In today’s marketplace, even if you’re based very locally, an online presence in essential. Dipping your feet into online promotion can be a bewildering experience, leaving you with more questions than answers. Should you have a website or blog or both? How often should you post content? Should you use online directories? What about paid for advertising?
The tips below are designed to help you kick off your online marketing plan and launch into cyberspace.
Street Fit® Membership: getting you up and running quickly
You don’t have to get Street Fit® Membership, but if you’re a real novice to the online world and don’t have time to get up to speed then we can streamline the process for you. For £80 a year (less than £2 a week!), you will get your own Street Fit® web address and profile, not to mention access to a members’ forum which will help you exchange online marketing tips.
A website: your online home
Whether you opt for Street Fit® Membership or not, a website is essential these days. However your potential clients have heard about you they will almost certainly expect to be able to log on to a website and browse your details at their leisure.
There are plenty of options to choose from, ranging from paying for a professionally designed and developed website to building your own. With user friendly ‘whizzywig’ (or What You See Is What You Get) web-building software, you don’t even have to know any coding language (although learning some basic HTML is always a good idea). Costs you will need to factor into your equation are buying a domain name (e.g. www.mydanceclass.co.uk) and hosting for your site.
If you do want to pay for a professionally built website, it is wise to make sure you retain as much creative control as possible. If you have to pay a company every time you want to change some text or images, things can get very expensive very quickly. Most sites these days will contain a Content Management System enabling you to change the content from an administration page, although the basic look of the site will usually be harder to amend once paid for.
Your website doesn’t have to be all-singing, all-dancing but it must be well-organised. Contact details and a map are invaluable if you want interested browsers to find you in the offline world.
Do you blog?
Blogging is optional, but if you are the sort of person who likes to share information and you have the time, a blog can showcase your personality, keep you connected with your market and is good for your search engine rankings. Expand your subject matter to bring in other areas of interest, such as diet, marketing and positive thinking for example. It’s fine to trawl other websites and blogs, but don’t just copy and paste information from elsewhere. Not only is it almost certainly illegal, duplicate content is not good for your search engine rankings.
Is your name on the list?
Getting your details down on an online dance class directory can be a good move, particularly since an online search for dance classes or dancing lessons will often bring up directories on the first page. Many directories are free, but some will follow you up with upgrade offers (and they can be persistent). If you do decide to pay for a directory listing, you should do your research first and be absolutely sure that you stand a good chance of attracting paying customers. Every directory will claim they are the best platform for your needs, so be cautious.
On a similar note, beware telephone scams that prey on businesses who subscribe to online directories, claiming you are due for renewal and need to pay them. Make sure you know exactly which directories you are subscribed to and when they come up for renewal.
It pays to be visible
Street Fit® dancers come from a wide range of backgrounds, but as active, lively people many of us don’t have the time or interest in reading pages of dull text. Whether you’re designing your website or printing some flyers or adverts, aim for striking images, unique and interesting colour combinations and succinct text.
Being a successful online marketer, as with learning to dance, gets easier the more you immerse yourself in it. Go on, take the plunge!