With the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen more people starting an online business and small local businesses going online. Starting an online business has become easy to start due to being accessible, requiring little to no start-up capital to start as well as the ability to scale your business quickly.
But, here’s the thing, let me ask you something. What is a strategy without a plan, and what is a plan without clear goals and metrics?
However, this guide is going to provide you with a step by step plan on how to develop a digital marketing strategy.
What will be covered?
- What online business can you start?
- Where are you now?
- Digital Marketing Plan
- Establishing your goals
- Developing a Buyer Persona
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- Research your competitors
- Digital Marketing Strategies
- Social Media Channels
- Create a blog
What online business can you start?
Okay, let’s first define what an online business is. An online business involves any activity that happens entirely over the internet, which encompasses selling products or services.
The following online businesses are well known of which I have a keen interest in and I think you also have:
1. Dropshipping (Describe as an e-commerce business)
2. Affiliate Marketing (Promoting of products or services, slightly related to network marketing)
3. Print on demand (Developing your own custom designs to sell on products)
4. Service Arbitrage (The online “gurus” often refer to this as dropservicing)
Consequently, these businesses all have one thing in common required to be successful online and that is digital marketing. Otherwise, how are you going to make sales or attract the right audiences if you are not visible to others?
Remember when I said starting an online business is easy to start? It can also be a daunting process to get your business up and running.
With that said, starting an online business shouldn’t be seen as a “get rich quick scheme” as it comes with many advantages and disadvantages, which you can explore more about here.
According to studies, the majority of online businesses fail within the first few months of being in operation due to a lack of preparation.
However, don’t let that discourage you from starting a business. I believe we all have the ability to start an online business by following the right steps and being prepared.
That is why I am sharing this information today with you so that you and I can succeed together.
Moving forward, first research the different opportunities and see which business you want to start.
Do we have a deal? Great.
Note: It doesn’t have to be any of the opportunities mentioned above, the number of online businesses to start is endless.
Want more information regarding starting an online business? Visit this guide, and please do your own due diligence.
Where are you now with your online business?
First, developing a digital marketing strategy helps in evaluating the measurement of your current success.
Second, you’ll know where you stand on the performance of your business and how you can improve on the way forward.
But we don’t have a business yet. What now? Don’t worry, I got you covered!
Since we don’t have any business metrics to measure against, we will work on a one-page business plan for our business and get our business online.
One page? Yes, you heard that right.
Nowadays you don’t need a long business plan to start an online business. Most successful businesses didn’t have a business plan when they started out.
If you already have an established online business or just starting out you can use the following examples of factors as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators):
- Unique visitors per day
- Pages per visit
- New leads per day
- Conversion rates
- Cost per conversion
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Click-through rate on paid advertisements
Digital Marketing Plan For Your Online Business
1. Establishing your goals
Finally, after doing thorough research on starting an online business, it is time to set SMART goals for your business. Starting a business without clear goals is like skydiving without knowing where you’ll land.
See, I told you it is not going to be easy.
Hang in there, don’t give up. Read further.
In the same way, goals are often tied to your mission, vision and what you want to achieve. Furthermore, goals can be divided into the following classifications:
Short term goals (Usually less than 6months)
Example: Selling 100 products per month or getting 5 clients per month
Long term goals (More than 6 months)
Example: Ranking your website on the first page of Google
2. Developing a Buyer Persona
This is a detailed description of the characteristics of the target audiences you want to attract.
A few examples of buyer persona characteristics: Name, gender, age, geographical location, interests and other background information.
Note: Online businesses has no geographical restrictions. You can be in South Africa and have clients in the United States.
3. Unique Selling proposition (USP)
Simultaneously, focusing on your USP is just as vital to differentiate you from your competitors and attracts customers to you, and in the same way resulting in sales and conversions.
So, here you work on the uniqueness of your brand and what you are offering, for example, using words like the leading “discount online store with the lowest price, highest quality products”.
4. Research your competitors
The Internet has made it easy for businesses to analyse their competitors. Conducting a strategic analysis on similar businesses and target audiences is crucial to the success of a business.
Moreover, conducting the analysis can help in evaluating the performance of your own business and how you can perform better.
Depending on what you offer and which marketing channels you are going to use, you can also use a simple Google search of a specific service or product.
Additionally, if you really want to get technical, feel free to use a range of competitors analysis tools.
Digital Marketing Strategies For Your Online Business
Using proven and low-cost strategies can increase your visibility and attract the right audiences.
The first way to get visible is to have some kind of website. Building a website has become easy to create requiring no technical skills and coding, using only simple “drop and drag.” methods
Low-cost website builders great for businesses just starting out includes:
Please do your own research regarding a website builder for your business which suit your requirements.
2. Social Media Channels
Social Media is an important part of advertising for any business. Not only that but also gives you the opportunity to market your business, create content and promote your brand.
And you can use it as a free way to market or business or you can use paid advertising.
Consequently, the analytics from social media can be used to increase your conversions and sales.
Therefore, a few platforms to mention great for starting out, which you are not limited to, is the following:
3. Create a blog
As they say, Content is “king” and creating a blog around the products or services you are offering is a great way to do so. Besides, it is FREE!
And who doesn’t love free stuff?
Creating content helps you connect with people all over the world by building nurturing relationships and expanding brand awareness.
Further, you can increase your authority and trust, boosting your online traffic and sales.
Hint: Google loves content
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
On the other hand, you also have SEO linked to your blog which as a result is an effective way to improve organic reach through SEO.
Your webpage will be active according to Google, as you retain more people on your website for a longer period.
Equally important is if you post relevant user intent content like a “how-to” guide it will pair with other related user intent content. People use Google for everything so it’s vital to pair content with which people are searching as a way to make it easy for them to find.
On the contrary, there are many ways to create content and improve your SEO, which you can educate yourself on the topic as time goes on.
In addition, you can also incorporate and link email marketing, google analytics and micro-influencers to your business.
Finally, we have come to an end, but your journey just started.
And I know it is a lot to take in, but having an open mind and being committed to the process will definitely be worth it. Start your online business with a digital marketing strategy plan and you will succeed.
In fact, if you don’t know where to get started with your digital marketing strategy, join the International Institute of Digital Marketing™ community.
So, are you ready to start your online business and follow the strategy plan guidelines?