Starting a business can be hugely rewarding both personally and professionally. Engaging with new customers is enjoyable and essential for success, which is why it’s important to market your business. As a startup it can be hard to know where to begin, especially on a low budget. Here are some of our top tips to get you started.
Know your market
To establish your target market you are going to ask yourself a lot of questions; Who is your typical customer? Create an ideal customer profile that includes age, gender, income, likes, dislikes, and hobbies. If you start to understand your customer and the things they are interested in, you can focus your marketing strategy rather than trying to reach anyone and everyone.
Do you have a niche, or a unique selling point? To establish your USP you can use previous research into your ideal customer. Make a list of the needs and wants that your product/service can give to this person. Do you offer something that your competitor doesn’t? This can be your USP and a feature you should promote in your marketing.
How will people become aware of your product or service? What channels do your prospective customers live in? Find out where they hang out (both physically and online), what they read, and where they buy from. Is your customer more likely to do an online search or flick through the yellow pages? Reviewing their purchasing process can help to clearly target your client.
What is your budget?
It is important to see your marketing budget as an investment and not just a business expense. As an indicator bigger businesses will often invest between 10-25% of turnover on marketing. Try and identify how much of your turnover you can reinvest in your marketing each month. When you’ve worked out how much you can afford to spend you can decide which marketing methods will best suit your business needs. Make sure you do your research before making any financial commitments for your new company.
This is where research into your target market and how they buy comes in useful. The more you know about a customer, the easier it becomes to budget for marketing in areas they engage with. There is no point in splashing the cash on a full page advert in a magazine that your clientele is unlikely to read. Even a modest marketing budget can benefit your business in both the short and long term if it is used wisely.
Your brand is much more than just a logo, especially as a small business or sole trader. Your brand is how people perceive your business, your persona, your values. Building your brand reputation is essential to your startup success. Perfect your Mission Statement and practice your elevator pitch so you know exactly how you want your business to be perceived.
Define what is it that your business stands for. How is your product or service improving your customer’s life? Do you pride yourself on being a family run business? What is it that makes you different from your competitors? Whatever it is, let your customers know. A background story or insight into your business is a great way to develop your brand, build connections with customers, and create loyalty.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking social media marketing is free. It takes time, and time is money. Don’t go chasing every social media channel because you think you have to be seen everywhere. The sheer amount of social media platforms can be overwhelming to a startup business, especially if you are new to the concept of online marketing.
To begin with, it is best to cherry pick the channels that will work best for your new company. What social platforms does your market engage with the most? As a starting point, pick three channels to update daily to start building awareness for your startup.
Once you’ve decided on the best channel(s), make sure you don’t spend all day pushing your new company on there. Use your time wisely. Utilise social media tools like hootsuite or buffer to stack up posts and tweets and schedule them throughout your week. This will allow you to push content to your social media channels at regular intervals.
The heart of your online presence is your website. Before you begin your website you need to establish its purpose. Avoid paying for features you won’t use. As a startup business think about what you want from your website in the short term and also what role your website will play longer term. Make sure your website designer understands this.
Creating a content strategy is now a huge part of marketing a business.It is more important than ever to update your website with relevant blogs and resources that your customers will engage with. A weekly blog or news snippet is a great way to keep people coming back to your website.
While you wait to launch your new website make sure you have a “coming soon” style holding page that can capture visitors’ email addresses. That way you can email these people when your company is ready to launch and you also have a growing list that can be marketed to on an ongoing basis.
Email marketing is a cost-effective way to let your target market know about new products, competitions, offers, and news about your company.
Choose the right partners
It is natural that you will want to save money and do as much as you can yourself but make sure you use your skills and time wisely. It is good to learn and push yourself out of your comfort zone, but learning a whole new skill could cost you more in the long run than hiring a professional.
Finding good suppliers to be an extension of your team and take the strain on difficult tasks can be really cost effective. You might need help with branding, website development or marketing. You’d be surprised at how affordable these services can be if you do your research and choose wisely.
If you need further information and support with marketing for your startup business give us a call on 0161 883 0043 – we don’t bite!