You have a business and you want to start advertising and marketing as soon as possible to bring in more clients. However before you do this it is critical that you look how you're online and offline image is before you start any of this. If you don't you could be throwing money away on your advertising and marketing campaigns.
This is where discipline comes in. You need to step back and honestly take a look at the following things before you spend one dollar in marketing and advertising. How current is your website – does it look modern and up to date, or a throwback to 5 - 10 years ago?
Clients do judge you on your website and overall online and offline image. If it's been more than 3 years since your site has been updated it's time to start from scratch or get a major update that changes the entire look of your site. Do you have plenty of testimonials and good pictures? Today's websites have more imagery and less text. Take a look at your competition and find a website that you like. Then tell your web designer, that this is a general look and functionality that you're looking for. How does your website appear on smart phones and tablets? If it doesn't look great and offer great functionality, you have some work to do. In January 2014 Mobile devices surpassed desktops with more internet usage 55% mobile versus 45% for desktops.*
Next how does your business look on Yelp and other review sites? How is your Yelp page or do you even have one? Do you have less than 4 stars and not many reviews? You have work to do. Some studies have shown as high as 90% of customer's base their buying decisions on some kind of review sites. There are a number of others sites like Google Review/local/places/+, Merchant Circle, Foursquare, Yahoo listings, Linked In, Consumer Search etc. I would start with one or two that would most fit you business.
How does your business look on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook? Do you have many followers and likes? I don't have time in this blog to go into all the ways to help you increase followers and fans in these areas. However if you do a Google search, you'll definitely find some tips in these areas.
Lastly, if you are a brick and mortar business, how does your store look inside? It better be clean and appealing, otherwise you run the risk of getting some negative feedback on the social sites. Again, better to hold off, even though it's so very tempting to just start advertising.
Please, take a little time to set a good foundation for your business. It will save time and pay off handsomely in the long run.
I hope this was helpful!
*Smartphones and Tablets surpassing desktops for time spent accessing the internet. James O'Toole February 28, 2014 CNN Money