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Conquering the Digital Landscape

by Stepas Parulis

Google Adwords - a valuable tool.

It is hard to imagine a modern tea business without at least a simple website, serving as a digital "storefront" to attract and inform customers. However, your online presence and marketing can and should go far beyond this initial phase at a time when people spend an increasing amount of time browsing, shopping and sharing information online. Whatever the nature of your business, there is a variety of digital tools to help promote your enterprise and gain awareness amongst the digital masses.

Probably the most important medium to consider would be the search giant Google, where most of online browsing and shopping sprees start. It is by far the largest search platform with roughly 70% of the US market share. There are two ways to be seen on Google: by appearing in unpaid search listings or advertising through its AdWords search marketing service. The former method relies on a complex algorithm designed to sort websites in terms of their popularity and relevance. Needless to say that it is very difficult to influence and control. The latter option is much more dynamic. Advertising using Google AdWords can indeed be an interesting option to raise awareness about your business and attract customers who are actually looking for a product or service that you offer.

The beauty of AdWords is that it is an extremely transparent tool, both in terms of costs and results. You can create your own text ads and bid on keywords that are relevant to your business. The conversions, whether your aim is to increase website traffic or sales, can be easily tracked. Furthermore, it is important to note that ads can be displayed to queries originating from a specific geographical region. Say you operate a tearoom somewhere in Maine; your goal is to attract customers located in that area, not from California or Montana. AdWords lets you accomplish that, as well as to tweak many other variables to optimize how your ads are served.

If you are aiming to build a deeper bond with your customers and create a word-of-mouse effect for your business, look no further than the social networking juggernaut Facebook and its 500 million users worldwide. Creating a fan page enables you to stay in touch with your customers and to establish a presence on a platform that is all about sharing and interacting. The more ways you find of encouraging this, the more relevant you become. Facebook is also a great way to keep your fans updated on latest developments in your daily operations and to spread news of any special offers or promotions. Do your part and you can expect tons of valuable feedback from people who actually care about you!

Finally, do not hesitate to populate other online destinations in your business world. List your company on TeaMap and other online tea directories to attract traffic. Also, make sure you reach out to bloggers that cover products or services that you sell. A review from a knowledgeable writer may be worth more than you can expect. Or why not prepare a simple periodical newsletter sent out to your customers to keep them updated on latest developments? These steps and their results may seem intangible in the beginning, but once you put all the pieces together, you will find that your business is better geared to compete in the 21st century marketplace.