As a new business, it’s important that you don’t forget to invest in marketing. Although money might be tight there are a few ways to try to get your business name out there and start building brand awareness and gaining customers through your marketing efforts. This article will look at marketing strategies for a startup or new business by looking at the following areas:
- Set goals
- Optimise your website
- Email marketing
- Leveraging social media
- Create useful content
- Create a referral program
- Find a community
Set goals first
Begin your marketing strategy by deciding your business goals for your marketing. There are lots of potential goals that you might want your activity to achieve, such as:
- Increase sales or attract new clients
- Invite more direct enquiries
- Build your number of email subscribers
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Promote a specific piece of work, such as a case study or content like a report
- Showcase or announce a new service that you provide
One strategy can’t achieve everything for you, so pick a few aims and start creating strategies with them in mind to help you focus your activity and make your messaging specific to your goal.
Optimise your website
Your website must make a good first impression as it is your storefront for customers who find you online. Make sure it has a fast load time and is suitable for both web and mobile use. It should be clean looking as well as functional, which means it shouldn’t have distracting imagery or moving parts on pages that you want your customer to read. Keep it simple and effective so that customers who are new to you have a good experience on your website.
Start email marketing
Email can be a highly effective method to engage audiences, providing a valuable source of business leads when you work on it consistently. It’s also relatively cheap to get a program to help you manage it.
To stand out in an email inbox, you need to provide your subscribers with something that draws them to read it. If they feel it is not worth their time, they could delete it without reading it. To gain their interest, create emails that do one of the following:
- Solves a problem or improves something for them
- Grabs attention/shocks the reader
- Provides an easy way for them to fix something they are struggling with
- Gives them inspiration
In the B2B world, the way to your subscribers’ hearts is to show how you can save them time, stress or lessen their workload. If you are a product based B2C company, you might find more success with visual content, using before and after pictures, or creating aspirational content like mood boards or monthly roundups (such as ‘our favourite customer transformations’, ‘our top picks for summer’ and such like).
Post on social media
Depending on your business, you will have to first figure out where your target clients are spending their social media time and use that platform. It’s good to be active on all platforms, but in the early days, it might be more beneficial to pick the most useful and focus your time on making that platform really strong.
Generally, B2B businesses may have more success via Linkedin or Twitter, where the culture is centred around information sharing. If you are B2C or product based you may find more success with Instagram or Facebook because these are more visual platforms where you can feature attractive imagery.
Social media can be low cost, but be prepared to spend resources and time to build your profile and get the results you’re looking for.
Create useful content
Digital content is information and text on your website, so starting a business blog and creating content (articles) gives you the opportunity to both show your expertise and capture the attention of people searching for answers who may also be a good match for your business services or products.
A good way to get free article ideas is to Google a question your business gets asked all the time. Let’s say you are an electrician, and many of your customers ask you which colour is the live wire. Start by searching that question, and scroll down until you find the ‘People also ask’ list of more questions. This should give you a variety of related subjects to start creating articles about, to show potential customers that you are an authority on the topic.
Create a referral program
Let your customers help you promote the business by creating a referral system. This could be money off their next purchase, or a free hour of your time, depending on what your products and services are.
By offering the customer something valuable they may be more likely to share with their social circle — and it’s been shown that 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. This could open up your business to a whole new range of people.
Find a community
Try to make the most of opportunities that bring relevant groups together, this can be online on Facebook groups or forums, but also offline activity too.
For example, trade shows may put you in contact with influencers in your sector, as well as groups of customers who have not heard of your business. For instance, perhaps you have a gluten-free bakery, and attending ‘free-from’ events could get your company directly in front of your target audience and influencers who could work with you.
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