video of Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing discussing how to find an online market’s demographics, value and interests. We think it’s a very useful resource for learning more about an online market. However, this week we wanted to spin the business problem slightly. This month at Write Ahead we are working on connecting with entrepreneurs in the Seattle market for the first time. Ever wondered how you can promote an offline business in a new geographic market using social media and other online tools? Let this be the year when your business goes abroad. Here are a few tools that we’re putting to work right at this moment.
Connect with groups on LinkedIn.
A quick LinkedIn groups search with keywords containing your target location and audience will usually produce a long list of relevant groups to check out. We like connecting with active groups that often have person to person engagement in the comment threads. Some groups aren’t moderated very well and members shamelessly self-promote repeatedly. Not so helpful. Join a group that hits the right note for you, sign up to receive updates, and start commenting on posts that are relevant to your business. The more you post insightful and useful replies, the more you’ll be recognized for your expertise and enthusiasm, and members will be more open to engaging with you.
Say hello through Twitter, Facebook or by E-mail.
Start building a list of influencers and businesses you want to connect with in your target area. Add them on Twitter or Facebook and send a short hello or send an introduction and question by e-mail. Don’t be afraid to reach out and say hi to someone you haven’t met before. If you’re at a loss for how to start doing this, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers has written an excellent guide for getting people you don’t know to help you out.
Blog about regional current events.
Business clients in particular want to know that you are knowledgeable and informed about their market before they contact you. Blogging about current events and market news in their region is an excellent way to send the right signal to a business client. Blogging about regional events is also a great opportunity to use SEO tools to improve your organic search results in your target area.
Keep track of your progress.
We hope you have some sort of analytics software installed to keep track of your website traffic! Tools such as Google Analytics make it easy to keep track of where your visitors are coming from. Set SMART objectives for benchmarks such as time spent on your website, visitor counts, and conversions. Then set up campaigns that track visitors from your target geographic area and make a note of which promotional tactics are giving you the best conversion rates. This is more of an art than an exact science. Be creative and experiment!
Have you branched our into another geographic area before? Which tactics worked best for you? Let us know below.