When starting an online business, it’s vital to raise awareness of your website and the service and/or products you offer. In an ideal world, you will build an online community.

Connecting with your customers when starting an online business

Your website

Your website will almost invariably be the very first step you take in your online business. The features you choose for your website when you’re building it will depend on how much you use your site to grow your community. The main focus will be on creating inviting web pages to showcase your products and services to their fullest.

There are options you can add to your website such as online chat, a blog with comment functionality and customer review plug-in, for example. These features will facilitate a two-way conversation between your business and your customers. Your website will ultimately become the central hub when starting an online business regardless as to the functionality you choose.

Blogging

Blogs are ideal for building awareness of a company without being overly salesy. You could choose to add a blog to your website or create blogs on third-party websites that link to your website. Blogging allows you to display your personality by adding a human aspect to your business, as well as demonstrating your expertise within your chosen industry. Adding a comments section to your blog allows your customers to interact with your content and to feel that there’s a connection between your business and them.

If you’re looking for more information, have a read of our blog around the benefits of blogging.

Social media

Social media is an integral part of marketing your online business. Regularly updating content on your business social media pages can help to build an online community around your business. You can build conversations, giving your brand personality. Social media also offers a platform by which you can provide customer services; you are able to provide answers to product or service enquiries with ease. Tools such as Facebook Messenger’s bot can even provide answers for you when you are not available to give them.

For more information, check out our social media strategy ideas.

Online paid advertising

For a price, you can build adverts online, through search engines, websites and social media, for example, creating adverts that link to your website. Adverts are usually charged per click or by the number of times they are seen by an audience (impression). Paid advertising can be targeted to many different audiences, such as those who are interested in your industry and industries that are similar to yours. You can also target adverts to those based in specific locations and or certain demographics, for example.

There is a wide selection of free marketing tools, supporting various aspects of the marketer’s role and giving you the opportunity to try different offerings without risk.

Email marketing

You can create email marketing campaigns with ease, and minimal experience. You could build seasonal campaigns or reward loyalty by offering discounts to existing customers through targeted email campaigns. Another option would be to create a newsletter that could be emailed to your contact list, keeping them updated with new products or services or with changes and updates within your industry.

All of these methods are ideal for connecting with people online when starting an online business and as an ongoing means by which to attracting and retain customers.