By Jodi Senese of OUTFRONT Media

The Small Business Administration’s Tech Coalition effort is helping bring Silicon Valley innovation to Main Street. By partnering with tech behemoths like Amazon, Salesforce and Facebook, the initiative is arming business owners and small business entrepreneurs with key processes and platforms needed to drive innovation and growth. And digital marketing is an important part of this toolkit.
screen shot 2015 08 31 at 3 41 10 pm1 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Engage Consumers Without A Website
headshots jodi 4 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Engage Consumers Without A Website

Jodi Senese
(Photo courtesy of OUTFRONT Media)

screen shot 2015 08 31 at 3 41 10 pm1 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Engage Consumers Without A Website

According to the Coalition’s website, “more than half of small businesses do not have a website, measure the results of their marketing or have a social media account.” What can SMBs do TODAY to engage and drive consumers online? Here are three tips to engage your consumer using strategies similar to major successful brands, in the place they spend more than 70% of their time: outside their homes.


Get Creative

screen shot 2015 08 31 at 3 41 10 pm1 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Engage Consumers Without A Website

The impact of a compelling story can be measured by the audience’s desire to retell it or re-tweet it. A strong, creative advertising campaign will generate buzz, prompting consumers to pause, laugh and share the ad with friends, family and coworkers – call it the “Did you see…?” effect. When you make consumers a part of the experience and provide a benefit, advertising becomes more than a pitch. It grabs their attention by creating an experience that benefits the consumer as much as it does the advertiser, generating desire in the marketplace.

Take a page from the Kansas City Royals’ playbook and aim to entertain with captivating creative images that tell a story. Fans look forward to the Royals’ annual billboard because the team recreates one of the season’s memorable moments that epitomizes the team’s relentless spirit. Even if you’re not in sports, earn audience attention with evocative content that inspires and creates value.


Go Mobile And Hyper-Local

screen shot 2015 08 31 at 3 41 10 pm1 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Engage Consumers Without A Website

No website? No problem. Mobile landing pages provide an easy, and oftentimes more effective solution, especially for a small business with a limited web presence. Even if you have a website, if it’s not optimized for mobile, it can lead customers astray. It’s better to deliver a platform that’s purpose built for mobile, putting direct actions at your customers’ fingertips while they are on the go.

To reach customers at a hyper-local level, you can pair a mobile landing page with a geo-fencing solution like the OUTFRONT Mobile Network. This technology places a virtual radius around your place of business or around an outside asset to target your ideal consumer with mobile banner ads. The ads send consumers to a dynamic landing page that enables a key action, such as an OpenTable reservation, a Facebook “like,” or purchasing tickets via Ticketmaster. Combining the mobile ads with a billboard builds brand awareness and increases effectiveness; studies show consumers are 48% more likely to engage with a mobile ad after seeing the same message on a billboard.

For the premier of their New Orleans show, “Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses,” Jason Michael Paul Productions, Inc. geo-fenced digital billboards in New Orleans in key locations, the venue where it was playing and nearby universities to target millennial consumers. The mobile ads delivered consumers to a landing page that directed them to Ticketmaster for ticket purchases and offered live directions from their phone’s native mapping app.


Engage On Social

screen shot 2015 08 31 at 3 41 10 pm1 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Engage Consumers Without A Website

Having a social media presence is important for small businesses, but owners need to be more strategic than simply issuing a barrage of self-promotional posts across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Fresh, engaging content is key: link to relevant articles reporting on interesting news in your industry, and cultivate a consistent tone and culture for your brand. Don’t be afraid to engage followers in conversation, offering special discounts or expert insights. Native advertising and promoted posts on social media can also provide relevant information to potential customers.

When LinkedIn Pulse spotlighted 6 Brands that Rock the Social Media Community, they called out Lincoln Electric for its smart social strategy. Their Facebook page often shares the achievements and good news of other brands and industry experts, building community goodwill and cultivating varied, interesting content for its followers.

Eye-catching outdoor campaigns can also drive social buzz. Sledgehammer Games, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest single-title game development studios, took a creative approach to attracting top talent for their Call of Duty team. The studio posted a billboard in a secret location, and encouraged pedestrians and job seekers to snap a photo and tag it on their favorite social platform with the hashtag, #beSHG. The company showcased their favorite posts, and welcomed prospective employees to apply for one of the studio’s open positions.

Are you among the 47 percent of small business owners without a website? Don’t fear: Empowered by a combination of traditional and digital marketing tools, you can earn consumer attention by going local, and meeting them in the midst of their everyday lives.


As the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of OUTFRONT Media, Jodi Senese oversees all aspects of marketing including research, advertising and creative services, and is integral in developing new business strategies for the company.  Responsible for leading the rebrand of OUTFRONT Media, she launches new company initiatives including the insights community and an in-house creative boutique. Senese has over thirty years of experience in the out-of-home industry, formerly as Executive Vice President/Marketing at CBS Outdoor, Executive Vice President/Marketing at TDI and Vice President/Marketing at Gannett Outdoor.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.



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