You’ve started your own business and told your friends, family and your cat that you’re going to make it big.
You might have an actual office, with actual staff to boss around, or you might be doing all your hard work out of your spare room from a desk with a broken drawer and a coffee mug that says, “I’m my own boss”.
Whatever your situation is, marketing can be your best friend and it will help you advance your business by leaps and bounds.
Here are some tips on how to become a marketing whiz kid:
Know Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Before you even think about turning your computer on to craft up your catchy logo and your viral video, think about your target audience.
Always bear them in mind as you’re creating your content. If you have a lot of competition in your field of business, then think about what makes yours stand out from the crowd.
Do you have a unique selling proposition?
If so, think about a way that you can effectively brandish it and then at every occasion make sure you hit it home.
This is where your ‘Spiel’ comes into play. You know it by heart, back to front, standing on your head, and you can do it in a different language even (actually in all seriousness very impressive and a great way to get ahead of your competitors!). Sign up to any talks, conferences and training days that are relevant to your work, and get mingling! It’s like speed dating but without the sweating and the awkwardness.
This is a great opportunity to meet some fantastic, like-minded people, and you may even meet your future business partner or someone to help you out of a jam.
Email List Building and Lead Magnets
Once you have started building up a following, keep it up!
If newsletters are your thing, and compiling a database of emails is your game, then why not have a reason for your customers to sign up?
If you are a budding travel company, then how about offering a chance to be entered into a competition for a free getaway after you sign up?
Once again, if the budget is tight, then something simple like a T-shirt or a free hat is enough.
A referral program also helps to build your fan-base. Offering a free service, for example a month’s free membership, for a friend referring a friend to your business is valuable and should be rewarded as such.
Learn Your Spiel
What do you do exactly? When you’re out for dinner or drinks, and someone asks you that age-old question, how do you answer it?
If you find that the person you’re speaking to genuinely fears that their life may perish from acute boredom because of what you’re spouting, then you clearly need to work on your delivery.
Practice in the mirror, practice with your cat, practice with that bored barfly again. If you make it appealing, passionate and you believe in it, then this will do wonders down the line when you meet potential clients and attend networking events.
Now you can turn your computer on (that’s if you’re reading this on your phone or tablet. If you’re reading this on your computer, then you’re already one step ahead of the game).
Link your business up with all the social media outlets that you feel are appropriate. While some say that you should “keep it simple”, “less is more” etc. others claim that you should cast a wide net by using as many media platforms as possible.
There’s no template to follow on this one. Every business venture differs, you can’t apply one marketing plan to all and expect overnight success, but what you can do is measure your success (or failure) as you go.
Having said that, Facebook is a great choice for startups and their ads are economic while being extremely targeted. You can even get promos and discounts for paid ads for those of you with a very stretched budget.
Various web-hosting companies even offer advertising discounts as part and parcel of their membership fee. So, use those ads, regularly upload relevant posts, and slowly build up your audience. You want to be the first business people think of when they want a product in your field.
Similarly, use YouTube to your advantage, and with a decent smartphone you can create a professional looking video. If you don’t feel comfortable making a video, then consider hiring media students. They may not have much experience, but they will be eager, easy to work with and, what’s more, cheap.
This is where the fun, original, interactive side of you gets to shine. Get stickers and place them all over town.
You can incorporate this into your incentivizing program by having a photo competition.
The best, most original photo that features your sticker wins, and you are effectively getting other people to do your marketing for free.
If you want to be a bit artier, then think about using street chalk with your logo, or painting a mural in an upcoming part of town, it might even go viral.
Publish High Quality Content
This goes without saying, but always make sure that what you are publishing is top notch, and ensure that you follow up on what you post and get involved in any discussion that arises out of it.
If you can write it yourself, then that’s great, but if not, then look to outsourcing the job to talented, budding writers that are looking for experience.
Marketing is a fine art, it doesn’t’ have to be expensive, and when it works it can be beautiful. It is, however, a game of trial and error, so see what works for you, and don’t give up! Keep working hard and keep growing your business!
Photo Credit: Pixabay