Small business owners in Toronto probably know that gone are the days in which you can just put an ad in the phone book or in the local newspaper and count on it as an effective marketing strategy.
With the changes digital technology has brought about over the last generation, you as a small businesses owner simply need more than conventional marketing techniques, even if they may have traditionally worked for your business.
Of course, you’ll have the same time and money constraints that you always have had when it comes to marketing. So, it may be important to come up with some affordable and relatively easy ideas to market your business in the digital age. What follows are a few suggestions:
These days, you have to have your own website
Even in smaller communities, prospective customers will expect you to have a unique web presence. This means more than your simply listing yourself online as one among many businesses.
Not only do you need your own dedicated website, you need a website that is informative and easy to use. The website also need a professional polish that makes it simple and even fun to look at.
A quality website will leave a viewer with the impression that your business is attentive to detail and able to help prospective customers solve the particular issue they may have.
Especially if you are open to thinking beyond conventional web design, you can also use your investment in a cutting edge website to express what makes your business unique among your competitors.
Since, web design is, after all, a work of art, expressing what makes your business special is something that can be done through not only the words on your website but also through the images, page layout and everything else that goes in to building an effective site.
A social media presence brings a website to life
A website is of no value to a business if no one ever looks at it.
In this respect, web design firms can help you to establish a strong “web presence” so that prospective customers can easily find your site.
However, you can also use other techniques to create traffic to your site and thereby bring it to life. For example, both you and your business should be active on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as sites dedicated to business networking, such as LinkedIn.
These digital networks not only serve to promote your business directly but also are great tools to attract curious people and would-be customers to your website. In your posts and tweets, you can link people to your website if they are looking for more information.
As with your website itself, your space on these social media networks must be professional in appearance, useful, and up-to-date.
Network, network, network
With more and more information about businesses being available over the Internet and through social media, it seems people are less willing to automatically trust what they see and hear.
After all, any business can communicate information over the Internet, no matter how biased or even outright wrong the information communicated is.
This is why building up trust with both your customer base and other members of your professional network is so important.
Having a happy customer means that customer will patronize your business again if given the opportunity. More importantly, though, it means that customer will be willing, often without even being asked, to tell other potential customers about you.
Their good word means that new customer can feel more comfortable that they are actually going to a good business, not just a business that knows how to engage in clever marketing online.
The same is true with other members of your professional network. If they feel your business is one that they would go to themselves, then they will be more likely to refer their friends and family to your business as well.
The single best way to build your network effectively is to do good work for people, as people remember a job particularly well done, whether over time or in a particular instance.
However, it is also important that you remind your customers and professional contacts how much you appreciate it when they write that favorable review on your website or tell a friend about your business via social media.