You’ve got a great business idea… What now? How do you reach and engage people? What should you do first?
It’s exciting starting out, but if you haven’t done it before, there’s a lot of things to consider about how you’ll market your brand new business. I’m going to start right at the beginning here – but don’t confuse marketing priorities with the legal priorities for your business. You’ll still need to organise many things like deciding whether you’re a sole trader or limited company, informing HMRC, organising insurance, potentially finding premises…
Regardless of the kind of business you’re running, you need:
1. Consideration for the market
I’d recommend researching your competition, your buyers and thinking about the resources you have available. Having a strategy or plan in place would be best. You’ll need some of this research for your business plan if done right anyway, but determining your place in the market before you jump right in will help you make fewer mistakes and make the most of your launch.
2. A business name
Obvious, maybe, but this should be great – catchy, relevant, not trademarked or used by anyone else in your industry and the web address and social handles available.
No pressure there, but people will form an idea of your company based solely on the name. It could convey your market, tone, your mission or values. Notice that this isn’t first on the list – you need to have done the legwork first.
It took me days, lots of lists and notes and spider diagrams to come up with Faire Marketing and it eventually came to me when I was brushing my teeth.
Your brand isn’t just your logo, although it does include this. It’s how people think of your business – “what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”, so says Jeff Bezos. For the purposes of your priority list here, I mean at least your brand pack – that logo, typography (which fonts you’ll use and how you’ll use them) and colour palette. You should consider how you’re going to talk to your audience and remain consistent.
Your brand choices should engage your new audience, inviting them to want to know more, and – sounds obvious – it should represent your new business.
4. A website
Your website is your digital shopfront – it’s where people go to check you out, see what products or services you have, find out more about you, determine whether you can be trusted and the quality of your offering. Many young companies put this to the back burner because they’re priced out by agencies or don’t have the technical know-how to tackle a build-your-own package. You get what you pay for… but your first website does not have to be all-singing, all-dancing.
A simple brochure site (unless you’re selling online) is more than enough for your first one. Accurate, to-the-point content, well-selected imagery and quality overall presentation paired with fast page speed and mobile-first consideration is more important than having fancy effects or reams and reams of pages at this stage. Using the research you did first will mean you have a good idea of what your competitors are doing and what your audience wants to see from you.
If you have the funds to stretch to a WordPress site, this is one of the best platforms for scaling your website up. If you’re doing it yourself, use wordpress.org, NOT wordpress.com.
SEO is an important consideration, especially if you’re an online-only business. Do some research, understand what keywords you’re targeting and how to use them, or ask a professional.
5. A social media presence
A bit like your website, people will see you – or even hunt for you – on their favourite platforms. You’ll need to do some research to know which platform or platforms that is. Don’t try and be all things to all people right now – stick to a core one to three platforms or you’ll be spreading yourself too thinly. Now is not the time to try that brand new channel unless you’re absolutely sure it’s going to be time well spent.
6. Google tools
Claiming your business online means you have some control of what people see when they Google your company. Setting up Google My Business is straightforward and free – don’t forget to verify your listing. I’d also advise adding Analytics to your website so that you can, even at the most basic level, monitor your site traffic. Google Search Console is another free tool that you can sign up for which helps you monitor your Google presence (impressions and clicks) and search queries (what words people type in to find your site).
Once you’re all set up, you can start promoting your business. Think about how you’re going to let people know about the business – consider paid ads, PR, email, direct mail (like leaflets or postcards), a trade show, networking… Will you run introductory offers? How about a competition to boost your follower numbers? Paid ads are the fastest way to reach a new audience – but they also add up really quickly, so make sure you have a strategy for them to avoid blowing through your budget with no return.
When the work starts rolling in, make sure you build asking for Google reviews into your order process. They’re especially important to small or local businesses, as they do affect your position on the search engines, and people do read them.
If you’re looking for some advice on how to market your new business, please get in touch. Faire’s initial consultation is free, and we’d love to set you on the path to success right from the off.