As a startup, the toughest initial step can be getting an audience. No matter what your niche is, you need an audience of some form to be successful as a business.

And that’s where marketing comes in. Online marketing specifically. With over 3.5 billion people online, you have the perfect channel to access your audience.

But how are you meant to know where to start? Here are the 3 online marketing essentials for your startup:

 

A good website

Your website doesn’t need to be too complicated. Don’t put huge chunks of text all over every single page as it’s not very visually attractive. Make sure your website has a clean design, with relatively short pieces of text and plenty of images; if possible use images with people in, as it can humanise your site.

You can use websites like WordPress or Wix to build your website. You don’t need to be an expert to do this, although it could be useful to research how to use it properly if you want a decent website. For a custom URL you’ll need to pay for a WordPress plan – these start from just £2.50 a month, so it’s definitely affordable.

If you have the budget, I’d recommend going to a local digital/marketing agency. Websites can cost anywhere from £400 to £50,000, depending on what kind of website you’re wanting. Of course you tend to get what you pay for.

 

A social media presence

You can use social scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your social media posts in advance. A good tactic can be spending an hour or so to write a week’s worth of posts (a minimum of one a day, generally) and then scheduling them for throughout the week. Where possible use images with your posts, as this improves engagement rates by 37% on average. Of course this is just a base layer of posts – you can live tweet as much as you like, although try not to overdo it.

Make sure you engage with other relevant accounts. Like, comment or share their posts and maybe they’ll do the same in return. Make the most of Twitter hours (if you don’t know what they are then click here), as there can be so many other businesses engaging with your tweets. Check out these other social media marketing tips.

Don’t make the excuse that you don’t have the time as it really doesn’t take much. If you really don’t have time, then why not consider outsourcing to a social media agency? I’d recommend a base layer of 2 or 3 posts a day, and then live tweeting when you find the time.

 

An onsite blog

An onsite blog can do wonders for your SEO (this is basically what makes you show up higher on the Google search results). Search engines love new content, and a blog gives exactly that! Even if you only post once a month, it can really make a huge difference. It also gives you content to share on your social media. As mentioned earlier, use Twitter hours to share your blogs.

Similarly to social media, make sure you use images – although be careful what you use, for copyright issues; sites like Pixabay can be great for sourcing free images. Also hyperlink to credible websites where relevant, as well as to other pages on your website.

If you don’t know what to write about, then try sitting down and spending 20 minutes brainstorming some ideas. You don’t just need to write blogs about your business either – write things that your target audience would enjoy or find useful to read. Here are some other tips on writing your onsite blog.

 

Another recommendation, especially if you’re a local business, is to register for Google MyBusiness – when you search for a business on Google, this is the box that shows up with their details etc.

Have you got any other tips for online marketing as a startup? Feel free to comment below!

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