Online Presence… Where to being?
Launching anything online can be tricky. A personal blog, your newest YouTube video, even staying within the character limit on Twitter is sometimes a challenge. But this isn’t just anything, this is your business! Intimidating, right? Not necessarily. Not if you go in armed with knowledge, confidence, and a solid plan.
Build a Plan
Build a play-by-play plan. That’s step one. Go right back to the beginning and right back to basics.
- Have you done your market research?
- Do you know your target demographics?
- Do you have your Buyer Personas all setup and ready to go?
Make sure your keyword research is optimal, so your customers can search for your business easily. Look (again) at your competitors. Make sure you’re not just a replica of their businesses that will get lost in online chatter. You want to stand out, so you need to fill a hole in the market that your competitors are not.
- What does the lead up to the launch look like?
- What kind of promotional materials are you using?
- Do you have a Marketing Plan in place?
Build a game plan for launch day.
- What should happen?
- What will the site look like?
- How many users should be able to use the site at once?
Stick to it…
Now that you have your plan, make sure you stick to it. Don’t jump from Part A to Part D to Part F, then back to Part B. Don’t neglect one part of it because it’s tedious (spoiler alert: there, unfortunately, are some parts of business ownership that are tedious).
You’ve got your goals in your launch plan set out, you’ve got your goals in your Marketing Plan set out. Tick them off one-by-one and relish in the satisfaction of a slowly filling to-do-list.
But be prepared to work without it
Even the best-laid plans can sometimes go astray. No matter how detailed or comprehensive your plan is, there’s always the possibility that an external force can throw a spanner in the works. And it’s important to be prepared for that. Perhaps your server is having issues, perhaps there was a power outage in your area, any number of things could go wrong. But don’t be alarmed, or pessimistic. Just because they can go wrong, doesn’t mean they will. And if they do? Just make sure you’re prepared.
Find a friend or an office you can go to for the launch if your power goes out. Prepare a statement to put on social media if you’re experiencing ‘technical difficulties’. Examine your plan, and think ‘what if this step goes wrong?’ and then try to plan for it. But also be mindful of the fact that as well thought out and detailed as your plan is… sometimes things are going to happen that means you just need to abandon parts of your plan and roll with the punches.
‘Soft Launches’ and why you should love them
A Soft Launch is a trial launch of your website in a testing environment. The website isn’t live to your customers, but it behaves exactly as it would if it were. This gives you the opportunity to click around your own website, have a friend or editor click through, try and fill in all of the online forms, download all the deliverables, etc. Do everything on the site that your customer may want to do or may accidentally do. It sounds very odd, but… see if you can break it. And it’s okay if you do! If you break it or cause problems in the testing environment, then they can be fixed before your customers ever see the errors.
Running a Soft Launch gives you the chance to fix any mistakes caused by the potential launch of your site. It can help with your planning, giving you the opportunity to work with your testers to see where their eyes are instantly drawn to on the site, and where you might run into issues in your clickthrough marketing.
Social media is one of the key marketing components of any online business launch. If you have a brick and mortar store that’s migrating online, you’ll need your social media accounts to let your customers know. If you are just starting out, you’ll need your social media accounts to bring organic traffic to your site.
- Do you have a Social Media Plan for your launch?
- Have you been promoting your launch on your social media platforms?
This is where cross-promotion is essential. Use your Twitter to promote your Instagram. Use your Facebook to promote your blog. Use your LinkedIn to promote your Twitter. Get your store and your product in front of as many online eyes as possible.
Last but most certainly not least… prepare your product. Make sure you have enough. You’re launching an online business, nothing would be worse than if your customers missed out on your product. Make sure your product or service is ready to go, ready to ship, and 100%. And that’s it! A basic guide for launching your business online. Whether you have a brick and mortar store that’s migrating online, or a completely new business, following these simple steps will help you on your way.
Let us know how you did in the comments!