I think it would be fair to say that most startup businesses tend to struggle to find sufficient time to implement all the different facets of online marketing, especially content marketing.
The process of writing content for guest posts, featured reviews, interviews, competitions, press releases, emailing webmasters and building relationships is an extremely time consuming process which is why many startups turn to outside help.
Let’s face it, it really doesn’t matter if you spend £200 or £20,000 on your lovely new website because if nobody visits it, it’s money down the drain. The importance of online marketing and online visibility in search engine results is paramount.
To start off with, having a plan with clear objectives / goals is a must. As a startup business, chances are you most likely had to complete a business plan so you’ll be no stranger to setting objectives / forecasts.
When it comes to online, whether it’s an ongoing marketing campaign or a specific promotion, you should set specific activities and objectives. Then you’ll be able to judge if it’s a success, analyse where your best return is coming from and set new tasks to maximise your campaign’s effectiveness.
By implementing these following five parts of online marketing from day one should help you and your startup website hit the ground running.
1. Content is still king
This goes for onsite (on your website) and offsite (content that will be published on other websites). The content on your website is one of the most important things to get right as search engines now place a lot of emphasis on this.
Have a clear content strategy and include relevant important dates, for example, if you are a stationery company, write something engaging that ties in with left handed day in August.
Be timely – create Google alerts so when a new relevant story comes in you can react and write something in response to or related to.
Write for your audience, not for search engines – think about what your audience will like and be interested in, what are they likely to share socially?
2. Link Building matters
Search engines like Google base their search results on links (other sites linking to your website) and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon. No doubt you’ll want your website to appear high in search results for certain key-phrases as soon as possible.
For this to happen you will need to attract and earn links, and not any old links. Today, it’s all about quality and not quantity of links from relevant authority sites.
Many startups hire SEO link building companies or freelancers as this work is very time-consuming and requires expertise and experience.
Word of warning – be careful when hiring a link building company, especially foreign ones who implement low cost link building. These are low cost for a reason – low quality and can often result in penalisation from a search engine such as Google by using them so tread carefully here.
You want to hire a link building company who focuses on quality, relevancy and uses creative content-led strategies to build links. A recommended read is SEO advice for startup businesses for advice on hiring a link building company and what to look for and look out for.
3. Website Analytics has always been useful
Setting up Google Analytics on your website is quick, free and enable you as the business owner to clearly see how much website traffic you’re receiving, how people found your website i.e. what they searched for in a search engine or which website referred them, what other pages they viewed, how long they stayed on your site, the list goes on.
This is all very useful information of course, but the most important for you as a startup business is finding out if your website actually helps your business. Knowing important metrics such as leads, trial signups, account creations, newsletter signups etc is the key.
4. Get Social Now!
Social networking is certainly not a fad and your target audience will be most likely using one form of social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so a social strategy should be included in your online marketing activities.
There are many case studies you can read online of startups who actively engaged with their target customers and found new customers in the process via these social platforms so make sure social media is up there with things to get implemented from the start.
5. PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising still works!
As with all new websites, it takes a while to rank organically in search results but fear not, there is a way you can get visibility and that is via pay per click (PPC) advertising such as Google.
However, this activity does require investment and is why ranking in search engines ‘organically’ is the best strategy financially in the long-term. For short-term, whilst your website is new and not ranking you should certainly look into the pay per click route.
Post contributed by Mark Shaw, a UK freelance online marketing consultant and expert link building specialist at Pinecone Media