Avoid This Giant Mistake of the Small Business Start-up

Since I started blogging almost two years ago, I’ve focused on offering tips and advice for more established companies on attracting clients online–whether through website copy, SEO copy, or using social networking to share a brand message.

In the past month, I’ve had quite a few start-ups contact me to help them increase sales. One thing they all have in common, aside from the obvious, is that the owners are clueless as where to begin and how to begin establishing an online presence.

There seems to be a lack of understanding among small business owners about what they can do now (while waiting until everything is “perfect”) to start connecting with prospects and attracting customers. Or there are businesses that think it’s too early to start learning how to market and promote their business online. But I assure you, it’s not. Knowing how to communicate, connect, and build relationships online with peers and prospective customers is arguably the best way to influence your market.

I’m a firm believer in “marketing over mastery” and often advise companies to create a plan and then start marketing and promoting online–even if they are still waiting for their website to launch or are thinking about starting a blog. When you start doing, instead of thinking and talking about it, you’ll be able to better speak to prospects and understand what they want.

The bottom line is this: Whether you’re a start-up business with no website or an established business, knowing the strategies to face changes in the online community will help you get clarity and grow a successful business online. And connecting with your peers and target audience is just as important in the first stages of your business as it is throughout its development.

If you’re a start-up and you want to grow your business online today, the first thing you must understand is why you need an integrated PR approach and which steps you can take to start attracting clients and increasing revenue.

Integrated PR is about finding where your target audience is, listening to what they have to say, and engaging them in a conversation. It’s not about the online platforms you use; it’s about human interaction. Successful online campaigns are relationship driven and require you to join the conversation.

So, how do you create an integrated PR strategy? Here are a few tips to get you started:

* Create a plan that works for your company’s goals and objectives. Because an integrated PR uses an all-encompassing approach to gaining exposure online, it can be difficult to cover all the bases if you don’t have a plan.

* Observe where your target audience and peers are and join the conversation. By doing this, you’ll learn their interests, needs, desires, and online behavior.

* Engage bloggers. Listen, observe, leave a comment, ask a question, and add value to the conversation. Ask if you can be a guest blogger or invite an expert to be a guest blogger on your blog.

* Integrate your public relations strategy with social media. Start connecting on social networking platforms by commenting on your friends’ or fans’ posts, sharing what you love with your network, and asking questions. Share your favorite blog posts, articles, photos, videos, or websites on social bookmarking platforms. Remember: you don’t want to be pushy and sell, sell, sell. The key is to join in the conversation.

Was this information helpful? Leave us a comment, and tell us what you think.

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Tags: attract clients online, brand message, increase sales, influence your market, integrated PR, market and promote business online, SEO copy, social networking, startup business, website copy

4 Responses to “Avoid This Giant Mistake of the Small Business Start-up”

  1. How to Start an Affordable Internet Business | Internet Marketing Strategies-Wholesale Electronics Says:

    [...] Avoid This Giant Mistake of the Small Business Start-up | Written … [...]

  2. Sarah Says:

    Thanks Michelle! Its so easy to feel bogged down with “what do I do now and what do I do later?” that getting started gets further and further delayed. Your tips are always a huge help!

  3. Tracey Fieber Says:

    Great advice, Michelle. This covers some of the same areas I advise my AttractMoreBoomers clients. It all boils down to companies are made up of people, and people connect with others. So start making those connections. Terrific article!

  4. Michelle Says:

    Thanks Sarah and Tracey for your comments. Sarah, it is hard not to get bogged down–when that happens to me, I take action. Any action is better than getting weighed down in worry and despair. Tracey, you hit the nail on the head: companies are made of people and people connect. Check out my Wednesday post–it’s on that topic. You read my mind.

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