An online business launch is kind of a big deal. The moment when your web designer sends you that fateful email saying ‘We’re live!’, there’s a premature sense of satisfaction. I’d forgive you for leaning back in your chair, putting your feet on your desk and smugly smiling to yourself as you wait for your millions to start rolling in.
Unfortunately, launching the website is the easy part. Keeping your business rolling along is the hard part, and it’s never ‘done’. It’s a constant attention stealer so buckle up because your business is a whiney beast and it wants cookies damn it.
Why is everything so damn needy? *eye roll*
If you’ve just come off the back of a business launch and you’re sitting there like a deer blinking in the headlights, here are a few options for your next steps.
1. Be present
PSA: The moment after your business launch party is not the time to tap out. That’s like inviting everyone to a party and then sneaking out the back door. Be seen. It’s your time to sparkle, my friend. You could even wear a tiara. No one would judge you. Be in the business, be in front of your customers and be the best PR rep your company has. The real work has only just begun.
2. Create your email sequences
When customers buy things from you, they appreciate a lot of information. Even though the internet is ancient now, people still get panicked when they buy things online, like they just threw their money into a pit of fire. Make sure sales confirmations, purchase history, and receipt emails are all functioning correctly and delivering promptly. Follow-up emails with 20% discount thank you vouchers and announcements of new products are also important. You’re much more likely to get someone to buy something from you if they’re an existing customer, so make sure you remind your current customers of your business.
3. Market constantly
If you don’t tell anyone you’re selling things, no one will know you’re selling things. That seems like a super obvious thing to tell you but a lot of business owners really struggle with selling. You can’t just send out an email every now and then and think you’re going to get enough sales for your business to thrive. You need to be constantly marketing. Every day.
4. Create an Instagram strategy
Have a plan for the gram. Isn’t rhyming fun? You need to pick a palette of three colours (colours you use in your branding would be a good idea) and post at least five times a week. Two posts should be sales posts, pushing people to buy your products and the other three should be entertaining and useful posts to get potential customers to fall in love with you. Done.
5. Create a Facebook strategy
Facebook should be a place where people hang out and have conversations. Post there three times a day. Share an interesting article or video that’s related to your niche, a promotion for your products or services, and a text-only conversation starter like ‘Do you prefer to workout in the morning or the afternoon?’. The more people who interact with your site, the more likely Facebook is to show them the other things you post in your feed. Hot tip: Try not to share anything from a direct competitor though because you’re not in the business of free lunches, amirite?
6. Create a ‘live’ strategy
Commit to going live on Facebook or Instagram at least once a week. This creates brand loyalty as your customers can see the person behind the business. Consumers are getting fussier and fussier about how they spend their money (annoying, right?), so you’ve got to earn their trust.
7. Ask for sales
You can’t go to a restaurant, forget to order, and then expect the waiter to bring you a sandwich. That would be madness. So how do you think you’re going to get sales if you don’t ask for them? Recommend yourself. Put your hand up. Direct people to your products. Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor so pop on your clogs and get flinging you, Michael Flatley wannabe.
8. Create a blogging strategy
To get your customers to find you on Google, you need to write some excellent, juicy blog posts to get them to your website. One blog post per week should get you started, and make sure you use keywords that people are searching for in your industry like ‘comfortable sports bras’ or ‘biodegradable coffee pods’. You can use Google Adwords or Wordstream to find keywords that have low competition but still yield high search results. Hot tip: If you sell scented candles don’t use the search term ‘comfortable sports bras’. That would be super confusing.
9. Make quality connections with other business people
At least once a week, you should be connecting with other businesses with whom you want to collaborate. *desperate hopes that’s the correct use of the word ‘whom’* You don’t have to be pushy. Just ask questions, be useful, mention them in social media if you have to chance to spruik one of their products or a social media post of theirs that resonated with you. Pick a dozen or so people who you’d like to connect with and make an effort to communicate with them in some way each week.
10. Get Pinterest Sorted
Full caveat: Pinterest isn’t useful for every business, BUT if you have a gorgeous physical product, Pinterest will be great for your business. Sign up for Tailwind, write some juicy SEO’d posts that feature your products or services in it, and pin every picture of every post. Pinterest is a slow growth tool so give it a few months, but after a while, you should start seeing a steady increase in traffic for an hour or two a week of work.
