If you're a small business owner, you tend to turn your hand at everything and anything, you're a plumber but you're also a finance manager, a marketing manager, a HR manager, and in the beginning what do you really know about all that?
You learn as you go, learn the hard way sometimes, so why not get some advice from people who have been doing it for a living for years?
So you've just decided to take the plunge with your new business venture.... It's all very exciting, but where the hell should you start with your marketing right? Well, here are some of my tips, not THE ONLY things you can do, but SOME things to think about.
1) Sort out your branding.
Figure out who your target audience is and what is going to influence them. Establish your mission, why do you exist? Research your competitors, what do they do well, how could you do better? What makes you special and what value do you bring to the lives of your customers. Get deep and meaningful with yourself and your brand before you so much as form your company name.
2) Form your name, logo, tagline and brand voice.
Something that reinforces the identity of your business, a colour palette that allows your brand to stand out and think about the tone of voice you are going to use in your communication. Friendly or formal, fun or serious.
3) Get online as soon as possible.
Online doesn’t necessarily mean you need an all singing all dancing website, it really depends on your business. Businesses who rely on word of mouth can gain a lot from starting off with a Facebook page. Get some pictures and recommendations on there and start posting to your own network of contacts for support.
4) If a website is what your business needs, research your domain name.
It needs to be easy to type, short and sweet and ideally using keywords. Your keywords are words that describe your business that people might search for on Google. Research the name you’ve chosen to make sure it’s not associated to anything else.
5) Develop a buyer persona.
Your marketing really depends on your target audience. You wouldn’t advertise your business nationally if you weren’t prepared to supply, so think about their job title, age, gender, marital status, income, lifestyle, what are their goals in life, what do they value, what challenges do they face, where do they go for their information, what might stop them doing business with you?
6) Customer experience!
What’s your place of work going to look like? This is a reflection on your brand, so it needs to be a compliment to that. The atmosphere, how do you want your customers to feel? What processes do you need in place to ensure it is a positive customer experience? What tangible things will they receive? How are they packaged? Who else is representing your brand? How do they look and do they present the right look?
7) Collect emails for future campaigns.
Customer data is gold! Establish a way to harness emails from your clients, collect them in exchange for something, ask them if they’d be interested in future special offers. Email marketing is another great way to communicate with your future customers.
8) PR and advertising is more than just paying for an ad in a magazine.
Sure, some targeted print advertising can be useful in creating awareness or supporting a promotion but advertising your business can be free with the help of social media. With tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, you can consistently distribute marketing content without even having to be sat in front of your computer.
9) Promotions and events.
What collateral do you need, are there any fairs you can attend to support your business? Do you want to hold an open day, special offers on certain product ranges?
10) Book a brand workshop with The Design Grove.
One of my branding workshops can help point you in the right direction with your marketing and your business. Helps you get everything out of your head and into some sort of structure that you can work with.