The key to a successful business is the ability to be found by your potential customers. There are two critical locations for which they search: the location where they can transact business, and the location where they can find out more information about your business and your solutions. Investing to ensure your business found can open doors to increased revenues, but requires an investment which could also increase operating costs. The most common name for this investment is marketing, and it is one of the most valuable investments you can make in your business.
Promotion – Make a name for your business.
The results of a recent consumer study by Google indicate that 80% of shoppers will research online before making a purchase. That’s a huge opportunity for meet-and-greets with prospective clients before they make a purchase. Basically, you need to make sure that you need to be on that first page of results when people search for the problem that your products and solutions solve. How? Simple. Make sure that the words consumers are using to search for solutions are also included in your online content (website, Facebook, Tweets, blog, etc…). You can also buy a spot place in search results by paying the search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) to have your business show up when specific words are searched. With either of these strategies, you will need to hire a search professional (staff or an agency) to help you define the list of keywords that are the most likely to get your business found in search results. It will be the foundation of your online marketing.
Make a name with social media.
Your efforts don’t have to all have to be text – get your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media accounts to leverage pictures, videos and customer comments in search. For example, Pinterest and Facebook are terrific of leveraging pictures of your products – great if you have food, or other visually appealing offerings. These posts will show up in search results, giving you a variety of ways of reaching potential customers. You want to post on a regular basis, and ideally, you want to interact with your followers or fan base to answer any questions they may have, post about promotions or recognize those who are promoting your business through their posts and comments.
Leverage the good name of others for publicity.
Another way to get your name out there is to pay others to announce your offerings. Typically you don’t want to do this all the time, but a well-timed promotion with a well-defined budget can do wonders. Run some ads online in the local newspaper and get your company listed online in a few local business directories. You’ll have immediate access to their large subscriber base – a pool of prospects that you didn’t have to build yourself.
You can also run a virtual grand opening sale with a daily deal company – like Groupon, Living Social, Gilt Groupe or BizyDeal. Daily deal companies have massive subscriber bases and offer cost-effective digital channels for announcing the latest promotions. These deals are great for generating quick upfront revenue and demand for your products and services. It’s essential that you do the math on your proposed deal before finalizing the paperwork. If you oversell too much inventory at too low a price, you could cause a debilitating cash crunch. Think of these deals as publicity, instead of revenue generators. The goal is to get your name out there and get the pubic to try your solutions. The real revenue comes after you pick them up as a “full-price” client. Also, match your daily deal provider to your target market. If your audience is upscale, then pick an upscale daily deal service. Each daily deal provider can provide you with information on the demographics of the people they reach.