Boosting the online presence of your start-up
Maximise your resources and stretch your budget in innovative ways to get noticed
Ask your staff to take an online marketing topic and make themselves an expert within a month. You’ll soon find you have relevant information on key online marketing topics. Photograph: Sergey Nivens/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Growing the online presence of your start-up is no easy task, especially when there is so much information and misinformation to grasp regarding websites, search engine optimisation, pay per click advertising and social media.
When it comes to online marketing, it is easy to believe a significant online marketing spend is needed to get an online reaction, or that staff with specialised knowledge are required.
This could not be further from the truth. My advice to start-ups is to maximise the resources you have and stretch your budget in innovative ways, so that you get noticed online for all the right reasons. Here are my tips:
Knowledge driversSet a challenge for your staff. No matter what area of the business they work in, ask them to take an online marketing topic and make themselves an expert within a month. What would this entail?
Take search engine optimisation (SEO) for example, they could read five of the latest articles on SEO management from reputable sources, take a half-day SEO course or talk to someone they know who works in the area of SEO, to get their advice. Once they have summarised their learnings they can report back to you on what they found, along with a suggested approach for how you should proceed with the SEO plans for you business. Make sure their learning and knowledge is then spread throughout your organisation.
Try this with five staff, and you’ll soon find you have the most up-to-date and relevant information on five key online marketing topics. Along with five newly empowered and informed online marketing experts.
Create exclusive contentIf you’ve attended any digital marketing conferences recently you’ll have heard terms like “native content” and “content marketing” being discussed at length.
For business owners, who are not marketing experts, these are pretty daunting terms. This endless “content” discussion extends to websites where content is crucial to SEO success, online and offline advertising, and of course social media. Your content can be created by individuals in your organisation, by your customers, or by industry influencers or partners who you engage to work with you.
To create excellent content you need a strategic content plan, to keep you on track . Everything you create from a content perspective must be based around the topic of expertise that you want to display to your market place.
When planning your content, it must be specific to a topic or industry, interesting enough to keep people’s attention, and exclusive and challenging enough to create discussion or build the profile of your business. Content can be visual, audio or written, and your plan must include ways to share and amplify this content online, either with or without a budget to support it.
Personal brandingEvery business is made up of its corporate brand and a key personality that leads the organisation, usually the owner or chief executive. For start-ups, this person often epitomises the culture, the drive and the passion within this company. That is why driving this person’s brand online, can be a clever and cost effective way of growing the organisations brand (indirectly) online.
Often customers find news on your organisation more interesting when it is delivered by an individual rather than the company.
When planning this strategy, it is very important that this person picks one topic to focus on. They then need to create content by writing articles for the company website and posting on social media, almost exclusively within this topic. The aim is to become the industry expert or leader on the topic, and within weeks you will find that online and offline media will pick up on this and begin to offer industry interviews and quotes to this person. The growth in the profile of the individual will certainly benefit the company brand.
Jenny Taaffe is the founder and chief executive of iZest Marketing and iZest Influence