Critical Steps in Marketing Your Business Online

Outlined below are some critical steps that need to be taken if you hope to achieve any amount of success with your online business. You wouldn’t set up a store front in a busy downtown area without first taking these steps and expect to survive. Don’t do it online.

  1. Market definitions: Who is your customer and what are their needs?
    • Define segments: Are you trying to reach homeowners with a mortgage of 100K or more? Are you trying to reach high school teens who are beginning to learn about responsible financial management? Get specific.
    • Web research, surveys, and focus groups: Talk to your customers. Learn from your customers. Your existing customers can tell you what you need to know in order to attract new customers.

  2. Core competencies: What can your business provide that serves customers’ needs? Always shoot for satisfying a need. If people perceive that they don’t need your product or service, they won’t buy it.
  3. Market segment selection: Based on market definition, segmentation, and core competencies, select the segments to serve. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Target those customers who will be buying customers.
  4. Competitive analysis: What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of the competitors as they apply to the target segments? As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Know the market place. Keep tabs on what your competition is up to. And don’t be afraid to recommend one of your competitors if you don’t have something that a visitor to your site needs. Your customer will appreciate your honesty and remember your name when they speak to friends and family. Also, your competitor will appreciate it and may return the favor.
  5. What are your company’s strengths and weaknesses?: Do a thorough and honest analysis of your business. What do you excel in? Customer service? Huge selection? On the flip-side, where do you fall short? Having trouble keeping certain items in stock due to unavailability? Refer back to the first step where you “listen” to your customers. If you take time to ascertain your strengths and weakness, you’ll find that you can greatly improve your customers experience and increase conversions.
  6. Positioning: How can your company exploit the competitor’s weaknesses, downplay the competitors’ strengths, and present its own weakness in a light so that they are strengths?

If you’re having trouble answering some of these questions then get some help. Trying to run a business without first taking these steps will be disastrous; and worse, you won’t even know why you failed.


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