When an entrepreneur wants to expand their business, it is important that they take the time to create a solid marketing and networking plan. Networking and marketing go hand in hand, and both of these activities will make your company stand out in a crowd. In addition to marketing locally, many entrepreneurs are finding success with international marketing online. Erick McFerran, a seasoned entrepreneur, offers advice to new business owners and to those who are looking to expand their businesses.
The Power of Networking
Without business and personal networking, you will find that you have very few opportunities for growth. If you do not have robust marketing at work, you will be working in a vacuum. Your business networking connections are vital to your success in every way. Local support can come from such sources as chambers of commerce, charitable work, and face time with local business owners.
Networking also allows you to build self-awareness and helps you create a solid vision of your business. This can also tie into your marketing capability. You should be able to explain your business in less than 30 seconds, building your confidence and making new connections.
This pursuit will test your ability to communicate with a wide variety of business and personal connections. You will need to be able to conduct a productive conversation, to ask good questions, and most importantly, to listen. No one appreciates it when a would-be networker arrives at a business meeting and won’t stop talking about themselves. A balance of talking and listening is a must.
It is a good idea to keep an open mind about the connections you make when you are networking. Other companies and professionals can be the source of great ideas that you can implement in your own business. It is equally important to learn from success stories as it is to learn from others’ failures. When you have a well-rounded concept of what business can be, you will be more likely to avoid those problems in your own company.
Marketing to a Growing Audience
Marketing is both an art and a science. In its most basic form, you have the ability to communicate your business goals and what you can do for others. You need to let people know about your business or about the contributions you can make. Online marketing builds on basic principles and provides a road map to possible global success.
Optimize Your Website
One of the most important things that online entrepreneurs can do is to make sure that their websites have proper SEO, or search engine optimized content. SEO has changed from a simple question of peppering a web site with the most likely keywords that a visitor might search. Lists of keywords are frowned upon in today’s search algorithms, so you will have to be sure that your website is optimized for current use. Keywords are one of the most important places that prospective customers look up when they are searching for a business or product. Ideally, you should also use your keywords in your site’s meta description and title, also making sure that these keywords are presented with restraint.
After optimizing your keywords, it is smart to move on to online advertising. Facebook, Google, and Instagram ads are effective depending on your audience. If you purchase Google ads, you could have the opportunity to make your website the top hit for its keywords. This can be an invaluable source of customers and click-throughs.
Call to Action
A proper Call to Action on your website or in an email will help you convert visitors to sales. Encouraging prospective customers to reach out and contact you with questions, or to join an email marketing list, will make a connection between you and your customer.
Having a blog is another great idea for the new online business. Use these blogs as a creative way of getting click-throughs, and make sure that they are quality representations of your business. It is also a good idea to do guest posts on other websites’ blogs. This is another instance where networking comes into play.
Study Your Competition
As part of your online marketing push, it is vital that you define what your competition is doing and how you can set yourself apart from these other companies. For example, if another company is offering custom T-shirts, you can make sure that your online order process is easier and that your products are of better quality than your competition.
Use Social Media Wisely
When it comes to choosing which social media platforms you might want to use, there are many different options. Facebook is the option that will reach the most customers, but its demographic skews older and people are likely to scroll right past the ads in their news feeds. Instagram is a great place to connect with Millennials, especially women. If you market to teens or young adults, consider Snapchat.
International Marketing Tips
Online businesses have an exciting opportunity to create international marketing strategies. In order to be successful on the international stage, many of the same principles of marketing apply. SEO, calls to action, email marketing, and social media should all be used in concert.
In order to succeed in an individual country, you will need to create a specific marketing plan. Localization is key to running a successful marketing plan. If you can hire staff from the country in which you want to market or enlist a native speaker of their language, you will be well on your way.
Expand on the Basics
Erick McFerran has provided these tips to help you succeed in marketing your online business. When you need to create a solid marketing plan, make sure that you have all of these principles in mind. If you want to expand your company internationally, remember that you must treat each country separately in order to achieve success.