Stacy Sacco, a longtime business marketing consultant and professor at the UNM Small Business Institute, spoke at a virtual meeting of the Greater East Mountain Chamber of Commerce on how to market businesses with no storefront.

He advocated a strong social media and online presence as key.

“Social media, social networking is out there and there’s these tools,” he said. “Recognize that a lot of the things that you’ve always been doing to do marketing, is these new set of tools to take that to the next level. It’s not about necessarily re-inventing your marketing. … It’s not about a revolution, it’s an evolution.”

Sacco said businesses should start with fundamentals, like making sure the business has customer contact information, creating a customer database, making sure the website is up to date and attractive, and developing a customer relationship management program.

Businesses should leverage those existing customers by starting a loyalty or referral programs or creating incentives for customers like a discount for buying a gift card.

“Think outside the box,” he said. “What can you do to be different and stand out?”

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Sacco said businesses should cultivate a social media presence, since a lot of buying is now online, and people can’t always make purchases in person. Posting updates on social media, videos, or creating a podcast for businesses are ways to build that presence, he said.

“It’s about going viral and leveraging what you got,” he said.

Next up is to learn how to adapt to networking online, Sacco said. The same ideas can be applied from in-person networking to online networking, he said, they just need to be tweaked.

For example, take a photo of the computer screen with all the names of virtual meeting members, and add members you’d like to keep in contact with on the social media platform LinkedIn after the meeting is over.

“Reconnect with your community,” he said. “I think there’s some real importance in it, you can still network online, you don’t necessarily have to be in a room. This [Zoom meeting] is a room right here.”

The last aspect is creating strategic partnerships with other businesses, Sacco said. “Together we succeed, divided we fall,” he said. “We really need to start thinking about ourselves as part of a larger community … The East Mountains is absolutely a sense of community and family, but make that maybe a little more formal in terms of help to cross-promote each other.”

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To learn more, visit Sacco’s website, nmnetlinks.com, which houses resources for small businesses in New Mexico.