According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were over 5 million new businesses started in 2022 (42% increase from pre-pandemic levels). Statistics show that at least 20% of those businesses will fail in the first year if they have not done so already.
There are a variety of reasons businesses fail quickly – poor business model, lack of capital, competitive market, inferior product, etc. But there are plenty of businesses that succeed in their first year and grow beyond. A lot of this has to do with their go-to-market (GTM) strategy and, within that, the marketing strategy for launching the business.
It takes more than a good idea and a good product to be successful. Because if no one knows about it, the business is doomed to fail. So, what are some important things to consider for a marketing strategy when launching a new business?
A big mistake that many new businesses make when launching is to not identify their target audience and focus marketing efforts on that target audience. Marketing to an audience that is too broad will stretch budgets too thin and lack impact on the customers that will actually buy your product.
Identify the audience that is likely to buy your product and focus your attention on them. Demographics to consider when identifying your target audience:
Level of Education
Good practice is to regularly review your target audience and analyze if it needs to be adjusted. For example, you may find that a certain level of income is more responsive to your advertising. So, you adjust the ad targeting, language, and messaging that you use to appeal to this demographic.
There are thousands of media channels that can be used to market a business. But there is no single template for businesses to use that will guarantee success. After identifying your target audience, the next step is to identify where that audience is most likely to see your brand and product, and engage.
Many people don’t consider it, but a website is an important marketing channel for inbound marketing. Websites, when well-designed and optimized for search engines, increase awareness and generate leads. Websites also help establish a better reputation for a legitimate business. According to statistics, 97% of people who want to learn more about a business search online.
Social media is the current “obvious” marketing channel that many businesses gravitate to because it is free and has the potential to reach millions of people. However, it’s important to identify which social media channels your target audience is spending their time and how to communicate through those channels. Social media has become a very competitive landscape. So understanding how to navigate the intricacies of managing a business profile and generating engagement are key to success.
Traditional Digital Media
Traditional digital media, such as TV and radio, still have a place in marketing strategies for certain businesses. According to a study by MRI-Simmons, 91% of adults listen to the radio at least once per week and 76% watch live TV and cable programs. Believe it or not, both of those numbers are larger than the number of weekly social media users.
Print’s not dead. Contrary to popular belief, there is still a place in marketing strategies for print (for many businesses). What’s included in print marketing? It’s more than newspapers, magazines, and billboards. Print marketing also includes signs, banners, business cards, brochures, stickers, magnets, booklets, promotional items, direct mail, sales materials, and more. Many printed business items even result in better ROI than their digital counterparts.
In-person marketing isn’t reserved for local businesses, although it is less costly. But despite the cultural shift to online communications, marketing your business in person presents benefits that online marketing does not. When communicating in person, it is easier to read body language and how a person is reacting to your pitch. It is also harder for a person to ignore or dismiss you in person. Identify in-person marketing opportunities to decide if they are right for the launch of your business: trade shows, networking events, community events, handouts, etc.
It's important to consider all these channels when planning your GTM strategy. Identify which options are most likely to get you in front of your target audience and work within your budget.
Once you have established your business, got the operations up and running, and identified your target audience and marketing channels, the final item to consider for marketing your launch is promotion. What is the “wow” factor that is going to get people to stop and engage with your new business?
The most important thing to know is that an omnichannel approach has been proven to work significantly better than a single method of promotion. This means implementing marketing through multiple methods: website, social media, digital advertising, print advertising, in-person, etc. Here are some marketing ideas for your launch:
Grand Opening Event
For brick-and-mortar businesses, a lot of owners choose to have a “grand opening” event. If this is the strategy you choose to follow, focus on making a splash by promoting the event before, during, and after it takes place.
Utilize direct mail to reach your target audience in the local area. Install banners and signs with “coming soon,” opening date information, and product information (if it is not obvious). Post on social media and encourage friends and family to spread the word.
A grand opening event can be a big jumping off point for a successful business if planned and executed well. But if it lacks attendees or people have a negative experience at the event, it could reflect poorly and damage your reputation before you even begin.
Discounts and Giveaways
Everyone loves free stuff. A great way to generate buzz and get people to try your product is to give it away for free or a big discount. This strategy is perfect for businesses that are offering something unique to the market or if you believe it is better than competitors.
An important factor to consider when offering free items or discounts is to not giveaway too much that you go over budget or lose potential revenue. For example: if you offer steep lifetime discounts for early adopters, it could result in lost future revenue from customers that would have been your largest revenue drivers.
Word-of-Mouth and Influencer Buzz
Surveys have shown that 95% of consumers read online reviews before shopping and 92% of consumers report trusting recommendations from friends and family over paid advertisements. That is why generating buzz about your new business via word-of-mouth is an essential piece to being successful.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by using your employees (or yourself if you’re a one-person show) brand ambassadors. Employees are the most likely to talk positively and enthusiastically about your business with friends and family.
You can also employ “influencers” to reach your target audience. When working with influencers, make sure you clearly lay out the requirements, messaging, and compensation. Always make it official with a contract.
And lastly, use your happy customers. Encourage customers to leave a review online, share their experience on social media, and tell acquaintances. You can entice them to share positive reviews with discounts, giveaways, and recognition.
All of these items are important for your go-to-market strategy, but nothing is more important than maintaining the momentum and implementing an on-going marketing strategy. Omega has over 70 years of print and digital marketing experience, working with businesses of all sizes to create impactful marketing materials. Contact our team for a free consultation to discuss your business and what we can do to help you succeed.