If I Were Starting My Business Over, This Is Where I Would Start With My Marketing

facebook ads marketing search engine optimisation website traffic Feb 23, 2024
How to market my business online


When starting your new online business, it can be a challenge to know where to begin with your marketing. There are so many shiny objects, but they all cost time and/or money and it’s difficult to know which one is right for you.

After five years in business, and a lot of learning, we thought we’d share where we would prioritise our resources to get the best return on investment because hindsight is a wonderful thing.

For the sake of this blog, assume that we are completely new. That means we have no followers, no email list and no website. 

In case you didn’t know, The Digital Exchange (formerly Miss Marketing) started off as a full-service marketing agency. I (Nicki) left my corporate role as a Marketing Manager for a successful international company to start the business. Offering all marketing services felt fitting at the time given I had the broad knowledge and skillset and was unsure of where I wanted to niche. 

Over-time I discovered what I enjoyed doing the most and what marketing channels got the best results and were clearly in the most demand. That’s when The Digital Exchange was born and we shifted our focus to Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Search Engine Optimisation (ranking in Google free).

It's important to note that marketing for a huge corporation is very different to a small business. In corporate, you generally have a large budget to work with as well as a number of resources available at your fingertips.

Come with me on the journey where I take you through what I would do differently if starting my marketing from scratch.

N.B. Marketing takes time. Without the likes of Kimmy K bragging on your brand, you can’t expect to be known from day one, especially if you have a limited budget (or time).



When first starting out, I had just left my corporate role and wasn’t sure where this business was going to take me so I decided to invest in a $150 branding and logo package on Etsy despite knowing the value of branding as a marketer. It looked very cookie-cutter and amateur, meaning that was the exact audience I was going to attract (and be able to charge for).

Invest in good branding (and a strategic brand designer) first so that you can segment who you want to target, look the part, attract the exact audience you’re going after and charge what you’re (or your products) are worth.



If you’re just starting out, it’s easy to now create your own website using template sites like Shopify, Squarespace or Kajabi (a one stop shop for course creators). These tools make it possible for you to create a website that looks professional, in a simple, cost effective, drop and drag way.

When it comes to copy and imagery, I highly recommend investing in professionals. If you can’t afford a professional copywriter, find a copywriter who has website copy templates that suit what style of business you do e.g., E-commerce vs. Service-based, purchase those and fill in the blanks and if you can afford it, ask them to review and edit the copy.

Professional photography in my opinion is a must whether it’s your products or you. Much like your branding, how you present what you sell is going to attract the same type of audience. If you want to look luxe and charge a premium, make sure your imagery reflects that. Similarly, if you want to attract a health and wellness audience, show that through your imagery.

In our rebrand, we changed our brand to look more fashionably luxe to attract more lifestyle clients into our lineup. Consider the type of audience you would like to attract with your personal or product photos and how to best attract them through your imagery.

Once your website is set-up, it’s time to find ways to drive people to your website or online store.

As you start to get traffic through the doors, be sure to check your website's conversion rate and look for ways to improve it. More on this below.



The best time to set up your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is when you create your website. If you already have your website, don’t fret, this can easily be done after. We just created our new TDE website and did the SEO with the set-up (which I wish I had done with our Miss Marketing website build).

N.B. SEO is all the steps you take on your website and other people’s websites to rank first in Google (and other search engines) when your dream audience searches for your chosen keywords.

Organic Search is the primary source of traffic to a website. It drives 1000% more people to your website than social media. Worth investing in? Every day of the week. That’s why all the big corporations do it, as well as the small businesses that have been around a while and realised how imperative it is.

SEO is the easiest way to drive people to your website, particularly those that are going to take action like buy or book because they are using keywords to search for you. All you need to do is show up. This means they come to you, you don’t have to go out and look for them, advertise to them or pitch to them. Easy right?!

Google has over eight billion searches every year, with 30% of people clicking on the first result. Do your due diligence to rank first and win the traffic (and sales) from those searches. 91% of pages aren’t getting organic search traffic from Google which means there is plenty of opportunity for you to.

The best part about SEO is that it’s free, low maintenance and the work compounds over time unlike nearly every other form of marketing. The longer you have it set-up and running, the more money you can make from it.

It’s important not to wing your SEO because it will generally be a waste of time and effort. If you are interested in getting yours done and would like a little extra support to hold your hand while doing your Search Engine Optimisation, the doors to our signature SEO program SEO Made Easy are opening in a few short weeks. Join our waitlist to get access to our exclusive fast action bonuses.



Sending email campaigns is a great way to keep top of mind and inform your audience about your products or services.

They direct people to your website via links and are therefore an easy and free way (especially when you’re first starting out) to drive traffic to your website as well as sales and bookings and repeat purchases from your audience.

