Society is moving further into the age of technology—we have self-driving cars, artificial intelligence is improving, and everywhere we go there’s a portable computer in our pockets. Considering cell phones have turned everyone into a critic, and technology is accessible from anywhere on the planet, it’s important to consider growing with technology instead of against it regarding the betterment of your business.
When it comes to developing your business, and creating that digital presence, it’s important to consider not only your approach to the online customer base, but the marketing strategies you need to utilize to reach them.
At the same time, avoiding online business scams is crucial to the longevity of your online presence. You wouldn’t want to make an ill-informed decision and watch your business suffer because of it. Here are some tips on how to learn digital marketing while avoiding scams:
1. Start With The Basics
Just like with any other business, you want to make sure you understand the basics before you move onto the more complicated aspects. One of the simplest aspects to learn would be SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to the website by increasing the visibility of a web page based on search engine results. Other means of outreach for your brand could be:
- Social media communities
- Online forums
When developing your social media presence, one scam you will come across is a company promising you they will help build your following online by requesting money that they will use to buy a certain number of followers. The “followers” they buy out are actually a mass amount of fake profiles that really don’t hold any value or garner any real impact outside bulking up your followers list.
Social media platforms have cracked down on these fake profiles, so this venture would turn out to be a waste of your money and time. There are plenty of other ways to build your social media presence that bring in legitimate, and valuable followers.
2. Utilize Directories
The directory you would want to utilize varies based on which industry your business lies within. You wouldn’t want to put together a profile for your law firm on a site like HomeAdvisor; instead, you would want to utilize a site like Justia, for example.
If you’re unsure of which directories to best utilize for your business, there are lists of trusted online business opportunities that can help you put together a better understanding and make a sound decision that would be best for your business. Here is a short list of credible directories:
- Angie’s List
- Chamber of Commerce
When it comes to utilizing a well-trusted directory, this will bring new traffic and potential clients to your online business page, but there are still scams out there to be aware of. Some scammers will approach you with an offer to apply your business information to a number of different directories, which sounds great, until you see the price tag that’s attached to this “service”.
Sometimes, these “professionals” will utilize your business information and send it out to a number of different directories, but usually these are low-quality sites and can be more damaging to your business than helpful.
When researching which directories are best for your business be sure to pay attention to not only the business information provided, but the customer reviews as well. They will tell you plenty of information on the site you are browsing as well as other businesses.
3. Optimize Your Website And Make It Mobile-Friendly
Considering a vast number of tasks can be done on a cell phone just like a laptop, you can safely assume prospective customers are going to try to access your website through their mobile device.
Naturally, if your website has not been optimized for mobile platforms, these prospective customers will not have a positive experience and will move onto searching through other companies instead of yours.
To optimize your website for mobile platforms ensures the information is being portrayed and communicated correctly to the user, as well as making sure it’s presented in an optimal amount of time. Optimizing your website will not only boost your rankings, but it will also improve user experience.
Whether you have outsourced the development of your website to outside web designers, or have hired on your own team within your business, you will likely receive calls from digital marketers claiming your website is “broken” or needs “improvements”. Before jumping on the wagon and letting them potentially damage your website by making unnecessary changes, talk with the individuals who have developed your site and see if there really are improvements that can be made.
Most of the time, these “marketers” pinpoint parts of a website claiming it needs improvement without really understanding why something has been programmed that specific way. Naturally, this “service” they are providing typically tows a hefty price tag, and doesn’t guarantee these “improvements” will actually benefit your overall website performance.
4. Get To Know Your Audience
When developing your business’ social media presence, whether through blog posts or through Facebook or Instagram, getting to know your audience can make or break your social media traffic.
You want to take your audience’s values, interests, opinions, and overall standing into consideration, and when approaching that dynamic, you want to ensure you are not voicing any opinions that might give your business a negative stance, especially when discussing political or social justice issues. Remain unbiased, and ensure you’re sticking to what’s best for your business, but remain open to communicating with the audience as that’s where your customer base will be coming from.
Media exposure will happen, it can be entirely fake, or it can be individuals approaching you promising blog posts, or social media attention, that might not be within the interest of your business. Be wary, if something seems too good to be true—it probably is—and don’t agree to anything without knowing the entire situation. You wouldn’t want to agree to an interview for a media platform, and it turns out to be a sales pitch for alternative online services.
If you’re unfamiliar with a specific media platform or blog an individual is approaching you about, do the research—the internet hides nothing. If they’re a credible source, you will be able to find that out in no time.
In all, there are a number of different strategies to consider when thinking about what’s best for your business. What is optimal for your business might not be appropriate for the next because this is unique to you and your audience, but the basics have to be in place for any business to succeed, as well as being able to identify a scam before it’s damaging to everything you have built.