Young Person's Guide To Entrepreneurship - Part II
Road To Launching Your Business: Digital Marketing
As part of our tutorial series on entrepreneurship for young people, this time we're going to discuss what it takes to launch your business with a specific focus on digital marketing.
However, if you’ve not read part I of this series, which was on turning your idea into reality with market research, a business plan and a marketing plan, it's important you check this out here to lay the foundations before you think about launching your business.
Once you’ve formed these foundations, it's time to start thinking about your launch! One of the most important first things to consider when you are launching your small business is your online presence and how you will promote your products and/or services with digital marketing.
As you will be very aware, we are living in the digital age and as such many businesses leverage their online presence to increase their brand awareness and sell their products and/or services directly from a centralised hub.
This centralised hub is a website. However, many small businesses I've seen recently don't have a website and this can put you at a real disadvantage.
Without a website, you have nowhere to send your customers if they want to order a product or find out information about your service.
Sure, if you're selling handmade goods, websites like Etsy and Folksy are a good place to start. But, you are eventually going to want to upgrade to your own ecommerce store once your business has scaled past the need for hosting your products via another website.
This is because you will retain more profits through your own website as you won't have to pay a commission fee for using someone else's service.
As well as this, websites are important because they allow you to increase your SEO, which stands for “Search Engine Optimisation.” This is basically how your business ranks in search engines and determines if you will be the first business to show up on Google, rather than on the second page where nobody ever goes.
However, beginning with web design can be tricky and overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many website building tools which have streamlined this process and allow you to pick templates which you can alter and customise to build your own website with “block like” tools.
Services such as Wordpress, Squarespace and Wix offer such templates and all work with a free version for you to test before you subscribe to their service. Personally, I have used Wordpress many times due to its simplicity and clean templates. However, I have also seen businesses use Wix which also offers a great service.
Once you’ve signed up to these websites it's up to you to spend some time getting used to their user interface. They are all very similar and segment each piece of your website into a specific area located in a toolbar on the left hand side of your screen.
From there you can change your menu bar, fonts, colours and many more things which will eventually form the backbone of your business and brand.
Lastly, true websites require a unique domain name. You can host your website for free under “NAME.wordpress.com” or “NAME.wix.com” and this is great if you are just starting out and have a tight budget.
But, eventually you are going to want to purchase a domain name which is unique to your business. For example, if your business is called “Hannah’s Bakes” purchasing the domain to “hannahsbakes.com” or “hannahbakes.co.uk” would be very appropriate for your business.
This can be done via several websites such as GoDaddy or Google Domains and the price of your domain will entirely depend on its popularity.
As such I wouldn't recommend searching for your specific domain more than 2-3 times before you purchase it as this will be highlighted to scalpers who will see that your domain is becoming popular (by your searching for it) and will buy your domain and try to re-sell it to you for a higher price… believe me, this has happened to me!
Then you just have to link your domain to your website via your website builders specific tools. Once you have completed these tasks you will have your own website!
You can now use this as you wish, but remember to include it in your social media bio’s as well as on your business cards and anywhere else where it offers an opportunity for your customers to visit your hub.
Now it's time to consider your social media. It's likely that you’ve already been using social media to promote your business.
However, there are several key elements which make a successful social media profile and rules which can be applied to different types of social media services.
You can start this process by choosing which social media is right for your business. As a general rule of thumb, it's good to have a presence on the big 3: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
However, it's becoming more lucrative to have your business on short form content platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels.
This is because short form content has taken the throne of king of all social media content for its low-cost accessibility to make short 30 second videos and the amount of organic reach that is currently available on TikTok, this means you don't have to pay for ads to reach people who have already followed you.
As well as this, consider which social media may identify with your audience’s niche. For example, if you are creating art, Pinterest may also be a platform worth considering. If you are creating events, Twitch may be a platform to use to livestream your events.
Next, getting your social media bio right can mean the difference between someone following or subscribing to your content and someone scrolling past your business. A bad social media bio may contain 2-3 random words that aren't associated with your business. Whereas a good social media bio will look like this:
WHAT YOU DO
HOW YOU HELP PEOPLE
A LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE/LINKTREE
This way the format is clear and simple and you have a CTA (Call To Action) as the last line which tells people to take an action such as visit your website or store.
As well as this, it's important to have continuity across all of your social media. This means branding and having a brand which is easily identifiable no matter which social media platform your audience is on.
For example, if you are using specific fonts and colours on Instagram, you want to use these on Facebook too. This provides a grounding for your business and allows your customers to begin associating certain fonts, colours, phrases and terminology with your brand.
To complement your social media, you want to be using a marketing plan (as discussed in part I) which you can use to be able to know what you want to post and when you want to post it.
Social media can become very confusing and very overwhelming quite quickly so it's important that you have a good grasp on your social media marketing with a marketing plan which details why you are posting certain types of content and how this helps you to reach your business goals for that month.
Once you have completed these tasks you will start to gain traction on social media and in the digital space.
There are of course many other strategies with social media, but these basics will get you started and up and running in time for you to officially launch your business.
However, you should also consider hashtags, data, analytics and SEO when managing your online marketing for your business.
Digital marketing has become a requirement for today's businesses. Without it you're going to significantly struggle to gain a foothold in your market and be able to function as a successful business.
Having a website allows you to centralise your messages and updates regarding your business, as well as act as a hub to host your products and/or services from all while aiding in your SEO to turn up when someone searches for your business in Google.
As part of your digital marketing, you should also consider social media and which platforms you are going to use.
Furthermore, creating a detailed plan of your marketing efforts each month will allow you to keep track of your posts and make a post when it is most required as well as see what impact that post actually had on the business, instead of posting something and hoping everyone will magically click your follow button.
In part III we’ll be talking more about launching your business with funding, legal structure and organisational culture.
If you would like any more advice on starting a business, let us know in the comments also and we’ll cover it in another article.
- Joshua R F Murphy: https://joshuarfmurphy.com/ Having launched several businesses and engaging in an enterprise placement year where I won quarter-finalist in the Santander Young Entrepreneur Awards, I have gained a deep knowledge of business development and entrepreneurship and now manage my own music management business “Joshua R F Murphy”
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