The importance of a good online presence BEFORE opening

A good online presence before opening

I regularly see those banners stating the website is "under construction" and coming soon. To me these notifications say: "Revenue is wasted here for an undefined period of time".

Especially when opening a new business it's crucial to have a good online presence to get the word out there so potential customers can tell their friends: "Look at this really nice place opening next month, let's have a drink there!".

What does it take?

So what does it take, to have a good online presence as a local business? Well, at least these things should be covered:

  • A Facebook page (don't fill out your opening hours yet).
  • A Facebook event of your grand opening.
  • Several photo albums on your Facebook page. So, please: don't make a "lazy" impression on your potential customers by sticking to the default "Timeline Pictures" & "Mobile Uploads").
  • A professional website optimized for mobile usuage & search engines.
  • Information about the opening event on your homepage.
  • Add & claim your business on Google Maps and make your business profile as complete as possible. I would recommend to fill out your opening hours and then make use of the "special hours" functionality to let people know you're not open yet.
  • Also, get your business listed on platforms like Yelp & Tripadvisor if applicable. People who are enthusiastic about your new business will not leave a review when they first have to make a profile of your place.
Instagram is also a powerful social network but I consider Facebook to be mondatory and the really social savvy business owners can use Instagram as a second social platform when starting their business.

Don't go for perfection, go live ASAP

I advise local business owners to have a website up & running for at least 4 weeks before opening. Every day your website is not live AFTER opening you are losing even more money! I started a couple of businesses myself so I know how much time and energy it takes but speed is really important. The trick is to plan well and don't go for perfection: don't wait until it's 100% finished & perfect. Go live ASAP, even if this means you only reached 75 or even 50 percent perfection. Your target audience will be anxious anyway about the new business opening up and they don't see the things that are missing or not completely perfect because you are basically the only one who knows. Besides, don't play your cards too soon: launching new pages on your website in the weeks/months after opening will give you something to post on Facebook and get some more attention for your business.

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