Can you sell something even before you have the product? Can you market a restaurant, a liquor store, a convenience store or any kind of a traditional business even before it is up and running? The answer is yes. Moreover, it has become a necessity if you are working with a tight budget. An unconventional approach to marketing a small business is discussed.
Owning a website is an unattractive proposition for many small businesses, and for good reasons. How is it going to help them if they are not doing e-commerce? Isn’t it likely that this new website would also be lost in the zillions of sites out there? Well, these are valid concerns. Despite these issues, what if there is a way to generate customers from a bare bones simple and cheap website, even before you have made the big investment of buying the business? In a Web 2.0 world, things work slightly differently. Here when a passenger makes a complaint video and posts it on YouTube, the airline industry is forced to make a public apology. Before they talk to the family, the information is broadcast to the world. If you have a popular website, that would be the best avenues for advertising. But that is part of the problem. How can you have a popular website out of a simple cheap website? The popular misconception is that for a website to be popular, it should be unique and splendid.
A couple of steps are detailed for those who are in the stage of contemplating to start or own a business.
Step 1: Regardless of your business type, get a domain name for your business. ColeTek can do this for you! Let them know!
Step 2: Even if you do not intend to make a full fledged site, make a basic website with a home page, “about us” page, “contact information” page, etc. Nowadays, you can make a basic website for less than $100. Hosting costs start from as low as $10 a month.
Step 3: Try to get maximum publicity for the website. You can promote the site using free directory listings, free article sites, social networking sites, press releases, or other venues. Additionally, you may consider hiring an SEO firm. Try to get some form of guarantee that the SEO firm would improve your page rank / ratings. Insist on getting results quantified. Alexa.com and Google’s free toolbar with site rank are places that let you gauge the progress of the site.
Once the site has earned a decent Google rank like 2 or above, or an Alexa rank of less than 100,000, unknowingly you have made huge strides in marketing a business that you don’t own yet.
You could buy the business after this point when the site has gained a decent rank as discussed in Step 3. Say for example, you are going to own a restaurant. Now you have a website which you can use to advertise promotion and very likely your promotions will be seen and read. You can use the free Google Analytic tools to get a wide range of information on the nature and type of people coming to the site. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a computer wiz to do all this.