Taking the leap and starting a new business can be a very unnerving prospect.

Even for someone with extensive experience in the corporate sector, making the move into small business ownership can be a daunting and unfamiliar one. An important part of establishing a new business is creating a recognisable and credible digital platform. Digital literacy is an area which is lacking within the workplace, with over 80 per cent of businesswomen in agreement that they required more digital knowledge.

This makes it difficult for those setting up businesses for the first time to get their online profiles working optimally, especially as the advice out there can be unnecessarily complex for beginners.

To begin demystifying the digital landscape, here are some common but easily avoidable mistakes that new businesses often make when creating a digital presence and how to rectify them.

Poor planning

Starting a new business is exciting stuff, but this often means entrepreneurs rush headfirst into getting their business out there without the proper planning. Planning should be the first stage in the creation of a digital strategy as without it, the brand risks being unrecognisable, unclear and at worst, misleading. In the digital world you have a matter of seconds to make an impact, so first impressions really do count.

In order to address this, take some time to really plan the customer journey and to understand exactly what they need when seeking out your products or services. Making sure that you view your website from their perspective will help to identify any sticky points that need improving.

“The digital world should embraced, not feared!”

Branding is also crucial and will lead the way in terms of how quickly you will be recognised in the future. Decide on a logo and perhaps just a couple of variations depending on background and orientation and make sure your colours and images complement your overall brand tone.

Out-of-date content

When creating an online presence, it may seem obvious to suggest that new businesses need to prioritise their website.

But there is a big difference between creation and maintenance! Often a new business will quickly create a website but then neglect to update and improve this platform once it has gone live.

This is a success-hindering mistake because the information on most sites goes quickly out-of-date.  If the business changes its services, prices or even its employees, it can affect how a potential customer perceives the business. Not knowing exactly where they stand because information is outdated or irrelevant is a common reason why people simply bounce off a site and onto that of a competitor.

Keep your website up-to-date

Attempting too much

When establishing a new business, owners want to give their business the best possible chance of success.

Entrepreneurs can interpret this as making a website and a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and well, the list goes on!

However, spreading yourself too thinly is far more detrimental to your brand than choosing a few preferred platforms, at least initially. Ideally, a new brand should target the social media platforms which most align with their target audience first.

It is important to consider what kind of content, videos, images, articles, would be most likely to engage your audience before you begin posting to ensure you gain the optimum result. After these have been mastered, secondary channels can be added to help boost reach and visibility.

Ignoring innovation

Innovation is a key aspect of the digital sector and this means that it is constantly evolving and adapting.

What’s more, digital marketing strategies can often be implemented at a fraction of the cost of other methods. Despite this, many still shy away from the latest technologies and digital approaches out of fear of the unknown, but this could risk making a brand appear dated and alienate potential customers.

However, there is also a risk of adopting a ‘me too’ approach which leads you to utilise tools, techniques and platforms which are not needed and add no value to your customers. It is therefore always advisable to assess the impact and benefits of any new ideas before you implement them.

Not keeping updated

New rules and regulations also mean that what was once the best digital strategy could now result in your site being penalised. One of the key mistakes made by entrepreneurs who rely on their digital footprint is to avoid staying up-to-date with the latest news and developments that affect their business.

The simple remedy for this is to sign up to a couple of trusted resources and read their articles, tips and newsletters. Setting up Google Alerts for digital marketing news is one simple, but effective way to help you to stay ahead of the competition. Knowledge really is power, so keeping yourself aware of potential risks is the best way to avoid landing yourself in hot water.

By avoiding these common pitfalls and implementing the simple actions mentioned within this article, any new business can begin to create an efficient digital platform. The digital world should embraced, not feared!

Carol Mann is the founder of Women on the Web.

Source link