[su_dropcap style=”flat”]W[/su_dropcap]HEN A LOT of people dream about owning their own business, all they see are the good parts. Obviously, you want to get to a point where you’re sitting back and thinking of the empire you’ve created. I hate to be the one to tell you, but owning a business requires a lot more than that! One of the most important things in your business’s early stages is marketing. Without a good initial marketing drive, your company isn’t going to go anywhere fast. To help you with this, here are some of my best tips on marketing your new business.
First of all, if you produce consumer products, give some of them away. I know, money’s probably tight in these early stages. However, giving away free samples is one of the best ways to get people talking about your business. For instance, let’s say you were producing a new soft drink. This is a niche which is fiercely competitive. If you were a consumer, you’d stick with the brands you know and trust rather than buying something you didn’t recognise, right? But what if you were just walking along, and someone offered you a free taster? You, and millions of other people, would pick it up without thinking. If it’s practical, giving away your products for free can be a fantastic marketing technique.
So what if your business is B2B? If you can’t afford to give everyone an industrial conveyor belt, that’s understandable. You can still create a lot of buzz about your business through press releases. Print media may be on its last legs, but even in this digital age press releases can still be a powerful marketing tool. In fact, modern press release distribution services are designed to help with a business’s SEO. One of the great things about press releases is that they can be used for any business, in any niche. Heart-warming human interest stories really pop out on regular news websites. However, there are all kinds of trade magazines and blogs which are geared towards a certain niche. Try finding a few publications which would work, and pitching stories to them.
A good habit to have is engaging with your customers right after a purchase. This will usually take the form of newsletters or emails. Provided they’re not too obtrusive, these will make your brand a lot more personable and distinct. Get a professional-looking letterhead, and send it out to anyone who says they’re interested. The frequency of this shouldn’t be any more than once a fortnight, but should be at least once a month. If you’re running a B2B business, then maintain a professional, formal tone. If it’s B2C, then write in a more friendly, humorous and approachable way. Make sure to include any important company news, special offers or events. Sending this material to people who want it can do a lot for your professional image. Just make sure they have the option to cancel it!
My next tip is to make sure you’re visible on social networks. You’ve probably heard this advice a million times in the past week. Still, once more won’t hurt! Social media marketing is such a big topic these days for a simple reason; it works. Social networks are what countless people use for most of their news. If you’re not fostering a healthy social media presence, then you’re neglecting a huge part of your customer base. I could write a whole other feature on social media marketing, but start with the basics. You should at least have a Facebook business page, where you can tell followers about any discounts and offers you’re running. If you deal with other business owners, then a LinkedIn presence is also pretty essential. Choose a range of networks which are right for your business, and utilise them however you can.
Finally, touch up your website. Operating under a shoddy website is something a lot of new businesses are guilty of. It’s also one of the most damaging things you can do for your initial marketing drives. Take a look at your current site, and compare it with some of your competitors’. If you see things they’re doing which you’re not, it’s probably time for an update. Visual gimmicks obviously have little effect on the way your business runs. However, if you don’t keep your site looking professional and modern, you’ll end up with a pretty high bounce rate. Check out web design journals for some hot modern features. It may be worth hiring a professional web designer to get the best results.