Establishing An Online Presence For A Small Business

I want to get my business online, so where do I start?

I guess the most obvious answer, and the one that most small business owners would come up with would be “Get a website”.

And why not – well designed website can put you on the (digital) map, so to speak. It can wow its visitors with impressive design and engaging content and, hopefully, turn some in to potential future customers. This is a valuable business asset and an important factor in your overall online sales strategy, but is it where you should start? Probably not.

There are better ways to spend your efforts early on. While new websites can be cheap or even free to make yourself, a well designed website can be a significant expense. And you will almost certainly face the problem of being found in the search engines in the first 6 months or so. These problems can both be addressed with money of course. Google paid advertising will bring leads to your site – for a price. As for organic rankings in Google, in most cases you will need to conduct(Or engage a third party) an SEO campaign that will take at least 6 months to reach fruition.

Get Social

In the 4th quarter of 2014, Facebook alone drove a total of nearly 25% percent of social referral traffic.(See Below)

Social Media Traffic Referrals Q4 2014

As you can see in the above report, the combined traffic generated by social media as a whole is a little over a third of all referral traffic. Clearly, at this point in time the network to focus on is Facebook.

One of the advantages of using social media as a starting point for your online strategy, is that you can leverage your existing social network to build an initial following to your business almost overnight. Once you have engaged your friends and family, implore them to share your business with their friends and so on by providing incentives such as product or service coupons and other special offers. The beauty of this social first approach, is that it can cost you next to nothing in dollar amounts, and you only really need to dedicate a few hours a week.

Build It, Then Tell Them Where It Is

Going online with the “social first” approach may also help increase the ROI of your website. By having a following on social media already, you can give your website an early boost when it launches. Point your followers to your website with a launch event, and boost traffic for your new site while generating extra buzz with your social media followers.

Thanks for visiting & reading!

Ben Ille