Last week Lauren addressed the all important issue of finding your business niche. This week Lauren returns and highlights how to attract that niche, google and good PR!
"Start-up diary week 7"
As I’m an internet based business, the biggest challenge I have to get my business up and running is to get customers visiting my website (or traffic, to use the more internet-y term, but I don’t like that term. To me, ‘customers’ is more appropriate). However, I’ve decided to invest minimal time and money in the normal SEO work you’d expect with a start-up. Here I explain why.
The benefit of being on the first page of a Google search result is obvious. Relevant, targeted customers will visit your website. However, there is no shortcut to achieving this and there is no easy way of ranking that highly. Some companies may choose an aggressive strategy but it costs a lot of money. Try and do it cheaper (e.g. bulk buying backlinks) and Google is likely to look on that unfavourably.
However, Google is not the only method that customers are using to find what they are looking for on the web. Customers are interested in recommendations from friends, peers and respected authorities. So for me, good PR for my site is a much better investment.
How do you get good PR? Well, you could get lucky. Sara Blakeley, the founder of Spanx, got perhaps the luckiest break any business could. Oprah called her and told her she was endorsing her products. How about that for good fortune? However, I don’t think you can rely on this sort of luck. You need to start small. That is certainly my approach anyway.
I spoke last week about how I’d narrowed down my target market to new mums and baby showers. From all my research into this group, what I’ve discovered is that there is a wonderful, tight knit group of mum bloggers out there. There are some fantastic, funny and entertaining blogs written from the point of view of new mum to other mums, they are part of blogging networks and active on social networks like Twitter. They often do product reviews, and it is this group that I’m looking at investing my time and my marketing budget. These bloggers individually may draw in a small audience but that audience is very specific and perfectly fits my demographic. In starting small, what I’m aiming to do is to use my marketing budget intelligently and see how far I can stretch those pounds and pennies by focusing as closely as I can on promoting my business to my target customer. It makes far more sense to me to do this than, for example, to pay for hundreds of backlinks on websites which are irrelevant to my customers.
Of course, I’m not ignoring Google. That would be foolish. But this approach will allow me to slowly build up the word on Giftizzi to a relevant audience (organic growth, to use the fashionable term), and that is exactly what Google likes and rewards well.