How do you define online marketing? By default, the definition should boil down as being everything you do online – SEO, social media, advertising – everything. When it comes to creating an online presence, that is, building a website, when should you start that marketing process?
It doesn’t matter if you’re an established brick and mortar business or a completely new business, if you’re building an online presence, then you need to get it right from day one. These days there seems to be an undue haste to get a website live as soon as possible. In most instances, all the bugs have been ironed out, the links work, the shopping cart does what it should, and the checkout process has no glitches – so why not go live?
The word “Internet” seems to blind individuals to what is good business sense. When starting a traditional brick and mortar business, there is generally some planning that is undertaken. If you’re somewhat of a traditionalist, then you’ll develop a business plan – this plans everything from finances to marketing and advertising. The ideal plan will see your business opening its doors with customers eager to enter right from day one.
Developing an online presence is no different – it needs planning. And I am not just talking about your website’s design, shopping cart, or checkout procedures. SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and social media marketing all need careful thought and a plan of attack mapped out, BEFORE your website goes live. SEO, for example, should be included in your website’s design (so too should social media marketing for that matter).
All too often businesses work hard to get their website operationally right, then publish their site live to the Internet and wonder why they don’t have any visitors at all to start with. The Internet differs from the offline world in one very important area – there is no traffic passing by. You cannot catch people’s attention and lure them by having a great shop front window.
The number one mistake of new businesses is to publish their site first, then consider SEO along with many of the other online marketing channels available. If you’re about to start up online, do yourself, and your business, a big favor – get those Internet marketing strategies in place first. If you’re lucky, you may even have visitors waiting for the grand opening.