Promoting Your Business in the Internet Age: It’s Not All Online!
Technology has presented contemporary filmmakers with a tricky problem. In thrillers and spy films of yesteryear, the protagonist would actually have to go out and about and knock on doors to obtain information.
Nowadays, he can simply pull out his iPhone and Google the relevant information, which is hardly suspenseful stuff.
Technology has changed the way we send and receive information, and it’s no different when it comes to marketing and promotion.
In 1999, cinemagoers around the world were terrified by The Blair Witch Project, and a huge amount of the films box office success ($248 million profit from a $22,500 budget) came from the myth that the story of documentary filmmakers who disappeared while investigating the legend of an evil witch, was in fact true.
While the Internet certainly existed in 1999, it was most definitely in its infancy, with Google itself being just one year old.
Fast-forward 1.5 decades, and the same approach wouldn’t work, since consumers could easily access the information themselves and discover that the Blair Witch was simply an inventive creation.
While consumers have become far more tech savvy, the Internet is still one of the most viable marketing tools in existence, assuming it’s used correctly.
So what are some of the best ways to promote your business in the online and offline world?
Let’s Consider Your Website
Good website design doesn’t usually come cheaply, but it’s a necessary expense.
If your business is in its early days and you can’t find the necessary funds to pay a consultancy to build your dream website, then consider one of the many user-friendly websites that allow you to build your own online presence in a straightforward manner (much like building things out of Lego).
Even when you can afford an extravagant website, exercise some restraint.
Do you need flash animation and all that pretty music?
Think about your client base- if you were searching for the product or service you offer, would you find your website effective and easy to navigate?
A great website isn’t all about the look, so think about whether your online presence entices customers into taking the next step, whether by converting a visit to a purchase, or even to a lead (which can be as simple as registration to your mailing list- and of course you’ll have a mailing list).
It’s important to ensure that your website works to sell your business- it needs to have a Call To Action, a function that invites the customer to take the next step.
Without this, your website is little more than an aesthetically pleasing placeholder in cyberspace.
The Internet is largely non-discriminatory as an entity, which has its pros and cons. Unless your customers are looking for a specifically local business, a Google search for your business lumps you in with all businesses that provide a similar product or service to you, no matter where in the world they are.
People need to know you’re there, so you need to be active in social media, including blogging, Facebook and Twitter.
Consumers pay attention to this medium, and it allows them to form what feels like a personal relationship with a business.
You, or your staff need to be savvy in what it takes to entice customers via these formats, and to also stay abreast of new developments- popular forms of social media rise and fall with alarming frequency and you can’t be left behind. The same goes for major online promotions, like Cyber Monday.
Study retailers and comparable businesses to see who succeeds and emulate them. If you’re not a part of these types of promotions, then you are definitely missing out.
Boris Johnson, the mayor of London has stated his belief that people who live in large cities still like the feeling of having a local community; the feeling of being in a village.
While you might operate a business in a large city, and have a global customer base, don’t neglect those in your surrounding areas.
This can still be an old school, almost retro approach such as distributing fliers (a lot of businesses still do this, so it’s a good idea to have a clever well designed flier that actually makes an offer of some kind), as well as posters in the local community (be sure to check licensing laws).
Unsurprisingly, it’s a measured, multi-faceted approach that works best, and this is generally always the case, although the mediums of promotion have changed significantly over time.
Keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t and possess enough flexibility so that you can change your marketing efforts when and if needed!
Image courtesy of tungphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net