Where should I go to research my business idea? How can I use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for my business? What should I do in Google AdWords campaigns?
These are the typical questions that we at AMAS are asked at conferences, seminars and other events that we address on internet business opportunities and on online marketing and communications.
While we’d like to accept all the invitations we get to speak at enterprise events, or respond to other requests we receive from start-ups or would-be entrepreneurs, the reality is that we can’t – due to the slight inconvenience of having to run a business ourselves and deal with our corporate and government clients.
But to help all those budding entrepreneurs, or indeed those working in established businesses who need to get up to speed on the internet, we’ve put together what we believe to be ten great resources to help your business or start-up. In no particular order…
An excellent site for internet news and social media resources, such as its online guidebooks to Twitter and Facebook, and much more besides, including online marketing, design and development.
2. Krishna De
Krishna’s website on KrishnaDe.com is filled with tips, advice and insights.
3. Jakob Nielsen
Read the renowned usability expert’s Alertbox articles about how to get the user experience right.
4. Google AdWords course
The free Google AdWords courses are, in our view, far better than many of the paid search marketing courses. Logon to the AdWords Certification Programme Learning Centre, lock yourself away for a few hours and immerse yourself in planet Google.
5. Google Analytics
Another of Google’s free tools, Google Analytics is now the website metrics package of choice for many Irish businesses. Once your site has it, get to grips with it and get smarter statistics with Google Analytics training.
6. LinkedIn Groups
Check out the LinkedIn Groups most relevant to your business. Monitor the conversations, and don’t be shy about asking questions of the experts. Our favourite Irish LinkedIn Group is the Online Marketing Group run by digital advertising agency Radical, but there are lots, lots more out there.
Don’t groan. Yes, Twitter and some of the tweets can be a bit off the wall, but Twitter is one hell of a research tool. Find the big guns and influencers in your business who are on Twitter (try a free tool like Klout, or simply use Twitter’s own advanced search options), read what they’re reading (and they’ll link to them), and grab all the freebie reports on the likes of Crowdbooster.com and SocialMention.com.
8. NCA guide to online selling
OK, they are one of our clients, but the National Consumer Agency has a useful guide in PowerPoint (1.4MB) and on SlideShare about selling via a website. If you sell online to consumers, whether your site is huge or just starting off, you have to meet eCommerce, data protection and other regulations.
9. Facebook ads
No, they’re not relevant for every business, but if you are thinking of running a Facebook campaign it’s well worth spending a bit of time reading its guide for beginners on setting your goals and starting a campaign.
10. State of the Net
Not a shameless plug (we promise), but we know that the quarterly publication and the graphs on digital trends are used extensively by entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs. Our website has a full archive of State of the Net and you can dress up your PowerPoint presentations or your proposals with our graphics which you can access through our SlideShare channel. The only condition is that you include a credit to AMAS and that if you use them online you offer a link to our site.