Starting a new business? You’ll want to spread the word about the great products or services you offer. After all, people can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist!
Marketing is the process of promoting your brand. You might be thinking TV commercials, billboards and online ads, but when you’re just starting out these may not be an option. In fact, there are many smaller steps you should take in the beginning to help build a sound marketing strategy.
Here are 5 marketing tips for new small businesses:
Register a website URL
No matter what your business is, people now expect to find a website for it. This is a great way to help build brand awareness, share your story and showcase products and services. Even if you’re not selling anything online, a website could be a strong base for your marketing strategy.
There are many options available for website hosting and building, but the first step is registering your URL. The sooner you do this, the better. Savvy competitors could snap up your business’ name and redirect it to their own site—that’s bad news for you! When you register your URL, consider getting other popular domain names, such as .net or .biz, too. This could help expand your brand’s reach even more.
Set up social media profiles
Customers also expect businesses to have a social media presence. As with a website, social media profiles can help communicate important info about your company and build brand awareness. They can also foster brand loyalty, by encouraging your biggest supporters to continue engaging with you after purchase.
You don’t need to be posting on every social media platform, but you might want to consider setting up accounts for a few of the most popular (like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Again, competitors could claim your preferred username, so try to register them yourself as soon as possible.
Learn to write a press release
Press releases are another way to talk about your business. They can be used for just about anything, from launching a new product or announcing exciting changes, to managing a crisis or getting ahead of a news story. A well-written press release could be the “secret weapon” of your marketing strategy.
Writing a press release is as much an art as it is a science. There are plenty of online guides to help you draft one from scratch, as well as free templates to help get you started. Putting some care and effort into your press release could pay off big—news outlets may use it to write a story about your brand.
Not sure what to write? Here’s an example: Momentum Life, an NZ life insurance company, issued a press release to announce receiving their life insurance licence. The release highlights the changes this brought to the business and their customers.
Reply (professionally) to customer reviews
No matter what your business is, you should expect to eventually receive customer reviews. People want to share their experience with others—both positive and negative. How you handle this feedback is important.
Claiming your business profile on a few sites and then directing customer there to leave a review could make it easier to see what’s being said and respond in a timely manner. It won’t stop people from leaving reviews elsewhere, but it may help keep most of them in one place.
It’s good to respond to every review, both good and bad. The customer who left the review may not always read your reply, but it will show others that you’re paying attention and willing to help. Your responses should always be professional. A rude or defensive follow up can give the wrong impression to customers—or worse, go viral in a bad way.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Starting a business can be hard work and expensive, too. You may feel stretched thin by the responsibility, but also reluctant to trust others with your best interests or worry about added expenses. However, you’re not an expert on everything. Asking for marketing assistance could help your business reach the next level of success.
The steps above are great starting points, but you may soon need more advanced help, like search engine optimisation (SEO) or secure online payments, to see your business grow. Paying someone who already has these skills could save you hours of research and wasted effort.
There are many online marketing services that could help, with plans priced especially for small businesses. You may find that an affordable option is within your budget, and it may quickly pay for itself by generating new sales!
Marketing doesn’t need to be mysterious for small business owners. The basics is a good place to start, so get started registering website domains, setting up social media, brainstorming press release ideas and looking out for customer reviews. And don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it! Building a strong marketing base and talking to experts could translate to business success.