Why did I decide to start with Irwin Animal Clinic in Ocilla, Georgia in offering my best (quick, simple, and affordable) pathway to begin marketing online?
For years Irwin Animal Clinic in Ocilla, Georgia, has been my veterinary clinic of choice.
There’s a veterinarian that’s closer to my house, which I use when a Saturday vet visit is required.
However, I drive the extra miles to Irwin Animal Clinic because I’ve always found Ashley Hill, DVM’s adoration of animals to be palpable in her every interaction with an animal.
Even in 2019, Irwin Animal Clinic is not alone in being a thriving local business that has yet to begin marketing online.
Because for far too many owners of a thriving local business, actually building and maintaining a website is still nowhere near fast, easy, or affordable enough for them to leap.
A decade ago, I’d have understood their rationale.
But not for years, and certainly not in 2019.
So this series of posts is my attempt to help the owners of thriving brick-and-mortar businesses begin their marketing online quickly, simply, and affordably; with Irwin Animal Clinic in Ocilla, Georgia topping my list of example POVs.
Potential Pathway Investment:
For owners of a local business, the first question typically tends to be them trying to verify if it’s possible within their budget. Keep in mind that there is a literal litany of tools at your disposal for handling your online marketing efforts. The tools I recommend in this SOP (starting online pathway) are tools that I use for my business as well as for my clients. These are not affiliate links.
|Genesis Child Theme||$150.00||One time|
|AudienceOps||$4,550.00 or $7,100.00||Quarterly|
My seven-step pathway for beginning the marketing of a local business online
I’d explain the experience of taking Irwin Animal Clinic online to Ashley Hill DVM, by reflecting the steps a local business owner may take to open a brick-and-mortar business.
Which plays out as follows:
The opening of a local business begins with the choice of the business location and its attached address for folks to find the business.
My first step in online marketing is the purchase of the business domain name. (Example: jasonhobbsllc.com) The website which lives on the domain name serves as the home base for all online marketing efforts.
The foundation of a website experience includes security and speed. And that’s for every website visitor regardless of the device and internet connection that they’re using to access your website.
Offline, after choosing the location and locking in the address, it’s time to connect power and utilities to the brick-and-mortar business.
Online this is the investment into an ongoing source of attention for the business.
This source of attention shouldn’t be comprised only of renting access to third-party audiences either, although that does come later.
Each business that is marketing online must prove its authority to today’s empowered consumers, which is accomplished via customer interactions as well as the digital media that’s owned and created by the business.
Create this media in house, outsource the media creation, or deploy your unique mix of in house media creation coupled with outsourcing. The key is that you start investing in a source for your business to win attention online.
Q: The first place I check when looking into outsourcing the content creation for a thriving local business?
Brian Casel built this business based on his experience building businesses on the back of content marketing, but thanks to the current team, it’s way bigger than just the one super talented man. Always was bigger than just Brian in my view.
This is, of course, assuming Brian and his team are capable of working with your industry.
Offline its time to turn on the phone, so people have a way to contact the business.
Online, I equate turning on the phone with connecting Drift to a website.
When people are on your website is when they are most interested in your business.
Understanding that, from the start, staff your website during your office hours and be sure to offer an easy way for visitors to leave a message during off hours.
Offline, with the utilities and phone, turned on, its time to furnish and stock the location in preparation for the grand opening of the business.
Online this furnishing and stocking plays out as the first version of the business website.
I keep version one of the business website simple by using a Genesis child theme for styling the website, which I immediately match to the business logo.
5. Move in
Offline the business location is ready for the team to move in and begin building the business.
For smaller teams, especially the farther you get under 20 employees, I’ve found the access to the website doesn’t become real for people until Drift’s live chat and email functionalities are included in their daily work routine.
Drift melds with their daily routine through their individual combination of their choice of browser window and the Drift smartphone app when they’re away from their computer.
6. Break the ice
I see the initial six-week online marketing campaign as the intitial icebreaker between the business and internet users.
And I’ve learned the hard way to have the business website and its system for getting to know an audience in place before beginning to rent access to third-party audiences.
This way, the third-party audience access isn’t forced to deliver instant gratification to impact the long-term marketing strategy of the business positively.
In my most straightforward terms, each time you invest in accessing third-party audiences, you win by introducing yourself to interested strangers while putting your best possible foot forward.
Whenever possible, I like to get answers to questions from visitors to begin the process of getting to know them. This philosophy came from my Grandfather, who told me more than once that we all have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk in business.
I use RightMessage.com for breaking the ice with visitors and to subsequently speak to them in their own words.
The monthly marketing budget
Online, the monthly marketing budget is responsible for an entire toolbox of tools, but of utmost importance, is the ongoing creation and updating of digital media for the business to win attention online, which I refer to as bait.
The aforementioned renting of access to third-party audiences will direct attention to the bait (not directly to a sales landing page), in order to spread awareness of your business to relevant people.
My first campaign typically ties back to the results of a local search audit using my BrightLocal.com account.
That typically delivers a list of tasks to sure up the digital foundation for the business. With BrightLocal.com’s citation builder service typically topping the list.
This is the fifth iteration of my explanation, in case you want to look back at the evolution of my explanation: Take 4 | Take 3 | Take 2 | Take 1
Please comment below with any questions, comments, or concerns you have about my starting online pathway for Irwin Animal Clinic to begin marketing online.
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