Opening a New Local Business? Here is Your Digital Marketing Checklist

Opening a New Local Business? Here is Your Digital Marketing Checklist

Posted on May 21, 2018 nerdymind

A Complete List of Online Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business Grand Opening

Starting a new business is an exciting challenge, and as you know there are a lot of different moving parts to consider and obstacles to overcome as you prepare for your grand opening. One thing we find that often falls by the wayside while preparing to launch your new business is getting your online marketing presence up and running at the same time all the other pieces fall into place.

In our industry we see it time and time again where a new business launches, whether it’s a restaurant, retail shop, or personal consulting firm, without establishing a credible online presence. As more and more consumers become savvy using the internet and social media, this should be a top priority. You might be unsure of where to start, so we have created a digital marketing checklist to help you prepare your online presence for your soft opening!

Your Digital Marketing Checklist

Click here to download the full checklist.

1. Buy a website domain. 

This can be just as important as buying/renting the land your business resides on. Set a solid foundation for your online presence with a quality domain name. If your exact business name is taken, try adding a modifying word or making a slight variation (typically two word domain names are better than one). And always choose .com over .net if possible. Don’t blow your entire marketing budget on a domain, but be willing to invest in something that will work long term.

2. Put up a splash page or one-page website. 

It’s important to establish credibility on your new domain and start attracting search engine crawlers. We recommend starting with a simple one-page website. 

Include the following information (if applicable):

  • Your logo
  • Your company name in text
  • Brief description of your company and products or services
  • Contact information (web form and phone number)
  • Social media links
  • Email sign up form (optional)
  • Your business address

We’ve wireframed a one-page website for you below to help you get started. If you are working on a bootstrap budget, you can use or to build a new one-page site at a low monthly price. Keep in mind that you should continue to evolve your website later after your business launches to grow your online presence and search engine optimization strategy.

3. Set up your social media channels. 

Now that you have a one-page site to link to, you can set up all relevant social media channels. Make sure to set up your new social accounts as business accounts so you can take advantage of all of the tools and resources made available by each platform. Here are instructions on how to set up a Facebook Business Manager Account

Social Channels We Recommend Setting Up:

Use these new social channels to update potential customers about your business soft launch, grand opening, hiring announcements, product announcements, and much more. Plus, you can start collecting followers early on, so when you do launch your new business you already have a built-in audience to market to for future promotions. You can even invite your followers to your grand opening party via a Facebook event. We've seen this tactic work very well for a variety of hospitality and retail businesses.

4. Set up your local listings accounts. 

These are different than social media accounts, but still similar. These online listing services will share your local business location with online searchers, similar to opening up a phone book. It’s critical to make sure the information you set up in these accounts is uniform across all the accounts you create (i.e. “123 E. 1st St.” vs. “123 East 1st Street”), which is why we recommend services like Moz Local to help you with local listings.

Local Listing Providers We Recommend Setting Up:

5. Start collecting followers and creating excitement. 

Get customers excited about your opening with a special offer. With social media it’s easy to post about your opening, but it’s better to stand out in your follower’s crowded feeds with some type of opening offer or promotion. 

Special Opening Offer Ideas:

  • “Opening Night All Drinks are 50% Off!”
  • “First 10 people to like and share this post get a free 30 minute massage.”
  • “Soft opening party on June 24th. Come join us for free apps and cocktails from 6pm - 9pm.”
  • “Contest alert! We’re giving away a 2-night stay to a lucky winner. Like and share this post to enter.”

6. Start collecting positive reviews. 

Hitting the gas pedal early on curating positive online reviews can be huge for a new business. Encourage new customers to review your business online after a purchase, or ask patrons at your grand opening party to please review you on Facebook, Google, and Yelp. Your competition has been collecting reviews for years, so it’s time to catch up! 

Try to work out the kinks of your business during your soft opening, that way you aren’t getting any negative reviews from the start. A few less-than-perfect reviews can be critical to a new business and can easily happen when service is subpar during a grand opening. If this happens, reach out to the unhappy reviewer and let them know you’ve fixed the problem and invite them back. Likely if you provide better service on their return trip, they will change their review.

7. Invite local press to write about your new business. 

Getting a story about your business published online (with links to your business website) can provide a huge boost in traffic and build more interest and credibility around your grand opening event. Don’t hesitate to reach out to local newspapers and business publications to write a story or interview you about your opening. Prepare a press release and craft a story around why you started your new business and why you’re excited to serve the local community.

It’s easy to get consumed in all the brick-and-mortar needs for your business opening, but don’t forget to make your online presence a priority. In competitive towns like Fort Collins (our headquarters), and many other towns across the U.S., the difference can be critical to your success. If you need help with your digital strategy, reach out to the Nerds today. 

Click here to download the full checklist.