How to market your start up business
The majority of the new business start-up’s I have spoken to in the last year asked for help with Marketing. Marketing a Start Up Business is so important to get it ‘started’. Also if your Start Up Business has started its a good idea to streamline your marketing to find your ideal customers. Below are Paul Harpers tips on Marketing a Start Up Business.
Contact, reach-out and engage with your target market every day – its all about contacts.
The Internet is the answer – a wonderful and so easy business tool to contact target clients.
Central Marketing Folder – Start a Central Marketing Folder on your computer; add to this folder all your content text, logos and links so you are sending the same branded message.
You don’t need a website. But you do need to be on the Internet.
Starting your business
Starting a business is an exciting time, the dreams of the future is exciting. You are confident about your product and its good. But if nobody knows about your product – even equipped with the best product in the world – you will fail. Marketing is very often overlooked by start-ups in that they don’t budget enough money or more importantly time to ‘let people know you exist;. One client assures me he has a Lamborghini quality product for Ford prices! That got my attention but he wasn’t selling any product. The point is no matter how good you are We need to let people know the product/service exists.
All businesses need to be marketed, even the household names have to market their product. Kellogg’s suffered badly in 1950’s after stopping TV advertising. They were a household name anyway – who needs to advertise? Sales fell off a cliff.
Here is my guide to market your Start-Up Business and keep it in the limelight.
1 – Marketing with Money
Of course money can buy you exposure and this is the scariest part of marketing. A start-up usually can’t afford a fantastic marketing spend – be careful. Any fool can spend £1000 on a magazine advert and be proud of the glossy logo on the page that produces no ROI (Return on Investment). So tread carefully with ‘paid-for’ print and digital marketing. Check you have a chance of a ROI.
Marketing with Money TIP: Before you commit to ‘paid-for’ marketing ask for distribution and unique visitors data. Remember you need a lot of ‘Eye Balls’ on your advert before you get a click-through and then a contact. You need a lot of ‘Eye Balls’ and a very stimulating offer to get people to ‘action’ – pick up the phone etc. Ask to speak with three advertisers using the same marketing product, preferably in your sector before you commit. Don’t be fooled by dazzling numbers and unrealistic assumptions – you need to ascertain that the marketing product (we are talking magazines, email blasts, newspapers, online directory listings etc) will produce leads. If it works you can scale it up.
Never fall into the trap of ‘Its only £100 to have a go’ – who would throw £100 out of the window to see what happens?
2 – Marketing with Time
Allow some time in your working week to market your product. You will have business trading hours, usually 9-5. You have to allocate some additional time to complete invoicing, banking, tidying up etc. These actions should be done outside your trading hours – never do admin, for example, during trading hours. This applies to marketing your product too. Schedule some time to market your product, ideally not during trading hours.
Free Marketing. The internet is the answer; what’s the question?
Great free marketing is available on the Internet – you just need to dedicate a little time. You can do some marketing online at any hour of the day using Facebook updates, Twitter tweets, re-tweet, tweet favourite and blogs etc. Smart phone and tablet apps are available for this and mostly free.
WordPress website/blog software offers a free app that allows you to update your site and blog from anywhere.
HootSuite app can schedule social media updates for a later time too so you look active when your prospects are active on social media. Klout is a free Twitter deck – you can search content and re-tweet now or scheduled. Clever; Klout will schedule your tweet to the most active time based on target market. Its really easy to use and you just login with your Twitter user/pass.
Free website directories exist galore. Google them and add your details and add your business deals with a link to your website. Examples; Freeindex, Google Local, Dmoz.
Content feeds like Google Alert and Klout (mentioned above) are excellent fast ways to find and share content with prospective clients via social media.
Marketing with Time
Download the Firefox ‘add-on’ that allows you to populate forms on directory listing sites in a click or two. Autofill Forms enables you to fill out web forms with one click.
Use eBay as a business tool. If you’re selling a product – use eBay as a lead generator or fast market research tool. Another powerful tool is eBays little cousin ‘Gumtree’. Gumtree is getting pretty popular and mainstream to allow you to reach out locally or nationally. It offers a free listing option for just about anything.
3 – Marketing with Structure.
The most often overlooked marketing aspect for your business; structure. Structure your business practices to include some marketing.
For example; A Courtesy Call – if you’re visiting a client, pop in next-door and the surrounding locations to introduce yourself. Structure to call on five surrounding locations per appointment visit. People buy from people they have met. ‘Your helping a neighbour’, they should at least talk to you.
Marketing with Structure TIP:
Flyer. Put together a simple flyer and keep with you to leave with each ‘Courtesy Call’.
CRM. Build a CRM database and add every contact. If you’re working on or visiting a client on say ‘West Street’ and your CRM tells you you met a prospect who is located near ‘West Street’ you can call the prospect (using the CRM) and arrange to visit on the same trip; catch up, drop some information in to build the relationship.
4 – Marketing with a Website:
A website works well with all three above. A website is the cornerstone of your business. A website will produce a return on your investment from launch – when operated correctly. Of course a website can be a blog, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile page depending on the business type.
Marketing with a Website TIP:
List your URL (web address) everywhere, including your voice mail recording, invoices, vehicles, flyers and signs.
Don’t say w- w- w; we know websites begin with www now!
Spend money on your website. Someone experienced could probably set up a simple website in day or two. Pay them to do it while you work your business.
It’s pretty but doesn’t work! Website should look nice of course but make sure it’s easy to navigate, optimised, has a call to action, makes sense, explains what you do quickly and clearly and its updated often aswell as looking pretty.
Let your website evolve. Add layers of information to your website as you have time and you understand what your clients require from the website. Let it evolve based on you and your clients requirements.
Use your website to streamline your business. Use your website to provide information to your current clients, staff and prospective new clients. Prices lists, FAQ’s, Directions, Tips, Helpful Directory, User Manuals, Opening Times, Staff Information etc. – Refer to the website and sections of it as required.
Dedicate time to blog and update it.
Some of the best website platforms are now free! Open source software like WordPress and Joomla are a very good basis for your website. But you need someone who can build it and a graphics designer to make it look good. Check out online portals to hire-in skills like Freelancer and UpWork. Ask to see examples of work and contact the freelancers clients to ask them if they were happy with the work before hiring – or – request a ‘test job’ first to see how reliable the freelancer is. Don’t fall into the trap of the friends cousin who can build you a website in his bedroom- he can’t!
Overall marketing your product or service boils down to one thing: Contact.
Make 20 new contacts every business day. This equates to 100 new contacts per week, 4,800 new contacts per year. These new contacts can be appointments, meeting people at network meetings, website contacts, website enquiries, social media contacts, courtesy calls or a cold call on the phone. 4,800 contacts in your CRM – people you have talked to/engaged with about you’re business is powerful. A percentage will buy from you. What percentage this is, is up to you.
If 20 contacts a day produces £100,000 turnover – what will 40 contacts per day produce?
Paul Harper is a marketing consultant for national organisations, support agencies and businesses direct. He is MD of Zedcomms.com Business marketing support services.
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