People that sign up for your emails are highly interested in what you offer. We have experienced this first-hand with many of our clients and students starting out being a part of our email list.

We started running emails from day one as I personally knew of their importance from my corporate role. In the first year we were sending emails once a month and now do it weekly. Invest in what you can handle, especially if you’re just starting out without any hired help.

All you need to start is an email list. Run a competition if you’re an ecommerce brand to get subscribers e.g., anyone who subscribes during ‘x’ month will win a $200 voucher to spend at our store. You can also run a discount code pop-up on your website to encourage your website visitors to join your list.

If you’re a service based provider or course creator, you could do a free lead magnet to encourage people to sign up.

Promote these competitions or lead magnets wherever you can free e.g., social media, on your website, Facebook groups or asking others with the right audience to share.

Not sure what to write about? Nurture your audience and build up your know, like and trust factor by offering value. Give away plenty of helpful information but also inform your audience about new products or special offers.

If you’re an ecommerce company, Klaviyo is a great place to start for software. Otherwise we recommend ConvertKit or Active Campaign for service providers or course creators. We personally use Kajabi as it’s a one stop shop for our website and email campaigns and love it.



Set-up the social media accounts where your dream audience hangs out. It is not necessary to overwhelm yourself with signing up to every single platform, just the ones that are going to move the needle.

Data will prove time and time again that social media doesn’t drive traffic to your website (your online marketplace) and you need traffic to grow your sales and revenue. 

It is important to have an online presence so that your audience can search you on their favourite social media platform but I personally don’t recommend investing a huge amount of time here. Go for quality posting over quantity. Use this space as a way to nurture your audience as opposed to trying to grow it. It's more important to grow your traffic and email list (as it's media you own not rent like social media). 

Let me show you why...

On average you need 100 visitors to get two sales or bookings. The 30-60 minutes you spend a day creating content, posting and engaging isn’t going to be the best use of your time.

Not convinced? Once you start posting, check your ‘Insights’ for how many people visit your website. The traffic is often extremely minimal from these platforms. It’s generally not going to be the best investment of your time.

Here is an example of a recent post of mine. Even with an audience of 4000 people, not one has clicked through to my website. This reel took me over an hour to create.



If you don’t have a website traffic strategy in place, download our free Website Traffic + Sales Guide & Planner to determine how much traffic you need to hit your revenue goal for this year and create an action plan to get there. 



When you’re first starting out, it can be really hard to get the right people seeing your brand especially without a budget.

If you have anyone that you know that has been in business for a while or has a decent following that would be willing to do a collaboration with you like an Instagram reel or IG live, reach out to them and ask. Pitch a topic and be sure to show them how it would benefit their audience. 

Another way to get free exposure is to pitch other businesses to be a guest on their blog or podcast to help get word out about what you offer. It's also a great way to showcase your expertise to a new audience especially for a service based business or course creator.

You can also reach out to influencers and offer them product or service in lieu of promotion. Not all will accept a contra deal but it's worth a shot for the exposure. Websites like The Right Fit have both micro and macro influencers that will work under different arrangements.

I personally wish we had done more collaborations when first starting out but we are making up for it now. If the person you’re collaborating with is the right fit, you really can get so much out of it.



We use paid ads in our business, as do so many of our clients and students but only when the time is right.

Once your conversion rate is at 2%, and you’ve had at least 1000 people visit your website, then you can look to start scaling with paid ads e.g., Facebook Ads or Google Ads. Remember: paid ads are an amplification tool. They will expose what is currently happening in your business (and marketing).

Your conversion rate is how many people that come to your website and buy or book. Download our free traffic and sales guide if you aren’t sure how to calculate this number.

Paid Ads are fantastic for reaching new audiences. There are billions of people using Facebook and Instagram or making searches on Google which means there is so much opportunity for you to take your business to the next level using these platforms.

Not only that, on Facebook (and Instagram) you have endless data at your fingertips which means you can intelligently target people based on their age, gender, location, interests and behaviour. This makes it easy for people to click through to your website and buy (or book). The reach of ads extends way beyond any organic (free) social media.

Want to know if your brand is ready for Facebook Ads? Download our free Facebook Ads Starter Guide to determine your brand's readiness before you spend a cent.

Similarly Google Ads can help you scale your brand and grow your business.

Google is where people are searching for information or what to buy using keywords. Using Google Ads, you can get positioned at the top of the search results on Google at the very moment some searches for what you offer.

Capitalise on the billion of searches that people make every year by being in the first position, right when someone searches you.

There you have it. How we would market our business if we were starting from scratch.

It can be difficult when you first start out to grow your business. It's important to realise that it's not going to be quick and easy. Following this guide will help set you on the path to get a steady flow of traffic and sales (or bookings) so you can finally live life on your own terms.

Have a question about your marketing? Send us a DM on Instagram.

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