How many times have you taken a purchase decision based on a Google search? Or picked a restaurant or a pub based on online reviews? Maybe even chosen a product over another because it looked more reliable on the internet? If you take a moment to really think about it, it’s probably quite a lot. That is how powerful an online presence is to a business.
And, if not managed well, it can be a deal-breaker.
That is why, regardless of the nature of your startup, you will require an online presence to some extent. And you’ll need to avoid these 5 mistakes if you don’t want to kill your startup’s online presence.
Not Having A Strong Brand Foundation (Could Kill Your Startup’s Online Presence)
Ask any architect and they will tell you the most important aspect of the design is not the structure but its foundation. If you’re going to create a brand that endures, you’ll have to build its value on a solid foundation.
Slapping a logo on a website that your cousin’s college roommate or a kid that is ‘into art’ designed will not sell your product or service. There needs to exist a brand behind the logo and innovation, rooted in your WHY and company’s vision. You need to think deeper.
Launching a startup is a soul-searching endeavor. Look in the mirror. Who are you? What do you deeply care about? Who is your team? What do they care about? This may sound silly, but it’s critically important as you begin to construct the foundations of your brand.
Read More: How to Develop (a Unique) Brand Identity For Your Business
Not Having A Website (Could Kill Your Startup’s Online Presence)
A lot of entrepreneurs don’t have a web presence until much later. The timeline they give themselves is when the product is out in the market or just about to launch. This is one of the mistakes that will kill your startup’s online presence in advance.
The web presence quickly gets you needful eyeballs that will actually kick start your launch. Let people know who you are and what the product is through a proper channel. That way, if there is even the slightest chance of a first-mover advantage – you have that!
Bonus tip: Choose a unique business (and domain) name
First, check if your preferred name doesn’t exist already and that you’re not facing any issues with using someone else’s trademark. Your naming decision may partly be based on the availability of the same domain name (in other words, a web address), or at least a domain name that is related or very similar, to minimize customer confusion. This is because it is what your customers will type to access your site and also will be the basis for your email address. If you find the name you want is not available, you could consider variations on it, e.g. adding your location onto the end. Or you may wish to reconsider the name entirely.
And remember, creative and brandable are always better than generic. A brandable domain name is unique and stands out from the competition, while a generic domain name is usually stuffed with keywords and unmemorable.
Read More: 7 Effective Web Design Tips For Startups and Small Businesses
Not Knowing The Difference Between Owned and Earned Online Presence
Your owned online presence is everything you have control over. In other words, all the content you create on the web under your startup’s name.
But, what a lot of people don’t know or make a difference between is that you also have an earned online presence, which is what people say about you. It can be in any format, on any platform that people choose to talk about you on. This includes tweets, Quora answers, video reviews, TikTok comments, or even online directories. More often than not, a significant part of the online presence of an early-stage company is created by other people. They can be frustrated or angry users, prospects with questions, or even competitors.
Bottom line, your online presence is a form of communication that you can’t completely control and you should constantly monitor it. Although the ultimate objective of having an online presence is to be found on the internet, often, that alone is not enough. In fact, not monitoring your online presence can even be risky for your business.
Targeting a Broad Audience (Could Kill Your Startup’s Online Presence)
While getting your brand out there is essential to driving business, going too broad can water down your message. The result can be a lot of wasted time and resources on leads that will never benefit from what you have to offer.
Here are some important reasons why every brand needs to narrow the target market:
#1: It is impossible to please everyone.
It sounds great to be able to please everyone, but it is impossible. The old saying “jack of all trades, master of none” best describes where you will end up when you try to please everyone. Your product or service cannot offer value to everyone.
Remember that your value proposition must be relevant to your target audience. Are there people in your target audience that may not require your services? Then take them out and try to narrow down your audience further.
#2: The most memorable brands do a few things very well.
You can try to make everyone happy, but then you will not be memorable. In an attempt to make everyone happy, you could end up completely devaluing your brand and blemishing its identity.
Let’s take Rolex, for example. What do you think would happen if they start selling $100 watches just because market research shows that students are more interested in cheaper watches? Their target audience is not students. So they need to focus on pleasing their existing target audience who appreciate an expensive and quality watch bearing their brand name.
#3: You will understand your customers better.
When you focus your energy on targeting a narrower audience, your message can be more customized. Customized messages are the ones that get the real engagement, and when that happens, there is a higher chance they will trust you to understand their needs. They will know you are a good fit for them.
Avoiding Social Media (Could Kill Your Startup’s Online Presence)
With the capacity to provide information, promote goods and services, and interact with consumers, social media is an incredibly powerful digital marketing tool. Needless to say, startups can leverage that power to boost their influence and attract new customers.
But, before you decide on what social media platforms to use, consider your business goals and determine how social media can assist you in achieving them. Keep your target audience in mind and imagine exactly what kind of tone you want to convey through social media.
👉 Pick The Optimum Social Media Platform
While Facebook might have the largest number of users in its network, this doesn’t always mean it is the right social platform for your media marketing strategy. If your target audience doesn’t have a large presence in a platform’s base, it might not be worth the effort.
To Sum Up
While it’s true that many startups don’t have a ton of resources or a lot of time to spend building an So, building your startup’s online presence – easy, right? Well, not exactly. But, with a little bit of effort applied in the right places, you can start to build a digital footprint for your startup. And the more your digital footprint grows – the more your credibility increases.
Starting and running a business takes courage and determination. The best way to forge ahead and stay afloat is to be prepared, and bolstering your online presence is the surest way of staying relevant in an ever-changing business landscape.