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Write Your Online Business Plan: Marketing


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National Write a Business Plan Month Series

Write Your Online Business Plan

Marketing

Choosing what kind of website is best for your online business is your first marketing decision. After you’ve chosen what type of website to make you decide how your website will look. Choosing the website type and look is the last step in creating a plan to connect with your audience.

Choose a Website Type

Your online business will be where you connect with your audience to meet their need. Two important factors that impact what type of website you create is your goal and the goal of your ideal website visitor. Each website type focuses on a different aspect of online communication.These are the four basic website types for you to choose from:

  • Traditional descriptive website
    • Traditional descriptive websites share information about your company, list your products and services, and offer contact information for the customer to connect with you.
  • Forum based website
    • Forums offer a common area for people interested in a common topic to communicate with each other.
  • eCommerce website
    • eCommerce websites are online catalogs created to sell products in volume
  • Blog
    • Blogs provide regularly updated content in written, audio, or video format

 

Design Your Website

Your website’s design says a lot about your company. Colors you choose convey your brand’s personality. Bright, bold colors are traditionally associated with risk-taking, creativity, and fun. Matte, black and white, or neutral tones are considered conservative and formal.  

Your navigation style is another indicator of your brand’s personality. Accessibility should be the first consideration when choosing a theme or template. Hidden navigation is popular among creatives, artists, and musicians. Many one page websites have hidden navigation. Blogs, magazines, and other content-rich sites as well use both horizontal and vertical menus. Most forums and community-based sites use horizontal menus. Helping your user reach the information they want as quickly, and simply as possible is the purpose of your navigation menu.

Connect With Your Audience

If you build it well and tell them where to find it, “they” will come. “They” are your website’s ideal visitors. With your website type, and design elements complete you can focus on connecting with your potential clients. Who is the ideal website visitor for your online business? Where is the ideal website visitor for your online business? How will you connect with your ideal website visitor?

Who Will You Attract to Your Website?

Learn everything you can about your audience. Here are important questions you should be able to answer about your audience:

  • What do they do?
  • Why do they do what they do?
  • When will they be looking for your online business?
  • How do they expect your website to benefit them?

Where is Your Audience?

When your ideal website visitor is looking for your website, where are they? This will be impacted by what they’re doing when they’re looking for your type of online business. When they need the services or products you offer are they at home, work or somewhere else? Is your audience looking for you offline?

Some places you can meet your ideal website visitor offline:

  • Speaking engagements
  • Library
  • Community events
  • Social gatherings

How Will You Connect With Your Ideal Website Visitor?

Website visitors find your online business by referral in many instances. Word of mouth is still the best way to be introduced to someone new. Social media platforms, webinars, and forums have created virtual “neighborhoods” where being part of the conversation spreads the word about your online business. Public relations campaigns using free press release service websites are also helpful, especially for local and regional online businesses.

 

Marketing is all about promoting your products and services. Choosing the best website type is the first step to successfully promoting your online business. Selecting the right colors and menu for your website promotes the personality and brand for your online business.

Learn about your ideal website visitor. Find them online and offline. Create a plan for reaching out to your ideal website visitor. Find free and affordable ways to let them know how your online business will help them.

December, National Write a Business Plan Month,  is the perfect month to plan your online business.

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