How to Nurture Your Online Business
Once you have set up your online business, and started to promote and build your brand online, what's the best way to manage everything and carry out all of your tasks. Especially if you're a one man band, and your trying to really build your online presence, you will probably have a huge tasks list that need to be completed every single day.
When establishing your business online, besides taking care of your online sales, managing your online staff, and taking care of your customer servicers, there is a whole package about the way you carry out actions online, and where you need to focus your interest, along with prioritising what tasks need to be done first.
Below is some guidelines and tips you can follow to nature your online business, and also be efficient at the same time, giving your time to your business fully.
1. Once your business is launched online the first thing that I would advise anyone to do is learn some basic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), just the basics so you know exactly how the internet works along with how Google, Bing and Yahoo work (as Yahoo uses Bings data to rank search results). The main reason I am saying to have some decent understanding on SEO is that, when you manage your websites (via CMS), your blog, and also your social networking sites, you will know exactly how to write your content, how to link with each other, and also the importance of giving a good Title to your pages.
Once you know how websites work online, go and hire a GOOD SEO company, that will manage your SEO campaign, and optimise your website pages, and not only work on your website, but also advise you and educate you on trends happening online and the important factors that will help your business, which are related to the search industry. As you being the client you should be fully aware of what are important factors that help your website rank online. Again if you have basic knowledge you will be able to choose a good SEO firm, and understand when they communicate with you.
You can read more on how to choose a good SEO company on my article at: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/how-to-choose-a-right-seo-company/26669/
2. Your website is now launched and you have a good SEO firm backing you, now start to focus on your social media presence, as this is one of the biggest aspect of internet marketing and goes hand in hand with Search Engine Optimisation. If you haven't yet registered with Facebook and Twitter, I can't stress enough how important it is to register your business on these platforms, it's just like choosing a good domain name for your website. once registered, start to interact with others online, and share useful information that would be relevant to your business and industry.
Now you must be thinking where can I get such news and information from to share on these profiles, it's quite simple. This is what I do.
- Register with Hootsuite.com, and set my Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin account
- Register with Google Alerts, and subscribe to Keywords related to your business.
- Register with Google Reader
- Find at least 10 blogs related to your business, and subscribe to them, by copy and pasting their RSS link into Google Reader.
- Once a day (usually in the morning or late at night), go to news websites such as: bbc.co.uk, guardian.co.uk, nytimes.com…etc
- Quickly read articles, and see if there is anything that interests me or which is related to my business industry.
- If there is an article related to my niche, copy the title and link into Hootsuite.com – also mention few of my own words, and schedule the tweet to be shared on my profiles.
- I'll do this with all the articles found that day on these news websites.
- Than go over to your Google Reader, and go through the latest blog articles, and again quickly read them, if anyone of them interest me, which I believe would be beneficial to my audience, I would Tweet them, but copy and paste the Tweets into Hootsuite.com and schedule the tweet, so that they go out throughout the day.
- Lastly I would go though my Alerts and see if any articles on the world wide web i find interesting, if so, I'd schedule them also into my HootSuite.com account.
If you carry this exercise once a day, this will take care of 90% of your Twitter and Facebook account being active, you just than need to stay up to date with live messages, and tweets that are happening live where you are.
3. Now you have your SEO and Socail Media presence in order, it's time to build your brand awareness, and let others know more about you and share your opinion and knowledge online. The best way to do this, start to build your own blog, related to your business. I would personally recommend to build the blog on your own domain eg: example.com/blog.
Again you must be thinking what will I write about on my blog 🙂 its quite simple, just talk about your business, your expertise, and what you do best, with passion. Along with news, events in your business, and in your niche.
The articles that you write on your blog, again, should be relevant and informative for your visitors, portrayed in your own words, and not copied and pasted from the web. Now running a business this can be quite time consuming, try to schedule once a week or twice a week to write something for your blog. If this is not becoming possible, than allocate this task to one of your employees, or team members to carry out at least once or twice a week.
If you do setup a blog, or even a Facebook and Twitter account, don't leave it idol, stay active and post regularly, as if you don't than it will have a negative effect on your business, and not fulfil its purpose.
4.Now its time to promote your blog alongside your website, which will bring traffic to your website and ideally the goal would be to generate revenue for your business. This step only takes a few mins in a day, and I usually do this right at the end of the day, just before my mind switches off. All you do is go to your Google Reader, and all the blogs and websites that you have subscribed too, leave some useful comments on their articles. The comments that you leave should be useful and also of value to the readers of that article. The key to this exercise is consistency, don't just do this once or twice, try to do this regularly so that your name and brand becomes recognised on these blogs and websites that you have subscribed too.
You can do this commenting exercise while you are scheduling your tweets, so you don't need to come back again, you can seclude the tweet as mentioned in step two, and also leave the comment at the same time.
5. Establishing an online business is about being ahead of the game, giving the right image to your customers, competitors, and staying up to date with time, at the same time being more efficient, saving time and costs. One way you can achieve this is investing into the right tools for your business. Having a website is just one aspect of your online business, which is like the shop front of your store, this is what your customers and visitors see. Now what tools you use behind the scenes to save you time, and help you carry out your tasks effectively which will really wow the customers. I believe investing in good tools online.
You setting up an online business would also mean that you can realistically manage your business from any location in the world. You are not fully tied down to your office desk. To do this you need to look into some good online tools, such as online accounting systems, online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, file sharing programs. You can view some of my favourite online tools on this link: http://goo.gl/ckx4I
6. There will come a time in your business, when you actually run out of time, and you wish you had more hours in a day, which is good, this means that your business is growing, and your now ready to grow your business onto the next stage, by hiring staff or freelancers to help with your tasks. This can be quite daunting for some, especially if you haven't hired anyone before. The best way to do this is to actually hire some freelancers, or outsource some tasks, which will free up your time to carry out the important work for your business, or just to spend some quality time with your family.
By outsourcing or hiring a freelancer you are not obliged to pay them a contractual monthly salary, and also this will go down as expenses in your accounting books. Where else if you hire someone in house there would be other legal factors and taxes that you would need to consider. This is a safer option for you to test your business, and see if it is working out by hiring someone else. If it is, than over time you can actually employee them as a full time employee of your business.
The above points are some ways that you can nature your online business to really take advantage of the online experience and fully expose your brand online.