It has been quite for a while on our website and, as such, we felt it was about time to publish a new blog. And this blog is an interesting one as we believe it will be beneficial for a lot of people (thinking about) starting their own business. We found Marcel, founder and owner of Messcherp Marketing (an online marketing company) so kind to share with you two blogs describing tips and tricks with regard to online marketing, on the back of our own DR.W. case.

“Combine some clever minds and their passion for watches, an out of the box concept and some serious entrepreneurial drive. Two good friends, both crazy about watches, found a new niche within the watch industry. They found a certain need within this niche and created a new concept, a watch with an unique feature. After some brainstorming and work, a business model and new brand was born: DR.W. But then what!? How will you use online marketing to make the best out of your company?

Online marketing strategy – the start

Starting your own company isn’t that difficult. You will go to the chamber of commerce, subscribe your business and that’s it. However, that is only the beginning. After this you will have to think about how to position your product and how to differentiate from competitors. And what about marketing? Via which channels? And last but not least, where will you start? To assist these nice gentleman from DR.W. with their marketing plan, I decided to share my marketing expertise and drop by one evening. The result is an inspiring night where they became enthusiastic about the possibilities of online marketing for DR.W. while I became even more enthusiastic about their DR.W. watch.

In the next two blogs I will present an overview of my initial advice and with what kind of first steps they followed up with. The 7 steps that will be presented here might be useful for you as well in case you have just started your own company or are about to do this.

Step 1: start a website
This is not so much an advice from my side but more an obvious requirement these days: every company needs a website. But the question is in which way to organize such a website and which marketing possibilities you have with your website.

First of all building the website. If you neither have experience with building a website nor budget to hire someone, no worries! There are plenty of freely available ways to build a website. The most well know are: Joomla!, Drupal and WordPress. I prefer WordPress as you will be able to have your website online in no-time by selecting one of the standard templates. Also, WordPress has numerous plugins that can be installed in order to expand the functionalities of your website. These plugins include ways to keep track of visitor statistics, attach a webshop to your website and connect with social media.

Secondly the set-up of the website. There is this ‘five seconds rule’ for websites implying that within five seconds it should be clear to visitors who you are, what you do/offer and what he or she can do on your website. If the visitor cannot succeed in understanding this within five second it will lose attention and move on. In addition, it’s important to keep your website as plain as possible and make clear what it is that you want the visitor to do. “Consumers like optionality but do not want to feel they should choose”. You have to help them with this. If you want the visitor to click to a certain part of the website, please make this clear somehow. You want them to go to your webshop after watching the sales pitch? Add a button with “Go to webshop” for example.

Lastly the strategy. What I advise companies, is to use their website as the center of their marketing strategy. This means that all marketing channels should direct to the website: add your URL to posters or flyers and link your social media to your website. In case of certain promotions or in case people can win something, always have these people participate via your website. On your website you explain who you are, what service or product you offer, how people can subscribe themselves for your newsletter and how they can get in touch with you. So make sure people will be directed to your website. By installing a simple piece of code on your website you can define website visitors and usethis information to target specific group of visitors with advertisement on social media. Both LinkedIn and Facebook offer this possibility (please refer to step 5 in the second blog).

Step 2: Create a Facebook page
So you have a new brand but this is unknown at this stage and you want to generate some brand awareness in short period of time, what should your strategy be? Yes, social media! This might seem obvious but which social media will you use? This depends on a number of criteria: what kind of product or service do you offer, what is your target audience and what is your budget. For DR.W. Facebook appeared the most optimal platform. It’s not only the most popular among the different options (10,4 million unique visitors of which 7,5 million use it on a daily basis in The Netherlands) after Whatsapp. It also offers a wide range of advertisement possibilities for each company. It is possible to target a very specific group of people by means of the extensive set of targeting options. One can select based on more standard criteria (age, gender nationality, city) but also based on more specific criteria (education, study, job title, date of graduation and interests). In addition, costs for advertisement are relatively low on Facebook which is important for start-up companies with limited resources available.

Step 3: Create an Instagram account
When you think of watches, you’ll think of fashion and lifestyle. Fashion and lifestyle address a certain feeling, an emotion. Feelings and emotions are best transferred through images. That’s why it is important for DR.W. to have an Instagram account besides their Facebook account. They can post cool pictures that appeal to their brand and target audience. The big advantage of Instagram it is possible to connect it to Facebook. Whenever you post a picture on Instagram, there is an option to automatically post it on Facebook too. The other way around, it is possible to also show your Facebook ads on Instagram which is very practical for cross-media advertisement campaigns.

Step 4: Making a content calendar
Ok, so we got all the social media up and running and now what? What are we going to post there, how often are we going to do this and what do we want to achieve with it? These are questions a lot of start-ups are dealing with. Therefore it is important to first of all determine what you want to achieve with your presence on social media. Do you want to inform people about your product/service, do you just want to sell, or do you simply want to entertain people? It is all possible, however it is important to determine upfront what your goal is. Based on this goal you decide what to post and which tone-of-voice you are going to use. Subsequently, it is practical to define several themes. These themes are recurring and helping in creating your posts. For a watch brand you could think of the following themes: ‘watches and fashion’, ‘history of watches’, and ‘own products’. Finally, it is advisable to make a content calendar. In this calendar you decide what you will post via which channel, on which day and time. The beautiful thing about a content calendar is that you can integrate all your channels in one place. That implies everything from social media to e-mail and from blog to press release. By using a content calendar you avoid the moments where you have to make up last-minute content. It is an easy way to work upfront leaving enough time for your other activities.”

More next week
Did you think this was an interesting article and do you want to know what the other steps towards a successful online marketing strategy are? Then keep a close eye on our website and social media. Next week part 2 of this article will be posted! In the meantime you can always take a look at the website en Facebook page of Messcherp Marketing!

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