Bodnar focuses heavily on using the Internet to reach audiences. As she puts it: “Any business that can’t be found on the Internet doesn’t really exist.” Her first recommendation for people who haven’t done so is to Google themselves to see what people are saying about their businesses, and to start working on how to shape that image.
She advises that the second step green businesses, like green plumbers in Baltimore or green roofers in Phoenix, should take is establishing an Internet footprint and claiming profiles that don’t require updating, because it only needs to be done one time. That includes claiming a Yelp account, establishing profiles on sites like Google Places, and updating information on business search sites. Additionally, she recommends creating a Facebook page with information about the business, and adds that it’s very important to make sure it is a business, not a personal, page, as it’s important to conform with the site’s terms of service. A very basic website with information about your location, contact information, operating hours, and business mission is also a good idea.
She warns against oversaturation, especially with dormant accounts. If an account won’t be used, don’t open it. Think of online accounts like a storefront, she notes; if every time people go by, the business is closed, that doesn’t leave a good impression. Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and similar tools need to be regularly updated to keep them interesting. This provides more chances for storytelling as well as promotions to keep customers intrigued.
In addition, she stresses the need to integrate and leverage campaigns against each other for greater reach. Customers can be encouraged to check in on a location-based service like foursquare, for instance, and this can be used for in-store and website promotions. Print and radio ads should reference the business’ online presence, and people should be encouraged to friend or like a business across multiple platforms. Rather than campaigning in isolation, each aspect of a company’s marketing strategy should complement other elements.
Ultimately, she says that “there’s no prescription for what every single business should do,” but that people should be thinking about big picture, integrating practices that take full advantage of every option available. As a business grows and a budget increases, the owners can start thinking about more advanced marketing tools, and consultants like her are around to help for companies that aren’t sure about where to go next with their marketing.