If you have decided to set up your own business you may be feeling excited about the idea but also a little bit anxious as you try to plan for your set up costs and try to come to a conclusion about the most effective way to promote your business. The cost of marketing a business can be expensive as you try to make your business known but it is crucial to the success of your company that you promote your business in as many ways as possible.

A good place to start is to carry out market research to find out the most effective way to attract your clients as this can vary according to the services and products that your business is offering.

For instance if you are running a business that is online based such as an online retail store then it is essential that you have an online presence of some sort either a website or a social media business page alternatively, if your business is one that caters mainly for customers in your locality such as a hairdresser it may not be necessary to outlay money on online marketing. So careful thought needs to be given to the marketing strategy that is suitable for your particular business.

Advertising is an important part of any business and effective marketing is essential for success.  Businesses need to have a web presence either in the form of a website or on social media platforms ideally on both. The cost of paying a professional web designer is out of some small company’s reach so deciding to design and build their own website is becoming a popular option.

Online there are a vast selection of tutorials which help the inexperienced designer, so it is certainly worthwhile spending time before you begin collecting ideas and learning the basics. Researching examples of websites that impress you to get an idea of how you want your site to look is a useful strategy and allows you to compare themes.

If you feel ready to begin your design but are unsure how to begin online templates can be used to get you started. They can be customised to your business with your company name and logo. The next step is to upload your content including photographs and text. SEO tools can be built in to enable your site to be visible when potential clients search online for your company.

Don’t forget to keep your website up to date as this is essential for good customer relations.

Despite online marketing being around for a good number of years now, there are stills some companies that have yet to really get to grips with it. For businesses who are not yet actively marketing online, they could be missing out on a huge amount of revenue.

For many companies, the first thing they do when it comes to online marketing is have a website created. This can be used as a portfolio to showcase your products and services or an e-commerce site to sell online. If you are a little worried about ploughing that much money straight in to web development then you may want to explore the social media marketing platform first. You can advertise on here in several ways and do not need a website.

Setting up an account on the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be a great way to communicate with people regardless of their location. Make sure that you update your profile regularly to ensure that the information is up to date and post content that is useful and interesting for your followers to read.  Be careful to get the balance right though as too many updates in a short space of time can become annoying and be seen as spamming, which will lose followers.

When it comes to online marketing it is important to understand the different types of visitors you can have. This will allow you to see what marketing avenues are working and which are not.

In internet marketing you may have heard the term traffic sources, this relates to how a visitor has come to find your website. There are many different forms of traffic but the main ones are referrals, direct, organic and paid for. Below is a quick overview of what they all mean:

Organic – An organic visit is counted when someone finds you via one of the search engine search results such as Bing, Google or Yahoo.

Referrals – this is the number of visits to your website that have come through another site. This may be a link that you have on another site to yours, this may or may not include social visits.

Social – This is referrals from Facebook, Twitter, Linked In for example. These may also be included in the referral figure.

Direct – this is the number of people that have come to your site by typing your address directly in to the address bar. Often these are repeat visitors or ones that have got your address off a business card, signage or maybe by calling you first.

Paid or PPC – Paid for traffic is when someone has clicked on a link and the business gets charged a fee for this.

If you have a website for your business, then it is important for you to be able to easily track the performance of it. This data can be invaluable when it comes to marketing and knowing how and where to spend your budget.

There are many programs that offer statistic tracking the most used on being Google Analytics. Although Google Analytics is very user friendly and free, it is not always the most accurate in terms of real visitors.

Web server stats are usually bolted on to every hosting package, but these are often quite limited in terms of data and sometimes record visits from spiders that crawl your site.  They are also often not very user friendly and only give you very limited information. Ideally you should use several stats packages to try and get a true picture of how your website is performing.

Once you have this data, put aside some time each month to analyse it in detail and find out what marketing avenue is giving you the best return on your investment. If you find for example, that you are investing a lot of money in Google Adwords but hardly getting any qualified traffic then you may want to think about stopping your adverts and investing the money elsewhere.