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When you own or manage a business, your business is your life. But if you’re struggling to get it off the ground or you’re not satisfied with your growth, it’s probably time to turn to a digital marketing expert. Digital marketing can be the turning point between a family operation that makes ends meet and a booming business. Before you hire the pros, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Remember that your online presence is everything

So you’ve been in business for longer than the internet has been around. That doesn’t mean you can survive without it now. Today, a digital presence isn’t just an “extra,” it’s a vital component to your business’s continued success.

“More and more people are searching for products and services online rather than walking in the door of their local provider,” said Arlea Hoffman, digital strategy director at Reimagine Main Street, a full-service online marketing agency with specific expertise in the Pittsburgh area. “You need to have the online presence to make sure, at a minimum, you are an option.”

Stay true to your roots

Your business could become a national sensation, but that doesn’t mean you’ll ever forget where you came from. Customers want to do business with companies that have integrity — and a local commitment doesn’t hurt either. According to QSR Magazine, “growing your brand nationally shouldn’t mean losing sight of where you started.”

And when choosing a marketing agency, you need someone who respects — and understands — those roots.

“We like that our kids go to the same schools, we eat at the same restaurants and we shop at the same stores,” said Hoffman. “It really holds us accountable to our clients’ success.”

Don’t try everything at once

Social media ads, search engine optimization, viral videos, sponsored content, social giveaways… when it comes to digital marketing, your options are endless. But don’t let that deter you.

“Digital marketing can seem overwhelming,” Hoffman said. “But you don’t have to try everything at once. There are many different options out there, so it is important to prioritize the ones that you know will give you the best return on investment before you experiment with others you are less sure of.”

Trust local experts who know your market

Sure, a national agency might have an impressive list of clients, but it might not be the best choice to grow your business. That’s because growth starts at a local level, and for that, you need someone who understands your community. After all, what sells in Seattle might collect dust on the shelves in Pittsburgh.

“We live, breathe and work in the same environment and community you do,” Hoffman said. “It is easier to get an understanding of what a local business or consumer needs when you are immersed in it every day.”

Don’t get roped into contracts

Marketing is strategic, but sometimes you have to try something to know how well it will work for your business. And when something’s not working, you need to be able to stop putting your time, energy and money into it. When you’re looking for a marketing agency, don’t sign contracts that will rope you into a service or strategy that might not be best for your business.

“We don’t have contracts because we don’t want to hold you to anything you don’t feel is working for you, and when it does work, we want to be able to prove it to you with transparent, understandable reporting,” Hoffman said.

As you start and continue through your digital journey, make sure to utilize the professionals around you that take the time to understand your business and the market you’re trying to reach. Don’t be afraid to explore the best path for your business together with a trusted partner, and watch your online presence soar!

This article is sponsored by Reimagine Main Street.

 A journalism graduate from Brigham Young University, Kristen Price has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.