Whether you’re a thriving business or a growing one, a new year is always a new opportunity to expand your business. As a business owner you understand the importance of marketing your brand. Early on it’s fine enough to put on those arrangements of hats and lead the marketing charge yourself but you’ll find these hats more limiting than they are enabling.
Growing your business requires marketing, this is a known fact. But not every business is at a point where they can throw the dollar investments at hiring full on marketing teams or internal roles to expand their marketing. The fortunate side is that’s not the only solution to building out a brand presence. There are plenty of steps you can take to start building your online foundation before needing to recruit new talent.
How you build this foundation will have major implications on your ability to grow and maximize your efforts as you invest down the road. Today we’re covering some of those steps you can take yourself.
A website is a solid beginning to your online strategies but social media is the only way to fully build customer relationships. This doesn’t mean jumping to every platform available in hopes of finding one that lands. Start with the platform best suited to your business and audience and build from there. Here’s how to decide:
Facebook is a popular platform among small and growing businesses. The site is still frequented by many demographics and a great place of connection for its users. Getting your business on a site like this offers you another opportunity to connect with your customers and audience.
What makes this option great is that Facebook also houses one of the most popular ad platforms in the world and the best part is anyone with a page on the site can use it. If you noticed slow results with Google Search ads Facebook may be a better choice to try out. The ads cater to personalizing the experience for users, meaning you can put more care into how you speak to your audience with your advertising materials. All you have to do is set up a Facebook Business Manager account.
Similar to its parent site, Instagram is a great place for connection. What makes Instagram so viable to business owners is that the user base is actively looking to explore their interest. People love how Instagram makes it easy to explore their interests, discover new interests, or engage with like minded people. In fact, studies show that Instagram is one of the few platforms where users are more likely to read the full length of copy accompanying a post.
If you have a business that caters to a visual presence then Instagram is a great option. It’s the perfect platform for inserting your unique branding into the personal interest of your audience. If you have merch, or dazzling on-site events, or interesting videos this is the platform to display them. Instagram is also popular for its use of story and highlight reels to display different aspects of a page. You can build highlight reels purely for merchandise if your main audience prefers to only look at more engaging content.
Twitter is a great platform for staying informed. If you run a business that relies on a lot of announcements or updates Twitter makes a great platform. Twitter is short and to the point. It’s easy to get the attention of audience members and as long as you follow the best practices it can be easy to utilize that attention.
If you’re a brand without a lot of brand visuals to tote then Twitter may be your best choice. It’s one of the lowest lift platforms to get up and running on and is great for customers who want a direct communication line with you.
LinkedIn is great for businesses reliant on firmographics, such as professional contact information. If your business is relevant to other working professionals, LinkedIn is a place where growing professionals meet to connect, learn, and explore. The nature of LinkedIn is great for advertising as well because the user base is so conscious of the content they’re consuming.
If you’re seeking to create long-term relationships with potential customers and looking for a more resource based presence, LinkedIn is great. Everyone is there with an openness to knowledge and learning. You could start with a focus on thought leadership content to give your community something to engage with. From there you can begin selling them on the content of your brand and making real connections. LinkedIn is also great for prospecting as you can sell content for contact info through numerous ad strategies on the platform.
Growing your online presence is about learning how to identify your day-by-day customers in the wider pool of ecommerce shoppers. Many marketers and business owners like to look at ecommerce as a game of numbers but when starting out, it’s all about finding that sweet spot of quality. You want a highly focused, extremely precise, audience segment to start your efforts on. You don’t need a team of experts to define this kind of quality though, start by thinking of the customers that got you here and figure out ways for identifying those same types of customers online.
Here’s a few ways to get started:
Personas: Build personas of different types of customers covering key details like pain points, budget, funnel type, demographics, ect.
Build your CRM: It’s never too late or early to start focusing on customer relationship management. Many tools make it easy to build a list of your current or potential customers and give you data to work with. Once you start building one up you can use a CRM tool in line with your advertising platform to start using that data to craft your new audience.
Invest in first party data: as a part of building out your contact list you’re going to want to start finding your own opportunities for collecting customer data. 2023 is becoming known as the year of cookie-less marketing and if you’re still counting on third party sites for your audience data you’re going to fall behind.
Start testing: You don’t need to be an expert to experiment with your audience. It’s important to come up with some early theories about your target audience and find ways to optimize them through A/B testing or experimentation. It can be as simple as testing different ad messaging against each other or changing the layout of your website.
Start defining your buyers’ journeys: Once you have a platform, a defined audience, and some branding ready to go, the buyer’s journey begins. You need to be able to identify the different routes your audience may take to a purchase point. This is important because you want to measure the effectiveness of each route, identify the kind of audiences taking that route, and understand how to optimize it.
With everything in place you should start to see the foundation of your online presence forming. Having all the right tools is necessary but if you don’t have a solid direction in place those tools will go to waste. That’s why you need to decide on an overarching strategy early on.
To pull together a solid strategy consider these elements:
Goals: You need measurable goals for a strategy to be effective. They can be small goals building up to a bigger marker but they need to have clear and measurable outcomes attached to them. All and any goals you decide on should ladder up to the overall vision of your business.
Hypothesis: With goals you need clear theories about how to achieve them. Creating a hypothesis will help you understand the different variables and conversion factors that will affect your success with these goals. They should sound something like, increased search ads should result in increased traffic to the website.
Timelines and deadlines: Goals can not be formed aimlessly. That’s why you should set deadlines for when you can expect results. Having a timeline will set the tone and urgency of your strategy but also inform you how well you’re progressing.
Defining your market funnel: Your strategy should follow a 3 arc structure–top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel. To do this you must understand how each level of your online presence will move a customer from one stage of the funnel to the next but remain cohesive. It may be that your ads are top of the funnel, landing page middle, and website bottom but there needs to be a clear indication of how each of your touchpoints plays a role.
Once your presence is defined, strategy clear, and your foundation set, you can begin feeling the impact. With this new foundation and direction solidified you can hit the ground running and begin maximizing every opportunity you find along the way.
Eventually your foundation will only take you so far and you’ll hit a plateau. In these moments it can feel like it’s time to pull the trigger on internal hires and other lofty investments that won’t immediately pay off. While viable, this often isn’t a growing brand’s best choice. Partnering with an already established team can be much more beneficial and immediate than developing internal roles, especially early on.
A team of experts can take the direction you’ve hand crafted and help it take your business to the next level and with much more efficient timelines. Even if it’s just a short stint this type of experience can create huge value for the growth and direction of your brand–that way when you eventually do realize the need for a staff of marketers, they’ll have proven results and strategies to hit the ground running with.
My team and I have been experimenting in the realm of CRO for years now and what we’ve seen AI bring to the table is astounding. If you want to meet to learn about our strategies or discuss a personalized partnership with my team then we’re available to meet. It’s up to you, simply click here and book some time so we can evaluate the best path forward for you.