11. Create video content if possible
Everyone baulks at video content (because it’s hard and editing is tedious) but if you batch-record some killer video content, it’s going to be a great asset for your business. Facebook loves video, and they prioritise that content because their users interact with it. Whether you’re in the middle of a business launch or 30 years down the track, it’s best to please Facebook as much as you can.
12. Spend one day a fortnight emailing useful people
Other brands you love, people you want to collaborate with, journalists, publicists. Anyone who might be able to get some eyes on your business is an excellent person to email on this day. You should also call your mum because that’s a beautiful thing to do.
13. Have a running ‘Market Research’ document
So many people enter business launch territory having done minimal market research, and then use it as the basis of their decisions for literally years. You need to be looking at what’s happening in your market. That way you avoid ending up with a product no one wants in a market where no one is buying. Like floppy discs and cassette tapes. Hot tip: Don’t start a floppy disc or cassette tape business. No one buys them anymore. We’re so glad we got to you before it was too late on that one. Phew.
14. Stalk other people in your industry
We don’t recommend doing this every day (you’ll get a severe case of the grass-is-always-greeners) but once a month check out what other people are doing in your industry. We’re not suggesting you copy them but being on board with what’s trending and what other businesses are doing will keep you abreast of the changes in your niche.
15. Write up an ideal customer profile
If you don’t know who you’re selling to, how are you going to market to them? It’s like shopping without a list. You end up with a trolley full of weird shampoo and superfood seeds you’re never going to eat. At the very least, narrow down the basics – like this: female, aged 28 to 40, with decent disposable income, who works from home. That way you know how to target them.
16. Build solid systems
Use Asana or Trello for ongoing business to-do lists to make sure you don’t forget a crucial part of your marketing plan. You probably won’t remember to share your blog posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Instagram Stories, in Facebook groups, and in your weekly email unless you have the process written down and you tick these items off every week.
17. Participate in social media
Comment on other businesses’ profiles, answer questions, and be useful. If you see a conference or event in your industry, participate in the discussions around that event. Join relevant Facebook groups and actively chat with them. Imagine you’re a young lady living at Downton Abbey and this is your coming out year. You want to be lovely and charming, with a long string of potential suitors (essential business people) vying for your hand in marriage (to promote the shiz out of your business).
18. Set up Facebook ads
You don’t have to have a full-on Facebook marketing team, but you should be experimenting with Facebook ads and seeing what sort of an effect they have post-business launch. Do some A/B testing with different ads and see what kind of content performs well.
19. Don’t forget Twitter…
Even after all these years, Twitter still has 353 million monthly users. That’s a lot of people. In case that doesn’t convince you, here are three more reasons to get tweeting:
- It doesn’t take long to send out a tweet.
- Twitter users are super dedicated.
- There’s not as much algorithm messing around on there. Also, Twitter doesn’t hide your content from people who follow you, unlike Facebook – the devious little bastard.
Depending on your product and your strategy, Twitter could be a goldmine for you.
20. …or LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the Facebook of the corporate world. A lot of large companies block Facebook from their workplace, so their workers turn to LinkedIn. You can link to blog posts and interesting articles and do status updates on LinkedIn. Depending on your product and strategy, you could get some decent coverage there.
21. Create a system for tracking everything
To keep things moving after your business launch, you need to have a main hub where you track the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. There’s no point in putting more time and effort into Facebook marketing when most of your sales are coming through Instagram. Use bit.ly links or tracking pixels to track where your sales are coming from and push those areas more.
22. Put together a press kit
It doesn’t have to be super fancy, just a few paragraphs about your product or service and some decent photos. That way, you aren’t left there like a chump when someone asks for your media kit. Like when you go to a business conference, and someone asks for your business card, and you say you don’t have one. It makes you look like you just snuck in off the street to eat the catered lunch.
23. Set up a referral or affiliate program
Everyone loves to earn rewards – so if you can set up a way for existing customers to earn money or credits through pimping your product, do it. Make sure you regularly remind them it’s available so they remember to use it.
24. Reach out to influencers
There are some things that just aren’t as much fun to do on your own, and a business launch is one of them – so why not get a couple of influencers on board?
Most influencers require payment for space on their blogs and socials (which is totally fair enough), but if an influencer loves your product or service, they may be willing to mention you in exchange for a shout-out. Can’t hurt to ask, right?
And if you’re still in the stage before your business launch and you need a professional online presence to get things moving…
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