Friday, October 10, 2008

Internet Checklist for Starting a Business in Loudoun County

We recently looked through the Loudoun Department of Economic Development’s "Checklist for Starting a Business in Loudoun County". It’s chock full of useful information and guidance, for businesses of many types, large and small.

What was curious, was that the word “Internet” wasn’t used at all.

That said, we offer here our own basic “Internet Checklist for Starting a Business in Loudoun County”:

Company Presence

  • Establish a website, with a clear “About Us” page, including your Loudoun address, directions and service hours. Use new photos or even videos of your new business. (Need help with a video? Try Trivision Studios.) Redirect old sites to the new one.

  • Register your business with Google/MSN/Yahoo “Local” services.

  • Include Geospatial Metatags on your website, of your location in Loudoun.

  • Update your YellowPages listings, online and off.

  • Update your business name in DMOZ, and Yahoo Directories.

  • Spellcheck - don't spell it "Loudon"

Networking and Communication

  • Join the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce and/or the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce – use their logos on your website, and update your information on their websites.

  • Join smaller Business Networks, like the Dulles South Business Alliance or Loudoun Business Alliance – as applicable - making sure your online information is updated.

  • In your online social media pages (i.e. on your blog, your wiki, your LinkedIn or Facebook pages), include your new Loudoun address and contact information.

  • Update your email footers to include your new location in Loudoun – and send a new broadcast out to your mailing list about it.

  • Establish a new email account(s), specifically for your Loudoun business

  • Update your online business networks – for example at MerchantCircle – invite your new business neighbors!

Marketing & Advertising

  • List your business on local directories, such as Dulles South Online, Visit Loudoun and/or LoudounPedia (as applicable).

  • Make sure your business is listed in localized “review” sites, like Yelp – encourage reviews among your customers and partners!

  • Send a press release to the Loudoun Papers, for example the Loudoun Times, with an update on your location and services (make sure it's online as well as printed) – or take out a paid advertisement, as your marketing budget allows. Or construct a "Social Media Press Release" (contact KME Internet Marketing about this).

  • Take out an ad in a local magazine, like "Modern Moms of Loudoun County" - the ad should appear on their great website as well.

  • Notify local realtors of your new business, for possible referrals - like Ingrid Myers, Realtor - business partner links very often are included on local real estate/broker websites.

  • Upload photos and/or videos of your new Loudoun business location, along with updated information about your business, to relevant social media sites like "Flickr" – using “Loudoun” in the keywords and tags.

  • Get a “Made in Loudoun” tag!

  • “Capture the Market” in the search engines with respect to your Loudoun business – for example “Loudoun Internet Marketing” – (this will likely require local, professional Loudoun Internet Marketing/SEO/Social Media services).

These are the minimum things necessary to solidly establish your business on the Internet as a respected Loudoun business entity.

Contact KME Internet Marketing for assistance with these activities, and provide any other ideas/questions here in the comments!

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