Who is this guide for?
This support pack is for Hounslow-based businesses that understand the value of getting their business online and want to gain essential digital marketing skills to help them promote themselves. Specifically, the guide is for businesses that use (or want to use) inHounslow.com and are interested in maximising the benefits of being on the platform.
We take you through all the basics – with tips to enable you to make the most of inHounslow and discover simple and effective ways to market your business. Read on to learn everything there is to know about inHounslow.com, how to get your business onto Google My Business and social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and more.
Let’s get started!
Why should you care about marketing?
In a practical sense, marketing is about understanding your customers – by identifying, anticipating and satisfying their needs – and creating content that resonates and compels them to take action. Let’s use an example of the sort of challenging situations small business owners like yourself may find themselves in and explore how marketing, if done right, can help.
Let’s imagine a business owner – Joe – has just opened a coffee shop in his local area. He’s had the dream of doing so for many years and has recently spent months doing research to get ready for the grand opening: making decisions about everything from the physical environment – planning the decor – to anticipating customer wants – aiming to understand what kind of coffee his customers might enjoy most. Opening a business takes lots of work and is often a labour of love. Once Joe finally opens the doors of his coffee shop to the world, he expects customers to come flooding in. The problem is that Joe spent so many hours planning what would happen inside his brick and mortar shop, building relationships with suppliers and trying to perfect his offering, that he ended up glossing over establishing his business online too.
The truth in our modern world is that having a robust presence in the digital world is just as important as perfecting the physical appearance of your business. In the digital sphere, you can speak to your existing customers, forging relationships that lead them to become loyal evangelists, and you can reach out to new customers, inviting them to give your business a try.
If there’s one thing we have learned about Joe so far is that he genuinely loves what he does – every customer is served with a smile – and his meticulous care and attention to detail translates into every sip of his coffee. So wouldn’t it be a huge shame for thousands of potential customers that love exceptional coffee and excellent customer service to miss out on his offering? Your target audience could be missing out too if you’re not leveraging essential digital tools and platforms to create an engaging digital identity for your brand.
The numbers don’t lie. According to the Office for National Statistics:
92% of adults in the UK were recent internet users in 2020
The second most common internet activity in 2020 was finding information about goods and services, undertaken by 81% of adults.
So start building your digital identity and tap into a rich pool of people excited to learn more about, and eventually buy from, your business.
Not convinced yet? Let’s explore the benefits of going digital in more detail
1. It’s cost-effective
Purchasing a domain name and website hosting package is a low-cost way to showcase your business to a world of customers. If you don’t have the budget to pay for a professionally-designed website, you can leverage sites like inHounslow.com, a platform made for businesses like yours to be able to engage with residents and visitors interested in exploring the rich offering in the borough.
An even easier way to reach the online community is by setting up an account or page with a well-known social media website. It’s free, simple and you’ll instantly have a platform from which you can connect with users worldwide.
2. It opens a world of opportunities
Building a strong digital presence on your website or inHounslow.com and getting yourself set up on social media allows you to grow your business beyond your physical location. An online presence opens your virtual shop for business 24/7, allowing you to access potential customers you could never reach conventionally.
3. It creates a lasting impression
How many times have customers asked you how, or even if, they can find you online? Customers expect you to be online so if you aren’t, you risk losing out to competition who are already reaping the benefits of having an online presence and you’re sacrificing opportunities to engage with thousands more potential customers.
Even if your company is on the small side, it doesn’t mean you can’t compete with larger competitors: being a one-man-band or a micro business cannot be an excuse for not competing with larger competitors in your industry – the internet has levelled that playing field and gives you the opportunity to grow.
4. It increases customer engagement
Using social media or having an email address gives your customers more ways to contact you. Many would prefer to email, visit your website or tweet you rather than make a phone call.
Being more accessible to your customers will increase customer satisfaction and help you better understand your market whilst also providing your customers with the opportunity to leave online reviews – perfect for word-of-mouth referrals.
5. It allows your customers to stay informed
Physical marketing materials can become out-of-date as you change your services and your pricing. Having this information online allows you to make immediate changes and ensure your customers stay informed as they’re seeing only current and relevant information.
We’ve put together some guides to help local businesses in Hounslow make the most of digital marketing, which we’ll be sharing these over the coming weeks with individuals, businesses and organisations who have registered with inHounslow.com.
If you’re a local business, attraction, or venue, you can use inHounslow to help visitors and locals plan great days out in the borough. Not yet registered with inHounslow? Join us here.