The internet connects us with people all around the world. Websites are much more affordable and user-friendly than they used to be. Social media provides us with a way to spread our message and communicate with people in near real-time. And blogging is as straight-forward as typing up an email and clicking “Send”.
So if you’re going to start a business and employ all these online marketing tools just mentioned, you’ll begin to see results of all these efforts almost immediately, right?
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If you build it, they will come…eventually.
But only after a considerable period of time, and where a consistent effort is being put forth.
Numbers aren’t everything, but a social media base of 75 Twitter followers and 42 Facebook fans isn’t going to help you much. Same goes for your first dozen or so blog posts. Your website can be the latest and greatest in web development, but the simple fact is that even the internet takes time.
Plus, relationships take time. Networking, too.
You need to build up your social media base before you can hope others will share your blog posts and click through to read them. You need to spend dedicated time on your SEO (and allow adequate time for indexing) before you will be found via Google searches. You need to have some clients or customers you’ve helped before you will start to receive business referrals.
When Kristin and I founded Eli | Rose, we both had been in the online and social spaces for a couple years. We had already learned the social media & blogging ropes, and had successfully created networks of relationships. Undoubtedly, our previous histories meant we weren’t starting from scratch even though we were building a new brand. And even with that I will say that our business, client base, brand’s social media presence and blogging archives back then looked nothing like they do today.
The parallels to the offline world ring true in this case as well. While the internet and social media make communication between 2 people much, much faster, building a business still works the offline, old school way.
At what point did you start seeing your online efforts begin to pay off for your business?
*Photo credit Adam Pieniazek
Well I’m currently working on starting my own business and am hoping that the work I’ve put into social media over the past few years will prove helpful. Now I need to work on being more consistent. Meanwhile Rob is trying to get himself off the ground with his web design biz and I remember the early days of frustration at trying to drum up a few Twitter followers or blog readers…
Wow! Two of you with new online businesses! Fingers crossed and best wishes to you both!
Solid! “Life is a marathon, not a sprint” rings true in real life, as well as digital.
Totally! There seems to be this notion that just because the internet makes this faster and easier that it can be magic for building a business, too. But building a brand still takes a lot of time, smart decisions and consistent effort.
I’m kicking around the idea of an online boutique that sells nail polish, accessories, etc. (yeah, Amanda, you and everybody else) but I know that if I start, there has to be more than just Tweeting a link occasionally. I think that too many people think they can just open an online shop or drop a few affiliate links in and make money. Nope.
Exactly! I get that the start-up costs of an online biz are a fraction of what it would take to start a brick & mortar store (plus, a much smaller financial risk if it doesn’t take off), but you still have to build your business the old fashioned way.