How To Effectively Market Your New Business!
Q: What is the best way for a first time entrepreneur to get word out about their startup? A. Dickinson Vancouver, B.C. Canada
As a new business owner you have a seemingly ever growing to-do list.. You have to register your business entity, choose between business models and locations, decide how much to charge for your products and services… the list goes on and on. The best marketing strategy for your business is just one of the many things you have to create. Your strategy is an ever-evolving mix of tactics and channels. The marketing tactics you choose will determine how effectively your business finds and wins new customers—and how much time and money you’ll spend to achieve it. With all of the marketing opportunities available, where do you as a new business owner start? Here are two of the most effective and how to get started.
1. Build Word of Mouth
I am going to give marketing biggest success secret. Ready? The very best and most effective marketing tools you could use are usually free. In the marketing world, word of mouth is the gold standard. Simply put, word of mouth means people are talking about your business and recommending you to their friends and family. Word of mouth doesn’t cost your business anything, yet it can spur five times more sales than paid advertising. And consumers are 90% more likely to trust and buy from businesses recommended by friends. Any television programming in your local area that runs before the 5 o’clock hour is always a good candidate for a local story. Often if it is well received you may be added to the prime time news to add local flavor to the show.
So, the next question is how to get on the show. Well, first you are going to have to do a little research. That means you are going to need to watch a little television and target the show you think will fit your business the best. Next, you need to pay close attention to the credits at the end of the show to find out who the producers are for that show. You also need to observe what kinds of stories they are looking for. Now think about your business and how you can benefit the show. Ask yourself how having you and your company on the show would benefit the show and its audience? If you could personalize the benefits of your business to the producer and then show how those same benefits would appeal to the shows viewer when you present your pitch, even better. One more thing and this is key, never and I mean never, make a pitch online or over the phone to local media. Always make your presentation in person. You want to build that personal contact and eventually relationship with members of the local media. When customers start saying great things about your business, it’s important that you’re ready to capitalize on that positive buzz. For businesses just starting out, here’s how to make some headway:
Claim your Business Online
When consumers hear good things about your business, what do they do next? For most, that means heading online to learn more about the business. If that word of mouth is going to turn into sales, they have to be able to find your business online. That’s why the first step in building word of mouth is claiming your business’ online real estate. That includes places like Google My Business, the Better Business Bureau, and any third party review websites that serve your industry. Simply claim your profile on these sites and ensure all of the information is up-to-date and accurate.
Get on Social
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, much of the chatter that happens online happens on social media. Social websites are where consumers talk about their experiences—both good and bad. Where customers go for support and where potential new customers learn more about your business.
When potential customers look for you on social media, it’s important that you’re both A) there, and B) participating in the narrative about your business. Create an account on the major social media networks, and dip your toes into posting about your industry, engaging with customers, and (to a lesser extent) promoting your business. And no, you don’t need to be on every platform. Start with just one that is also the focus of your target market and then master it. If you would like to chat with us or ask questions you can find us on Twitter!
Set Up a Referral Program
One of the most reliable ways to get customers talking about your business is to set up a referral program so that there’s an incentive for happy customers to tell their network. In a joint survey by Verizon and Small Business Trends, small business owners said they acquire more new customers through referrals than any other channel. That’s why it’s worth the time investment to set up an automated referral program from the very outset of your business. Simply choose an incentive (something as small as $10 off their next purchase will do the trick) and then find a tool to help you automate the whole process.
2. Build a Following
As a new business, you’re cooking from scratch—and the secret sauce for success is a loyal and engaged group of followers. Customers, brand advocates, social proof…all of these help expand your reach and market yourself to a new and ever-broader base of potential customers. However, you have to build that initial following first. Here a few tips to help you get started.
Engage on Social
Now that your business exists across the big social media networks, you can use them to help spread the word about who your business is and amass a following of current and potential customers.
How? By being active on social—posting about your industry, sharing updates along your business journey—and engaging with others. Social media networks are built for two-way communication. Make the most of that by participating in conversations and engaging with digital events (like Twitter chats, live streams, and hashtag campaigns.)
Don’t just post updates and cross your fingers the right people will see them. Follow your customers and big industry players. Encourage customers to interact with your brand on social. Have an opinion, and share your perspective on broad industry matters. Compile a list of relevant hashtags to keep track of and engage with.
Start an Email List
Email marketing is routinely ranked among the most effective marketing tactics—for businesses large and small. It’s one of the most cost effective ways to drive both customer acquisition and retention. That’s why you want to set the stage early on in your business for more robust email campaigns down the line.
That starts with building a list of subscribers. Your email list is full of consumers who are engaged enough to open up their coveted inbox and ask you to stay in touch. That’s powerful. Add an email capture to your website (at the top of your sidebar, in a pop-up, and/or a persistent bar), your social media profiles, even your email signature. The subscribers you collect now will become an invaluable resource down the line, when you can truly invest in a broader email marketing strategy. Our favorite tool for this is AWeber. We have been using them for years. They are extremely user friendly and wonderful customer support.
I hope this has given you some inspiration and encouragement as you begin to build your business. If you find you still have more questions than answers, please feel free to Contact Us. We are here to help you succeed! You can also join the fun on our Twitter chat and get your questions answered directly! We love hearing from you!
I would like to offer you one more tool that covers multiple areas of your business, but specifically marketing your business and that is Business Genesis. Chapter 19 walks you through the most effective marketing tips, tools, and methods and then shows you exactly how to implement them into your own business marketing practices for maximum results.
How have gotten your business noticed? If you have a tip that has worked for you let us know and share it with others. You can also add your questions or comments below. I read everyone and answer as many as I can personally. If you need more personalized help please feel free to Contact US. Of course, you are always welcome to join the conversation with us on our Twitter page!
Have a comment or question about this week’s post? Let us hear from you! Post your own success stories or ask a question about how to move your own business forward to success! We love hearing from you and read every post personally! You can join the fun on our Twitter Chat and share your own success tips! If you are looking for more practical hands-on help we have two other resources for you. First, we have created an actual Small Business Toolkit for small business owners just like you to help you start and grow your own successful business and meet today’s challenges head-on with confidence. You can find yours right here.
If you have a question about your business please feel free to Contact Us and send a personal message. We love hearing from you and will respond just as quickly as we can.