Congratulations! You’ve got a great business idea and your instinct tells you it’s going to work. The problem is, whilst you may have unlimited passion, your marketing budget doesn’t have far to spread. If that’s a problem you’re currently facing read on and discover 15 ways to market your business start-up that will help spread the word about your new business without breaking the bank.
1. Get to know your target customer
This is key. To ensure your marketing is effective, it must appeal to the group of people you want to attract. To do that it’s important you take the time to define your buyer persona. If you’ve clearly identified your target customer, your marketing message will be sharper, more targeted, and more effective. If you like to learn more about the importance of defining your target market.
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02. Stop selling. Start helping.
This quote from Zig Ziglar is well worth remembering. No one wants to be sold to, but we do want to work with people who are willing to help and assist. Seek ways to demonstrate your usefulness. You could answer questions in forums, respond to social media questions, pack your blog with helpful advice and offer free consultations.
3. Create your base station
Before you do anything else you need a rock-solid base station. This is likely to be your website so if you have a limited budget, it’s worth investing it here. The reason? Whenever you connect with a potential client (whether that’s face-to-face, via social media, or from a referral), that person is going to be keen to learn more about you, and the first place they will head is your website.
What impression does your website create for your business?
4. Build a social media presence
Social media is here to stay and smart start-ups are honing their strategy, building their connections, and engaging their customers. Avoid the temptation to rush up your Twitter profile, start a Facebook page or write your LinkedIn CV. Instead, figure out which platform is right for you and invest time and effort in building your presence on that one. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn may be the most obvious but don’t forget Youtube, Pinterest, and other evolving social platforms.
To really benefit from social media you need to develop a consistent, engaging, and reliable presence. Have a strategy you can measure, and use social media to direct people to your website or other base station.
A word of warning. You’ve got “get” social media before you can truly harness its results. Don’t simply use it to broadcast your sales message, instead, it’s all about showing up, being interesting, and engaging in 2-way conversations with your target audience.
5. Start a blog
A well-written and structured blog can develop into a powerful marketing tool for your new business. Here’s a summary of the key benefits a blog offers:
- Google loves fresh content and will rank your site more highly because of it
- Publishing quality, relevant and informative articles can help build your reputation
- If you write your own blog it is a cheap form of advertising
- A blog can be used to drive more traffic to your website
In addition, help is the key route to selling. By providing informative articles that address the questions and concerns your customers face, you can end up being the one to go to.
6. Network face-to-face
The success of your business is going to depend on the connections and relationships that you build around it. Use networking to let people discover how you can help them, but also to identify how you can help others. The power of networking comes through referrals and your ability to sell through the room. Networking can take time to pay off, but the investment is worth it. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce, regional groups like Leading Women, and also National networking organizations such as 4Networking. Explore a selection of groups and you&ll soon find the right one for you.
7. Hone a cracking 30-second elevator pitch
Communicating the essence of your business in a way that captures the interest and attention of the person you are speaking to is a very powerful marketing tool. Avoid stating what you do and instead, present how you solve the problems faced by your clients. For example, instead of saying you’re a virtual assistant, you could explain how you save busy business owners time and money by handling stressful administration tasks which they hate.
A great elevator pitch will help you stand out from the crowd when networking as well as encourage you to get really clear on how you differ from your competition and add value to your customers.
9. Write a press release at least once a month
Securing media coverage for your business is an extremely powerful marketing tactic. That’s because potential customers will always value 3rd party recommendations above what you say yourself. It’s worth building relationships with local journalists and getting really clear on the magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio shows your target customer dips into. You’ll need to learn how to write a press release to maximize your chances of securing coverage, and then you need to stay alert for situations and events that happen in your business that are newsworthy. Once you’ve spotted one, send it out to the relevant media.
10. Build your email list/database
It’s where the money is so develop a strategy to get it nailed. Place an opt-in form on your website and create a valuable piece of content to entice readers in return for that valuable email address. Then devise a strategy to communicate with your list on a regular basis. That could vary from emailing your blog, sending a more personalized email or circulating your valuable email content. Write a double-sided marketing leaflet. On the front include an informative article offering tips and advice, on the back advertise your services.
11. Stay in touch with your existing customers…
And communicate to make warm leads hot. Newsletters and email autoresponder sequences can be good for this.
12. Commission some good quality business cards.
Business cards are a must-have. Ensure they include your name and contact details and add your social media contacts too. Most business cards look the same so have a chat with your designer and see if you can come up with something a little more inventive that will make your card stand out and be more memorable. Add a picture of yourself.
13. Create your LinkedIn profile.
If you are selling B2B it makes sense to be on LinkedIn and make a strong impression with your profile. Avoid the temptation to fill it in sparsely, but give enough information to make you sound interesting. And remember your profile can be optimized.
In addition, LinkedIn has a high domain authority and appears high up on Google. Make sure when people search for your name, they like what they read.
14. Do some talks
People like to buy from experts and delivering talks on your specialist topic can help position you in this zone. Look out for opportunities at your local networking group or visit social enterprise networks and community groups. Aim to figure out where your target market is likely to be and reach out to them. Alternatively, hire a venue and organize your own seminar, talk, or workshop. Then create a take-home for attendees to take away with them to ensure your business stays at the forefront of their minds.
15. Create a referral system
Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing strategies you can implement. Consider setting up a referral system where you actively encourage existing customers to spread the word on your behalf and tell other people who you can help. Try offering an incentive to encourage clients to refer you.
You cant run a successful business without engaging in some form of consistent marketing activity. It’s the only way you are going to successfully attract leads, find customers and grow your reputation.
However, as a new business start-up, it can be confusing to know where best to invest your money.
Do what you can for free and always assess whether your marketing message has been specifically designed to appeal to your target market. If it doesn’t, you could have an expensive failure on your hands.