O-R launches new online service unit to help area small businesses

Published May 16, 2013 at 8:55 am (Updated May 16, 2013 at 8:55 am)

The Observer-Reporter has launched a service that will offer the business community a variety of social media and online marketing services to supplement and enhance its print and online advertising products.

The new service, Reimagine Main Street, which will be offered by the Washington-based daily newspaper and The Almanac, is made possible through the newspapers’ partnership with Dream Local Digital, a Maine-based marketing agency specializing in interactive media, marketing, search engine optimization and social media.

The agency works with media companies, ad agencies and directly with small- to medium-sized businesses on all aspects of their online marketing plans, from website development to social media and email marketing.

Matt Miller, the O-R’s director of sales and marketing, said the partnership with Dream Local Digital enables the newspaper to work in new ways with the Southwestern Pennsylvania business community.

“Social media and online marketing are now important ingredients in every business’s marketing plan, and through Reimagine Main Street we want to help businesses in our community make the best use of these new media opportunities,” Miller said.

The O-R will sponsor a free seminar May 22 at the Cambria Suites Hotel on Racetrack Road in South Strabane Township for area small businesses that want to use social media to further promote themselves.

One of the services that will be offered through Reimagine Main Street will be website development.

Arlea Hoffman, digital marketing strategist at the O-R, said Reimagine Main Street is really a small-business marketing agency that serves its clients by using social media, email, search engine optimization, blogging and other tools to build business.

“We help small- and medium-sized businesses use these tools to strengthen relationships with existing customers and find new customers,” Hoffman said. “We work closely with clients to learn their products and services, understand their marketing goals and tune in to their best customers.”

Hoffman noted that studies have shown that while many businesses have a website, less than 5 to 10 percent of those are “mobile friendly,” meaning the site’s information is difficult to view with a smartphone. She added that some companies’ mobile websites provide a phone number, but often don’t permit dialing through the site.

Miller said the service will also include “reputation management,” which entails monitoring the client’s name online for negative or damaging comments posted on other websites of which the business owner may not be aware.

While Dream Local Digital provides its services to a number of newspapers and other media outlets around the country, Miller said the O-R is the only newspaper to provide the service in Washington, Greene and Allegheny counties.

“We’re the only entity that can sell their services in this market,” he said.

For more information on Reimagine Main Street, visit www.reimaginemainstreet.com

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