If you've recently taken the plunge into entrepreneurship by quitting the rat race and starting your own business, you may be eager to begin gaining a presence in your local market and attracting customers from far and wide. However, sometimes even the savviest business owners aren't experts in marketing, and you may find that your grand opening falls flat without some concentrated efforts to promote your business online -- from raising your presence in search engine results to generating positive ratings on crowd-sourced review sites. Read on to learn more about marketing your business in the modern digital market, and a couple of situations in which enlisting professional marketing assistance may be a wise investment in your business's future.
What are the best ways to market your business in an increasingly online world?
Whether you own a restaurant, retail business, or service-based establishment, creating a webpage and a social media presence remains one of the most effective ways to establish yourself and draw in customers. While some businesses that came of age well before the advent of the internet can depend upon word-of-mouth referrals and a broad base of loyal customers, new businesses that don't have even the most basic information (like hours of operation) available online may find it difficult to attract much foot traffic. This can be true even if you've invested advertising funds in other areas, like newspaper ads or even television spots. Before spending much time or money on advertising, you'll want to fill your web page with some information about your business and build a couple of basic profiles at social media websites.
There are a number of inexpensive do-it-yourself website creators available online, and even those who aren't the tech-savviest should be able to create an aesthetically pleasing website relatively quickly. By paying a small web hosting fee each month, you'll ensure that potential customers can access needed information any time of the day or night. Alternatively, you may be able to obtain free website hosting in exchange for some advertisement displays on the sides or bottom of your website. Even if you later decide your website needs more extensive content than you're able to create yourself, having a framework in place before launching your business can give you an advantage from the starting line.
You may also want to use your social media presence to offer promotions and giveaways to your customers. Because many (particularly those in the younger generations) turn to social media or review sites before visiting a new restaurant or retailer to see what friends and peers are saying, having online raves from satisfied customers can help drive new business in the door. Giving away t-shirts emblazoned with your business's name can help customers serve as walking advertisements, while offering free merchandise or food in exchange for reviews can launch your business to the top of search results. (If you go this route, to avoid claims of bribery, be sure to give away food or merchandise for all reviews -- not just good ones!) You may also want to participate in regular online giveaways as a way to attract more viewership traffic to your website.
When should you consult a digital media marketing contractor to promote your new business?
There are a number of businesses and individuals who specialize in creating an online presence for businesses and improving marketing efforts, helping you gain a foothold in your local market while making your services more accessible to those who may just be passing through town. While you can take some steps to promote your business yourself, if you're entering a competitive market, it may be worth the investment to have a professional take a look at the situation and offer some advice and concrete steps you can take to gain customers. Competing with established businesses can be tough, and unless you have the only market share for the product or service you're offering, you may need a bit of a boost to achieve the same standing as other businesses in your area.
Another factor that might impact your decision to hire a marketing specialist is your business's target age group or demographic. Even if you've done your best to keep up with technological trends, you may not know the right ways to appeal to a youth or teen market -- and advertising your business on a social media network inhabited by those of a different generation can be like throwing your advertising dollars down a black hole. Enlisting a professional to handle your outreach efforts can be money well spent.
Contact a company like Meredith Broadcast Digital Solutions to get started.