You run a business which didn’t have an online presence, went for a business conference and learnt about the importance of establishing an online presence for your business, there and then you decide to adopt online marketing for your business.
Have you considered the necessary?
Many businesses are failing online, because they failed to put solid plans on ground before going online.
Before taking your business online and start to unleash those aggressive marketing plans that you’ve learnt, do you have the loose knots all tied up?
Here are the 9 fundamental questions you need to ask yourself and answer before turning on the online marketing green light for your business.
Let’s jump right in!
Question 1. Are my target customers online?
This is the number one you question you need to verify, but sadly many business owners do not know what customers they are to target with their business.
They assume that everybody is their target customer.
When everybody is your target customer, nobody is really your target customer.
Not everybody needs what you sell. Even if everyone needs what you sell, not everyone can afford what you’re selling.
Your target customers should be the people who love what your business is selling, needs it and can afford it. Figure them out first.
When you do, it becomes easier to figure out places they could be online.
Most times, you may assume your target audience is already online and you’ll be dead wrong.
Majority of individuals in the hinterlands aren’t captured on the online yet. Experience tells me so.
Question 2. Which online platforms does my target customers stay?
A typical business owner who has limited insight on marketing loves to believe that their clients are on all online media platforms and they are right on this, but when considering online media platforms for business, the platforms where you have the majority of your target customers should be your priority.
This means that, instead of having your business on all online media platforms; you should focus on the platforms where majority of your ideal customers hangout,
Question 3. Will my product or service sell online?
At the moment, I’m yet to see any business lacking the potentials of being able to sell online, if it has the means to deliver to places outside of its immediate location.
Question 4. Will I be able to meet up with huge demand for supply?
Before taking your business to the social media, be sure to have concluded on how to meet up with huge demand for the product or service you’re selling.
For products, this means increasing your production capacity or stocking up on your products, and making provisions for reliable logistics to deliver to customers.
For services, it means having enough people, equipment and expertise to deliver on customer demands.
Selling online is a big deal, you should be prepared for the big deals.
Question 5. Can I deliver my product or service to customers outside my business location?
A business that have decided to go online has consciously or unconsciously signed up to attracting new customers within and outside its locality and should have a means of delivering to customers beyond its immediate location.
Be it national or international, capacity to deliver to locations outside of your business location is the one important attribute that determines the success of a business online.
This applies more to businesses that sell products.
Question 6. What is my content marketing strategy?
To reach out to your target customers using the online media, you need to determine the content strategy that would endear your business to them and make them patronize you.
You have to determine:
- What goals your business needs to achieve using the internet,
- The kind of content to share on your online platforms,
- The formats your content would take,
- The style, tone and choice of words to use,
- The timing of your content, and more.
All these you’d need to determine if you want to manage your business’ online media platforms yourself.
You would have less to worry about if you hire professional online media management services like social media management, blog writing service, website management service, content strategy service etc.
Question 7. Should I hire a professional or manage my business’ online presence myself?
3 reasons should inform your decision here:
- Expertise in online media management,
- Availability of funds and,
- Availability of Time
Ability to successfully manage a business’ presence online requires:
- Content marketing skills and knowledge, including social media management among others.
- Understanding of how the various social medium functions.
- Basic graphics design and video editing skills.
Failure at these means, your percentage of failure at effectively managing your business’ online presence would be high.
If you don’t have online marketing skills and wish to hire a helping hand, you need to resolve these questions:
- Do I have enough funding to hire a professional service to manage my business’ online presence?
- How will I sustain payments for a professional management service if I hire one?
Answering these questions genuinely helps you access your financial readiness and decide on either taking the long route of learning to manage your business’ online platforms yourself or commit to hiring a professional online marketing service.
Prospective online customers perceive how serious a business is by how active their social media and other online platforms are.
To avoid ghosting on people that follow your business online and creating an impression of unseriousness.
How much time you have for other tasks involved in the day-to-day running of your business should also be considered before deciding on whether to hire a professional service to handle your business’ online presence or not.
Question 8. Do I Have a Customer Feedback Response Plan?
Smart phones and online media platforms has made it easier for customers to directly express their feeling about your business services. Expressions that comes with the good, bad and ugly tones.
How well and swift you respond to every one of them is a factor that will determine whether you’ll win new customers to your business using online media platforms or not.
Having a robust response strategy would help you handle every customer feedback with the professionalism and swiftness that they deserve.
Question 9. How do I maintain consistency?
Consistency in content message and in showing up is a critical factor that determines if your business will be successful online.
You’ll need to share content that is relevant to your audience frequently, and maintain consistency in your showing up and messaging.
Consistency on your business’ online media platforms signals seriousness to your target customers, eliciting their love, trust, patronage and making them share the good news about your business with everybody they encounter.
A default in consistency, signals unseriousness and attracts the opposite.
Do not adopt the bandwagon approach to doing online marketing for your business.
Though studying and adopting strategies that work for other businesses in your niche is common practice, it is advised that you device online marketing strategies that specifically fits into your business goals.
Your business goals might completely differ from your competitions’, so adopting your competitions’ online marketing strategies may not generate the results you desire.