Starting a new business is a steep learning curve for any body regardless of age or experience; you are stepping into a new world with new products, new lingo and new mountains to climb. And one of the big things that often gets left until the last minute is marketing.
People often mix up marketing and advertising. Advertising is part of marketing, but it is so much more than that. Where an advert sets out to inform the audience of a particular product and try and convince them to buy it, marketing is a strategy in which a company reaches out to customers to build relationship and brand awareness.
You might be thinking ‘then why should I spend money on marketing when I won’t be selling anything?’ The simple answer is because customers expect it. The proper answer is much more detailed than that; it includes who you are as a company and how you plan to better people’s lives. It builds relationships within communities, gains trust from prospective audiences and expands awareness of your brand.
You can create a marketing strategy yourself, or you can outsource and gain the help of specialists. You can get a digital marketing quote at ewebmarketing.com.au to get an idea of how much that would cost. Or you can find detailed step by step guides on sites like essentialsofbusiness.ufexec.ufl.edu.
At the center of a marketing strategy is the company mission statement; what you hope to achieve as a business – and not your hoped-for sales target. Are you setting out to make the world greener? Or to connect communities through the use of friendly coffee stores? Decide on your statement before you do anything else regarding growing your business
From there you can start reaching out. You can do this through blogging on your website, which allows you to show your business interests, to build upon talks you’ve made or projects you are involved in. Blogging is a great way to gain more readers on your website, it invites them to view without forcing them to consider the project. While you are blogging, remember your mission statement, and who you are as a company – if you start blogging about your family cat on a company site geared towards crane operators, people aren’t going to get the connection. And if you are a company that promotes a greener way of living, but then blog about the benefits of landfill sites, people are lose trust in you as a company.
You can also reach out on social media. Creating a social media marketing plan sounds quite straightforward, and really it is, but seeing as most people are in the habit of posting everything and everything on social media, you need to make sure what you post is in the best interest of your business. You can easily alienate people by posting the wrong thing.
Remember to reply to people on social media, whether they are saying good or bad things. By interacting with people, you allow them to get to know your company as a person and not a faceless corporation. You will be respected for handling complaints quickly and easily through social media – look at these hilarious responses given by companies to people on social media.
Before launching your marketing strategy look into companies similar to yours and see if there is an angle that they haven’t spotted that you can use to put yourself ahead of them? Like whether or not they have invested in a local charity, or become involved in a community-based event. Little things like this will raise your brand awareness.
The more you get involved with good things, like events and charities, the more your reputation will benefit. Also, the more things you get involved with, the more people will see your company and will recognize your logo or company name. See if there’s a local marathon taking place soon and offer to pay for a bottle of water per runner, in exchange for your company name is on the adverts for the run. Or if your company is more geared towards young people, see if you can get involved with local colleges. If you own a takeout pizza company, be on site with free slices at a college open day.
Marketing is all about creating that bond with customers and valuing them. There’s no point reaching out if you don’t care about the people you are reaching out to.