advertising that again reaches your target market, but also uses your existing audience to find others like them, expanding your potential reach exponentially.
So, in returning to our introduction, which is most important? The answer, as you doubtlessly have guessed, is that they all are, but for unique and possibly surprising reasons.
Your website is the core of your business, the powerful engine that drives your eCommerce or traffic flow, the beating heart at the core of your company online. But just as the literal heart is nothing without the lungs, the brain and the arteries feeding it, so too is your website nothing without its two allies – social media and the EDM – continually feeding it with attention and customers.
You can, of course, rely on your SEO and the hope that your business pops up in Google’s first page. SEO is incredibly valuable and an essential part of your website, but there are other, swifter and more direct ways to draw traffic to your site and it would be shortsighted to cast all of your aspirations onto this single method of marketing.
Social media is the great big, radiant neon sign hoisted boldly onto the roof of your business, beaming its message across the neighbourhood, even if that neighbourhood spans the globe. It becomes the personality of your business, the shining-white-toothed salesman beckoning people in, informing them of the latest and greatest offerings, the freshest sales or the newest products. But rather than cold-calling or pitching to passers-by, this salesman talks directly to the people you wish to attract – your exact demographic. Sharing web links, blog posts, offers and more, social media allows even the meekest of companies to sing its message from the rooftops, drawing people right onto your doorstep. Social media is your charismatic public speaker, creating the persona that your potential clients will be immediately attracted to and about whom they will yearn to learn more.
Finally, EDMs have the power to nudge those potential customers over the threshold. If they are returning customers, the website alone may not clearly offer them the attachment, addition or update to their previous purchase, or help them learn more about what more you offer in a friendly yet succinct way. For new customers, a website can only dangle the carrot once, whereas an EDM offers multiple carrots in numerous flavours again and again. It also makes them feel recognised and appreciated. You aren’t filling their inboxes with spam, you are sharing informative and enjoyable information that they actually care about. You become the friend-of-a-friend with the good advice.
EDMs can also help you offer special offers or discounts that you may not wish to present to the great, wide web, again allowing your customers to feel personally addressed, even elite in their connection with you. Sharing your social media feeds on your EDM also presents your active, public face to them, encouraging them to connect further, while Facebook, Instagram and the myriad more platforms can also offer newsletter sign-ups.
Pythagoras surmised that the triangle is the strongest of shapes, three equal sides, three equal angles, each and all providing strength and support for every other. So too with your digital presence. While one is good and two are better, the best they can ever be is a flat line next to the towering triangle of all three.
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