How To Market Your Business Properly Online in Asheville, or Wherever

Marketing Your Business in Asheville

 

Marketing your business is a tough thing to do if you really knew all of the facts. As soon as someone announces that they are opening up a business in Asheville, a bunch of companies start coming at them from all ends to help, or at least try to. From web designers, to marketing agencies, social media managers, graphic designers, and PR firms; not to mention advertisers… they all want a piece of the pie. So how do you determine the best steps to take while starting and building your brand and company? I have put together a list of 7 things that you will need to market your business properly online in Asheville:

  1. A brand that communicates your message and that is set up to grow. If you want to really establish your company, you must start with the basics. Creating the brand and logo should never be left to a designer alone, it is a team effort and more important than many think. It’s a careful process where you take in account the type of business it is, what it’s purpose is, and who your ideal client is. Your company culture, mentality and mission can be communicated through not only your brand, but your logo as well.
  2. A website home base. Unless you have a storefront, and even if you do; many times your website is still your main headquarters online. A visitor to your website only knows what they see there. Website visitors do not usually have the opportunity to meet you in person and learn about your business. Your website is the first and lasting impression they have of you and your company. There are many elements in web development to consider, but the main three are design, site navigation/flow, and content. Get these items taken care of and your website will shine. Now you just have to get people to it. There are many ways to do this, but the main way is to add new content to your website regularly, whether it be a blog post or new page. Then post that new page or post to your social media outlets to gain new traffic to your website.
  3. Social media. Building relationships is the new business and social media is here to make that happen. Determine which social media platforms are best for your business and make accounts on them. Many times we secure brands on all platforms should you wish to use them in the future for a specific purpose. This is your communication hub and your business is socially known through your social media. Pay big attention to this.
  4. Public relations. Maybe you do not need a big PR firm to start, but you should have a vision established on what your brand’s voice is, how you will appear to the public, and how you will consistently communicate moving forward. Once established, you can find plenty of ways to get integrated in the community, with non-profits, and other organizations in the area that will complement your business.
  5. Consistent content and information. People want to know what you are doing, what products you have, what services you are providing, and what’s happening right now with your business. Posting great consistent content to your social media outlets is a must, without exception. Relationships will not be built and growth is stifled if you do not have content. Then the level of content becomes key. You need a plan where you are posting things that matter and things that your specific viewers want to see. You can do this through text, photos/images/graphics, and videos.
  6. Advertising outlets. There are many places that you can advertise in the local community, but don’t do it. First things first – get your own brand established so the folks you are advertising to see something great when they land on your website or social media outlets. Then maybe check out a few places on a smaller level to kind of test the waters, without over-committing on a lengthy contract, only to find out later that the advertising you were sold does not really work, or did not work for you at least.
  7. A great team. It’s pretty much impossible to do all of these things successfully and make a business successful at the same time, so you need a team. When you do decide to hire some folks, build a team that cares about your business, what you represent, and knows how to make your business grow; both online and off. See their portfolios, check out their LinkedIn page, and see what they have really done. Just getting by and doing good enough, is simply not enough. Make sure they are great, because marketing your business online properly is not achieved without greatness.

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All websites are not created equal

In addition to building social media packages, I also do website consultation. 90% of the companies out there are lacking in their website presences in one way or another. This can be a small easy fix, other times a major overhaul, and sometimes even a demolition and re-build. What are you willing to do to make sure your company is represented professionally and sociably online?

Sometimes I get calls and the folks say “I got this website for free…” and I immediately tell them they did not get a website. A college kid may have practiced on you for his freshman final project, but that is simply not good enough. When I can build a Blogger Blog that looks better than your main website presence online; you do not have a website.

Then folks tell me “I need a website!” I say “ok, what type of website are you looking for?” “Something nice and pretty” is the top answer I receive. I smile and say “what is your budget? Are you ready to spend $500, $5000 or $500,000? What do you think you want the website to look like and what do you want the website to accomplish?” For the most part, you get what you pay for. Yes, there are people that will do it cheaper, but not better. And there are people that could do it better, but not cheap. Get it?!

Here are a few prices for websites that I keep in mind:

$500 for a down payment (if this is what you want to pay for a website, you do not believe in the Internet yet)

$1000 – $3000 for a premium theme WordPress website + simple custom logo, buttons, banners.

$5000 + for a Drupal website

Depending on what your business is pulling in, you may want to allocate a certain percentage toward web design and updates. For example, if your business is grossing $1 million dollars per year, maybe you should put .033% toward it over 3 years, so you can get a nice $100,000 website that will keep you ahead of the curve. Grossing several million dollars yearly with room to play hard? What about a custom $250,000 – $500,000 website that will stun the world and give you every feature imaginable? CALL ME!!! Lol, I do not build $100k or $500k websites, but I have some reputable friends that do 🙂

Just having a website does not mean much anymore. Make your website one of the top priorities for your business. Put something into it, get it out online with SEO and social media, and watch it work wonders for you. Get your return on investment and then put aside more money to update monthly or yearly with the latest and greatest. Do it right!