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Have you just launched your online business after months of hard work setting it up? Congratulations, you have already taken the first step to becoming an entrepreneur, and you have already got further than the majority of people who dream of owning a business. Did you know? 62% of Americans want to make their dream of owning a business a reality. However, only 14% consider this a realistic goal. Give yourself a big pat on the back, and let’s get back to work!
So, what’s next? To make sure your online venture strives, it’s in your best interest to build a strong foundation from the very start to bring your business credibility, opportunities, and customers. You might be struggling with this for several reasons, such as not knowing where to start, not knowing what works and what doesn’t, or you have run out of ideas. Here’s a list of 8 things you can do right now to get you back on track:
1. Share your business with friends and family
An easy way to get your first activity is to share your online business with friends and family. This allows you to get your first likes, readers, supporters, or possibly even customers, depending on how supportive your close ones are. This will prevent your business profiles from looking empty and allow you to receive your first (hopefully) honest feedback. It’s also a good idea to ask your friends to share it with their friends, to reach even more people.
2. List your business on appropriate sites
There are thousands of sites where you can list or create a profile for your business. These include the obvious, such as Facebook, Google MyBusiness, LinkedIn, etc. However, some may be less obvious, but just as important, like Trustpilot, Pinterest, and Medium. To find more places where to post your business, try this Google search. The more places you post your business to, the better, as these also work as backlinks to your website, which rank you higher in search results (more on that later).
3. Grow your social media following
This is one of the most important points on this list, as growing your brand’s social media accounts will not only boost your credibility online but also allow you to advertise for free to the audience you build. By posting brand-related content, you attract followers with a genuine interest in your business. These followers are more likely to convert into customers than any other audience you advertise to. Best of all, it’s completely free.
RELATED: 15 Tips to Grow a Social-Media Audience for Your Startup
4. Start a niche-related blog
Another winner here. By creating blog posts on your website related to your business, of course, you can take advantage of keywords/phrases that people search for on search engines. Let’s say your business is an e-commerce tea store, for example, and you write a blog post about “Where to Buy Real Turkish Tea in the USA.” If there’s not a lot of competition for Turkish tea in the US, your blog post will show up as one of the first results on search engines. Now anyone who searches for that phrase or any keywords that you have used a few times throughout the article will be taken to your website.
5. Rank your website on search engines through backlinks
You’ve probably heard this many times. I’ve even mentioned it a few times in this article already; that’s because it is so important. Search engines already have millions of users searching for your business; you need to help them find you. It might seem overwhelming, however positioning your website is actually quite simple. Search engines show websites which they trust the most at the top of search results. One way they decide which website is the most trustworthy is by the number of quality backlinks they have on credible/trusted websites. A backlink is when your website link appears on another website.
RELATED: 10 Smart Ways to Earn or Build Backlinks to Your Website
6. Advertise for free
Well, duh! But how? Here are just a few ideas to get you inspired:
- Post valuable content to your Facebook page, then join and share it to existing Facebook groups related to your business.
- Sign up on forums and platforms like Quora, find related questions which you know how to answer (always focus on giving value first), and at the end of your answer, add your link.
- Join and interact with LinkedIn groups, bring value, help others and promote your business while acquiring useful connections.
- Post to Pinterest and YouTube, where millions of users seek the information and products/services you provide.
7. Create paid advertisements
Create an eye-catching banner or a great video that time-efficiently explains what your business is about and what your unique selling point is. Post the image or video to Facebook and click ‘boost post’ to start advertising. Make sure you experiment with what ad targeting works best for you. Ad targeting is important, as it allows you to choose the audience that sees your advert based on their location, age and interests. This prevents your ad from being shown to people who are not interested in your business and, hence, lose money on pointless advertising. Another way to advertise your business is to work with an influencer from a similar niche; choose an influencer whose followers would be interested in your products or services.
8. Get some press
I’m not just talking about big news coverage; an article on a decent blog will also bring traffic to your business. This is actually much simpler than it seems; most bloggers or journalists will listen to your ideas and will happily promote your business in return for the story you provide them with. There are sites such as HARO (help a reporter out) that may help you find these sources. You may also write a press release, take part in local events, or create a marketing stunt to get free coverage from bigger and more credible sources.
RELATED: 5 Ways to Get Media Coverage as a Startup
I hope this article has inspired you and will guide you back on track to growing your online business. Remember to think outside the box and be patient; It may take a while before you start to see results, but it will be very worth it in the end.