The start of the new year is a time when people wipe the slate clean and start fresh. For some who have an entrepreneurial spirit, the new year means finally taking the steps toward starting a business. You have the catchy name. The logo is exactly what you envisioned. And people are going to fawn over your one-of-a-kind product and service. But how are people going to know about it?
If you scroll through social media or see the ads online, starting a business and getting seen by millions of people is as easy breathing. But for the one person that succeeded in getting rich quick without having to do a lot of work, there are a million other people who failed to see success.
That’s why a key component of your business plan should be the multifaceted aspects of marketing.
A website may not seem like a necessity when starting a business. However, having a website benefits you in multiple ways:
A website boosts positive brand perception when potential customers search for your product or service. It provides a sense of legitimacy.
A website provides a platform to share more information about your brand, products, and services.
A website is a place to build a custom personality for your brand, with almost no limits.
A website increases visibility online. Think: the more places your business is located, the more likely people are to find it.
If you don’t have experience creating a website, or if you consider yourself “computer illiterate,” the idea of creating a website for your business can sound overwhelming. Luckily, there is a plethora of online tools to make the process easy with templates and plug-ins.
Purchase a Domain
You can create a free website using a website building platform. However, they typically add their name to your domain, which doesn’t look appealing. So, you can purchase a unique domain name (typically your business name) for a relatively low cost from several web hosting services.
GoDaddy is a popular web hosting service because of their advertising. However, you can research the many options available and choose the one that makes the most sense for you and your budget.
Use a Website Building Platform
Next, if you lack coding skills, you can build a beautiful website using any of a number of website-building platforms, such as Shopify, Wix, or WordPress. Each of these platforms offers different features and benefits. But they all have free and low-cost templates from which you can choose.
Choose a template that makes sense for your type of business and the feel of your brand. Templates typically have blocks that allow you to place images or text in an attractive and functioning layout for both desktop and mobile devices.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While building your website, make sure you are considering optimizing it for search engines to crawl the site and help you appear higher in search results on Google, Bing, or other search engines. Some of the basic ways to help your SEO are:
Use “Heading” text for keywords on pages. These are the first pieces of text on your web pages that search engines see and prioritize. They also appear in the linked snippets in the search results that people see.
Include accurate descriptions with keywords in your meta description tags. These are the snippets that appear in search results under the linked header. People will use this to determine if your webpage is what they are looking for.
Create key pages with the least number of “breadcrumbs” to get to them. Breadcrumbs are the pathway to a page via other pages and show in the URL of that page. For example, if a visitor must click into three different pages to get to the desired page, the URL would be https://www.domainname/page1/page2/page3.
Add descriptive, concise alternative text to images. Search engines cannot “see” images, but they can read alternative text that is associated with images. By default, if you do not add alternative text, search engines will see the name of the image file.
Social media is the best free space to tell your brand story, promote your products, and engage with the largest audience. But there are best practices to get the most out of your social media experience:
Identify the best platforms for your target audience. There are plenty of social media platforms to choose from, but if your target audience isn’t present on them, it’s a waste of your time and energy to post there.
When using multiple platforms, create user handles that are consistent and identifiable across all the platforms.
Utilize the most appropriate type of media for the platform and speak to the audience. It’s easy to copy and paste a post across all platforms. However, the tone and message on one platform may lack effectiveness on another platform.
Engage with your followers. Many businesses make the mistake of having a one-way conversation on social media and not engaging with other users. Create content that generates conversation, then engage in that conversation.
Video content is king. Statistics show that video posts get more views and more engagement on social media.
Create calls to action that drive traffic to your website or other selling platforms. Social media is a great tool to… be social. But for businesses, the goal should be to get sales. There should always be a call-to-action (CTA) that will get people to buy what you’re selling.
Collateral Marketing Materials
In addition to the online presence and promotion, you should also use collateral materials that are going to help you generate new business and get customers to keep coming back. There are countless materials that can be utilized. But here are a few to consider to promote and grow your business:
Postcards – These can be sent out as direct mailers or included in packages to provide more information about the product or service. An effective postcard will include a sale or call-to-action to drive visitors to a store or website.
Brochures – Brochures are a great informational tool to promote features and benefits, as well as upsell additional products or services.
Product Tags – Product tags may come as an afterthought, but these pieces are an additional tool to provide useful information, tell a story, or upsell other products or services.
Signage – Signage is commonly viewed as a marketing tool for physical store locations. However, signage can also be used to promote online businesses. Consider lawn signs, posters, billboards, banners, and other signage that can be placed in high-traffic areas.
Vehicle Wraps and Decals – If you drive a vehicle, you can use it as a mobile billboard for your business. With a wrap or decal, you can put your business in front of every person that sees your vehicle and put yourself in front of them as well.
Promotional Products – This is a broad category that covers products with your brand on it. This could be stickers, magnets, cups, calendars, pens, shirts, hats, etc. Promotional products are a great marketing tool to spread brand awareness and build brand loyalty.
Use a Marketing Agency
Starting a business can be overwhelming, and just managing the operations can take up all your time. If that’s the case, consider utilizing a marketing agency with a team that is dedicated to marketing your business. Most marketing agencies will work with you on strategies, planning, and implementation, and suggest the best courses of action to get the most return on your investment.
Omega offers marketing services through a team with decades of experience marketing B2C and B2B brands, with a specialty in small businesses and startups.
Contact the Omega team today to learn how they can jumpstart your marketing efforts.
Written by Omega High-Impact Print Solutions Marketing Director, Jake Coburn