Your digital footprint could be the difference between success and failure. These days, a business’ online presence is as important — if not more — than its presence on the street. So why would you compromise your company’s integrity by making avoidable mistakes? Here are a few examples of things that can prevent you from making your business successful.
1. You fail to have a vision for your brand.
Feeling confident about your entrepreneurial skills? Think you have the product of the year? Think again. You need to have the product of the century; at least that is the attitude that you should adopt. Don’t enter the market half-heartedly. Instead, be confident and bold about where you want to take your business in the years to come.
2. You fail to choose a unique brand name.
You need a truly unique brand to match your ambitious projections. Be sure to research the market so that you are certain no one else already has your brand name, and check that a suitable .com domain is available. As you can see from this infographic about famous domains — even the biggest companies can make the mistake of not having enough market research for unique brand name.
One of the reasons I picked the brand name Taco for my marketing agency was because it was trendy and unique. I knew that most businesses, especially marketing agencies, had weird acronyms or bland names. Having something unique would get people interested.
3. You fail to get help with your website.
You may be good when it comes to technology, but do you really have time to learn the ins and outs of website building, SEO, etc.? Remember that your main priority is getting the business off the ground, and spending your time sitting in front of a screen is not the best way to drive your vision forward. Leave the technicalities to the experts, and focus on managing the business.
4. You fail to have a backup plan.
It is very common for people, even business owners, to undervalue their data. “It won’t happen to me,” you may think. Though you may be able to avoid a fire or a flood, what about a Trojan that remotely infects your files one by one until you can no longer access your data? You are more vulnerable than you think — even huge international companies have their own mishaps — so always have a backup solution in place for these inevitable situations.
5. You fail to send out a clear message.
Though you may be active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, one of the worst things you can do to your brand is to send mixed messages about the business’ ethos and affiliations. You should not “like” comments or pages because you think it will make your brand name more visible. You should think about and plan your every move. A designated marketing manager is also a great way to keep your online presence on track.
6. You fail to Google yourself.
Have you tried Googling yourself recently? Well, you should! It is common knowledge that the majority of people will use Google as their primary search engine and will type in your brand name in order to find out more about your company. By keeping on top of the highest search result hits, you can be one step ahead, and ensure that there is no embarrassing or incorrect content connected to your brand name.
7. You fail to proofread your copy.
Don’t underestimate the importance of proofreading everything before you publish it. And don’t think that is up to the web developer to pick up on errors. It is vital that you eliminate all typos and grammatical errors so that your text is readable and free-flowing. Not only does is it look sloppy if your website and social media posts are littered with errors, it reflects badly on the integrity of your brand too. You can improve your grammar by using a range of easily-accessible online tools and grammar guides.
8. You fail to mention others.
You now have all of your social media accounts set up and have been tweeting all week about your business — what you do, where you operate and what special deals you have. Rein it in there. The purpose of social media is to network with others and should not be used to introduce your product or services. Try communicating with suppliers or other business in your field to build a friendly and supportive community.
9. You fail to mention what you do.
On the flipside, you should not assume that everyone knows what your company does, especially if you have a unique name that doesn’t explicitly describe the trade or nature of the business. It is important that you let your followers know what it is that you can do for them. Instead of being blunt, why not engage with your audience by saying, “Did you know that we specialize in…” Be sure to tell them what makes you stand out from other similar businesses.
10. You fail to delete dead domains.
While you were finalizing your brand name and debating between a .com, .eu and .biz, you inadvertently set up two or three domain names that you now need to maintain. Don’t make the mistake of selecting one primary address and leaving the others as dead links, as this will leave prospective clients confused and potentially infuriated. Ensure you delete traces of irrelevant links or make them forward automatically to the correct domain address. Did you know that you can sell a domain back to some providers? It’s worth looking into if you’re certain you won’t need the address in future.
11. You fail to join in the conversation.
Finally, don’t shy away from online conversations. Feel free to display how you feel about certain subjects, and let people see your personality shine through. Clients love the personal touch and like to see who is behind a company. How else did Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, become so well-known throughout the world? Interacting with others and engaging in discussions is also a brilliant way to promote your business without seeming pushy.
You may have noticed that all of the above are examples of entrepreneurs failing to do something. As the saying goes, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” This phrase could not be more apt, particularly in the modern era that we live in. Our actions have so many long-lasting repercussions.
Any data we upload to the internet becomes a footprint, a piece of evidence that identifies you and your brand. However, unlike a real footprint that will eventually wash away, digital data cannot be completely erased. It is vital that you plan every move in order to bring your business the success it deserves.
Originally published October 17, 2016 by Chirag Kulkarni, Entrepreneur.com