This post is one of a series I am offering to coaches that are new to entrepreneurship and are setting up an online business for the first time.
5 Starting Tools for an Online Business
- Create a website
- Create business cards, stationary
- Decide what advertising materials you need
- Create a digital marketing strategy
- Start Networking
First step: Create a Website
There is a lot of information on the internet about this topic. I would decide first if you really need a website. See my post “7 Reasons Why You Need a Website” (insert link here)
Creating your own website is something that can be time and energy intensive so it’s good to decide if you want to take that on or outsource it. You have the option to have someone else create and manage it for you if you can afford that in your budget.
Next step: Create Business Cards and Stationary
There’s a story floating around out there about a famous business owner who wrote personal notes to everyone he met. And yes, over the course of decades it became thousands of notes he wrote. Having an easy way for people to reach you is a good idea, and business cards are cheap and easy to make. Also having some type of notepad with your logo and business name, along with note cards and stationary will bring a look of professionalism to your business. Order a return mail stamp with your business name and address for finesse!
3rd Step: Decide What Advertising Materials are Needed for Immediate Use
Companies like Vistaprint.com and Staples.com offer reasonable prices with templates and print options. Canva.com is also very popular right now and offers a variety of services. It’s easy to hand out business cards, post cards or flyers at business networking events. For industry fairs, you may need a poster board, marketing materials and promotional items to entice potential customers to your table.
Tip: If you get a chance to attend an industry event – fair, convention, speaker series, see if you can be a sponsor and host a table at the event to advertise your services. Create a package of services, create flyers and put them on your table. People like things that are free, so gifts are good. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. They also like to know what you do and what their buying options are. Get the pitch down you are going to use. PayPal has options where customers can purchase from you right on the spot with a swipe of a credit card so plan to have sales and get the equipment to take payments. Also start a mailing list. It’s a way to draw people into you sales funnel. I use raffles and people love to sign-up for those!
Next Step: Create Your Own Digital Marketing Strategy
“At a high level, digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps.”
How will you advertise your product and services? Online advertising? Regular mail? Cold calling? Networking? Word of mouth?
There are lots of ways online to advertise your business: SEO, social media platforms, ads on websites or e-zines, guest blogging for others, interviews, videos, and affiliate marketing, just to name a few.
Any digital campaigns you create will be based on your target market, how big a campaign you want to create and how long you want to run it for. Budget should be a factor because advertising can become costly. Industry experts say it’s much more effective to offer speaking engagements and attend networking to actually capture the client that will make a purchase.
Tip: Regarding Social Media platforms: experts recommend picking a few strategies and trying them out. In other words, don’t try to learn it all or cover all media platforms. And they recommend to not throw a bunch of money at it to start. This is an area than can easily become a money pit. It’s better to pick a 1-2 platforms to start, advertise and connect there with people. This is part of the process that takes time – time to learn and time to implement. See how your competition maneuvers on social media. As your business grows you can always add platforms and automation later.
Last step: Start Networking!
Get out and meet people, join forums, networking groups, join speaker series, anything that will put you in front of potential clients. Networking also gives you a chance to create a mailing list, necessary to building long term client prospects. It is also a way to keep people informed about what you are doing on a regularly basis.
Tip: Go where your customers are, not where other coaches hang out.
Your affirmation checklist:
I have products and services that clients need and want.
I have a great marketing strategy!
Lots of clients are coming my way!
Recommendation: If you find, after reading this, that you are stuck or just frustrated with your idea, or don’t’ know how to get started, you might want to think about hiring a Life Coach. I know, it’s yet another thing that costs money, but I’ll share something with you – surprisingly I have found it to be the one thing that has been invaluable in building the foundation and success of my business. My personal coaching is what has made my business successful. As a coach, I have worked with many coaches to either them turn their idea into a viable business or help them launch their business. I can offer you a working relationship where you gain insight, accountability and a can develop your own strategies to build your business. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, even for a short time. You are your business!
- In case you missed any of the posts in this Entrepreneurship for Coaches series, here they are:
- Part 1: Visualize Your Dream Business
- Part 2: The Importance of Goal Setting
- Part 3: Deciding What You Need
- Part 4: Keep Coaching Clients!
- Part 5: Creating Your Business Plan
- Part 6: Set-up a System to Manage the Financial Aspects of Your Business
- Part 7: 5 Starting Tools for an Online Business
- Part 8: 10 Ways to Build Your Online Business
Building a Website for Dummies by David A. Crowder.