We help many start-ups and budding entrepreneurs establish professional branding as a vital first step in making a lasting impression for their target audience. But quite often newbies to the business world love their branding, have great products to sell, and then get stuck. “What do I do now?” they ask.
While the answer differs depending on your budget, existing network, audience and the product or service you’re selling, there are some fundamentals that apply to any start-up we’d like to share to help you along.
Here’s our top 10 tasks to get started:
- Know your audience and where they hang out – is that on social media, and if so which platform?
- Tell your audience about your offering. You can have the most amazing product to sell, but if you don’t tell anyone about it, it’s like a tree falling down in a forest when no one is around.
- Leverage your network which includes friends, family, anyone you know through schools, church, clubs and past colleagues. Start with the people you know by sending them a WhatsApp with a well-designed image telling them about your new business and asking them to spread the word to their networks. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and a reference.
- Create a Facebook (FB) business page and ensure it’s branded to match your identity. Facebook is a must for any business whether you have a website or not. Why? Because its algorithms are so powerful that often your FB page will rank first in a Google search ahead of your website.
- Your FB posts must be frequent including good photography of your service or product, preferably including people images which rank higher on Facebook’s algorithms. Include hashtags that relate to help increase searchability.
- You can’t get away from paid advertising. It’s the best way to get the word out there that you exist. There is no way around this if you have a new start-up and a limited network, which is most entrepreneur’s reality. Paid FB, Instagram and LinkedIn advertising (depending on your service) is the most effective way to go. You will have to experiment with the targeting settings and see what works best. Your caption must be catchy and to the point on adverts. Apply the post image rules from point 5 above. FB advertising will give you hints and tips to help you set this up for better reach.
- Create a website. If you are serious about making your business work, you need a website to explain to your audience what you’re selling. Facebook is fair and well, but a website gives your business professionalism. You can start with Wix or WordPress on your own, but ensure the branding is top notch. Professional web development is worth the investment. But before you even approach us or other agencies for quotes have your content ready. You must know what you are selling, why, who your audience is, what they like, and what your edge is – this could be cost, or the fact that your goods are locally produced, for example. Put this info into a document ready to send out with your quote requests. When you get website quotes in compare apples with apples. And ask for example websites to vet their service.
- Register your business with Google My Business. It’s free and easy to set up. You’ll be able to create Google Ads within it, list your business, add articles and ask for reviews.
- Never stop promoting your business. Does Coke, Nike or any other massive retailer you know ever stop advertising? No because you must keep reminding your audience of your offering and why they need to choose you. Aside from your frequent social media posts, send out digital newsletters, provide special offers and continue to meet your consumers needs as they change. Nowadays, life is a moving feast, so you have to keep innovating and solving problems.
- The golden rule about marketing and advertising, especially in a post Covid-19 world, is to be authentic. Consumers are savvy, environmentally aware, have information at the touch of a button and are cash strapped to boot. You have to tick many boxes to get your product or service offering right. Be real, relate to your consumers needs and problems, and offer transparency. Tell them where your product is made, by whom, how you look after your staff, and hopefully how you’re not impacting the planet.
We hope these top 10 points have been helpful. There are many ways to market to your audience over and above these steps, but if you do at least these you’re off to a good start.
If you are too busy to put these into action or just feel out of your depth, connect with us to help you. Your success is our success!