You’ve got a business plan in place, and your products and services are ready to go. You’ve also done your market research, so you’re also ready to reach the right audience. Now all you need to do is promote your new business. This might seem easier said than done, but in today’s post, we’re going to discuss the top marketing techniques to promote your new business.
1. Digital Marketing
While traditional marketing remains important (and we’ll touch on that in a moment), it’s important to understand that no matter what kind of business your new business is, you need to capture digital marketing. Nearly 60% of small businesses don’t have a website, and that’s merely the first step toward effective digital marketing. That’s because the use of ad blockers, which serve to effectively cut out traditional internet advertising, have seen the use skyrocket to 69% in one year alone. That’s across all verticals. Here’s a look at a few of the ways you can reach your audience more effectively.
Fresh content is what keeps your website ranking well in search results pages, helps keep your site looking active, and positions you as a thought leader in your industry. This has to do with how search engines continually develop their algorithms to promote sites that offer users relevant information. However, good content shouldn’t be relegated to your website. You need cross-channel content that your customers can discover across devices. Here’s a few examples of types of content you should take advantage of and what each brings to the table:
- Blog— Blogs are still extremely relevant. It serves to show your customers that you know your industry, positions your brand and your business as a thought leader, and that you are offering them content with value. It also proves as a resource for other information they may be looking for, such as instructions or uses for some of your products, or how they might consider some of your services. It also helps you communicate with your customers in another method that might not be possible with other forms of social media, which will help you develop relationships with them, and provides a touchpoint that can be integrated across channels.
- Videos — You may not consider your brand as something suited to videos, but you might be surprised to know how much videos can help businesses in a variety of industries. When executed properly, you can increase engagement across your audience while boosting revenue exponentially. It can also boost your credibility, and if your business perhaps has a product or service that might be hard to explain, videos help present them in a way that’s easier to understand and comprehend.
- Social Media — Believe it or not, 75% of consumers expect to find local businesses on Facebook, and they consider it to be the most important platform to find out more information about a business. Depending on your industry, that percentage can vary, so determine where your audience spends their time. Social media is a great way to not only promote your newest products and services, share your latest deals or specials, and cross-post content from other platforms (especially the blog and video content). It’s a great way to engage your customers in a meaningful conversation and meet their customer service needs. Most importantly, it presents an opportunity for your brand to be in the right place at the right moment to answer customer concerns and questions. Be sure to not only post regularly, but keep up with engagement. Respond to customer messages, inquiries and complaints, and handle any reviews that might need attention. Managing one or more social media accounts – and doing it well – can also be a very time consuming task that some small business owners struggle to schedule in their busy day. Make sure to look into some time saving tips for managing your social media.
Online reviews have a staggering amount of power: 88% of consumers trust them like recommendations from someone they know, 90% will look for and read reviews before visiting a business, and 72% say that positive reviews make them trust local brands more. Reviews have a direct impact on your bottom line: 72% of consumers take action only after reading positive reviews, and consumers are very likely to spend 31% more at a business with “excellent” reviews, while 86% of consumers will hesitate on purchases from businesses with negative reviews.
What does that mean for your marketing? Aside from ensuring you have the capability for providing reviews and testimonials on your brand’s web page, that means you also need to ask for reviews. While this can take a delicate touch — for example, don’t try gaming the review system — it remains the best way to boost online reviews, especially for a new business. And remember, customers are likely to share their experiences online anyway: 87% will share out of a positive experience and 60% will share out of a negative experience. Take the opportunity to participate in and facilitate these experiences, and by doing so, you build trust with your customers.
Times used to be a little easier when you opened a new business and could be discovered — just list yourself in the Yellow Pages, and people would discover you whenever they went to look up business phone numbers. Unfortunately, those days are mostly long gone. Local directories still exist, cataloging businesses by industry and locality while providing basic details such as store hours. Depending on their format, they may even offer reviews, and whether they do or not, this promotes your brand’s presence in search results.
Many even offer you the opportunity to create a business profile, which in turn can offer improved engagement with customers and even options for running special promotions. Perhaps the best two to consider right off the bat are Google My Business and Yelp. There are many more online directories, so take a look at which ones offer the best services for your community and your business.
2. Email Marketing
When you think of email marketing, you may automatically think of your spam folder. While the association isn’t entirely unfair, it’s important to know how useful it is to tap into an audience that has actually opted-in to hearing more about your business. Leaders in this niche see the benefits every day; take Unbounce, which sees as much as 90% boosts in landing page traffic for particular content, products, and promotions shared through an email marketing campaign. In fact, it has consistently higher ROI and even ROE than many platforms.
