The online arena is not what you’d call a law-abiding venue, thanks to relative anonymity. In fact, there are those who refer to it as the Wild West. And the truth is that laws have yet to catch up with the technology, although slowly but surely, cases of cyberbullying and fraudulent social profiles (i.e. libel) are starting to see the inside of real-world courtrooms. That said, you can get away with a lot when it comes to internet marketing campaigns. And as an entrepreneur with a startup, you might find this prospect thrilling. But if you want to operate a reputable business both online and off, it’s really in your best interest to adhere to the guidelines for appropriate behavior when it comes to marketing in general, even if it is in the online arena. Here are a few best practices that the average startup should adhere to.
The main thing to remember with any type of advertising is that you cannot tell an outright lie. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has laws in place to protect consumers from fraudulent practices in advertising, and this means you cannot mislead the public, knowingly or otherwise, without facing penalty. You cannot be deceptive and you cannot engage in unfair practices. And this includes online marketing. So tell the truth about your products or services or risk the wrath of the FTC, not to mention a disgruntled consumer public. Even aside from legal ramifications, you need to consider that shady marketing schemes can seriously damage your credibility.
In terms of best practices, however, you also need to consider how and where you advertise. The “how” centers on the content you create and the marketing campaigns you plan. You can certainly garner attention with outrageous or inflammatory material, but flash-in-the-pan notoriety may not deliver the longevity you seek. Instead, focus on campaigns that resonate with viewers on a personal or emotional level (through humor, compassion, etc.) and inspire them to share content. This type of marketing stays with an audience far longer than a cheap punch line, just for example.
And don’t assume that you need to give up quantity in order to achieve quality. With a little imagination you can tailor campaigns to hit multiple platforms, including text-based options like blogs, forums, and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, as well as visual alternatives like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Of course, this can be a lot to manage when you’re already stretched pretty thin with the demands of managing your startup.
So just like you might seek out experts in SEO resources to optimize your website and blog, it’s not a bad idea to consider hiring vendors that offer internet marketing for startups. You’ll want to find a service provider that is experienced, reputable, and affordable. It’s a pretty tall order, but with some legwork you should be able to get a professional that can meet your many needs. And since online marketing is critical to increasing brand awareness, expanding an online presence, and attaining success with your startup, it’s worth seeking out help to ensure that you understand and abide by best practices when it comes to internet marketing.