Remember that just because email marketing can be easy, it doesn’t mean that it will automatically be effective. Like many other areas of marketing, you need to take a personal approach to your reader, which means it’s wise to segment your email lists. Different customers are at different places in their path to purchase, which means that they need to be reached a little differently. An impersonal newsletter full of information that doesn’t matter to them is going to get you relegated to the spam filter. There’s other email marketing best practices you should follow as well, the most important of which may be to make your marketing mobile: 66% of branded emails were opened from mobile devices, which is seven times as many as were opened from mobile devices a mere five years ago.
Building a Database
The hardest part of email marketing is building your initial database. Be sure you’re developing a variety of messages in different categories that your audience can opt into and out of. You also want to make it as easy as possible to sign up.
Some easy ways you can build your database:
- Utilize a clear call to action on your website homepage
- Include an opt in option on forms both online and off (e.g., invoices). They’re already in the process of deciding which information to share with you, so it’s a natural place for their consideration.
- Encourage your staff to promote your database and ask customers to sign up at the point of sale
- Make use of social sharing buttons in your emails so recipients can easily share information to their social channels
- Add an opt in link in your email signature. If you’re sending emails to customers and clients this is a great opportunity to present to them.
- Running a contest online is also a great way to build your database. By entering to win they provide their email address as an entry and opt-in
- Utilize an “Email to Friend” button. Similar to your social sharing button, but gives recipients the option to share the email with friends immediately.
Market the Marketing
Remember, this is marketing, so don’t be afraid to market it. Promote your newsletter on social media and the signage in your store. Give customers the option to share all or parts of a newsletter with friends or social networks with visible and easy to use sharing buttons. Consider developing a way to work this into your referral process if you have one.
3. Traditional Marketing
In the 21st Century, it’s easy to forget that traditional marketing not only still works, but is still very effective. That’s because good marketing is about one thing — creating a valuable experience for the customer. It largely depends on the customers themselves. What your customers do, how they interact with media and engage with your business, and why they enjoy these mediums are what matters to whether or not you should be advertising in those areas. Consider the statistics as guiding for efficacy. Remember to work with your local media partner, because they’re going to be a great resource for reaching larger audiences and accessing digital assets, and they likely will know the area and the audience.
- Print — The publishing world can be a strange place, and different magazines and newspapers need to be evaluated based on their audiences. To address the print advertising that you have control over, i.e., direct marketing, it can help to know a few things: 39% of customers still say they’ve tried a new business for the first time because of direct mail advertising, 80% of customers read or scan their mail and take action immediately or almost immediately, and at least half hold onto that mail for future reference. And if you think that younger generations are avoiding direct mail, think again; response rates have gone up 14% in the last decade, and can lead to a 44% boost of traffic to your brand’s website.
- Radio — Believe it or not, the amount spent on radio advertising in the U.S. is more than $17 billion annually. It also experiences a weekly reach of 93%, which is more than any other single medium, including TV (87%) and smartphones (70%, although it’s important to note that digital devices combined outstrip both other mediums). This doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that radio is evolving to meet digital head on with live or programmatic streaming radio. It also provides a healthy sales lift either by itself (a solid 17%) or as a media mix (20% or more).
- Television — In spite of its weekly reach, advertising revenue from TV is about $71 billion annually, and people still spend 300 minutes with TV daily. It also offers an individual sales lift of about 13%, which can rise to as much as 20% on average as a part of a media mix.
4. Event Marketing
Your new business needs not only a presence at industry events but at local events as well. Whether you’re a sponsor, have a table or booth. If your business is an attendee, events put you face to face with your customers like no other form of marketing can. You can engage them on a very personal and even meaningful level, since they’ll be associating you with community involvement and other socio-ethnic and ideological concepts. Your presence moves beyond being simply a business to a personable community brand with a story and message that has direct value to them. This can be as simple as a chiropractor offering free adjustments or as complex as test driving cars from a showcase. Consider offering a contest as well, where the winner can provide their information for your database for an entry, and the prize can be one of your products or services.
It’s important to think of your customers first, and to think from an experiential perspective. How are they going to experience your brand or your business at this event, and how will you help that experience stick with them in a positive way? This requires some planning in advance, and that means more than remembering to buy exhibition space and promotional goods with your logo on them. Sometimes, this won’t exactly look like marketing, but that’s also what makes it so effective — people no longer want to be sold to, they want to know that your brand is going to give them value in experience. Consider the fact that 48% of people say they’re more likely to make a purchase if they can test the product or service first, which isn’t limited to cars; crafting a unique opportunity to try your brand in an interesting way will in turn do double duty: the experience for those who are there, and the content on your site for those who weren’t.
Whether it’s part of an individual event or an aspect of your brand’s ongoing corporate responsibility, associating your brand with a cause develops your brand’s image. Of course, you must be sure to associate with causes that make sense (or can be shown to make sense do to personal attachment on your part), or it will end up disorienting customers and appearing disingenuous. Charitable actions and events earn your brand even more social currency and relevance than simple community support.
With these marketing tactics to promote your new business in hand, it’s time to create or review your marketing strategy. Determine which areas are doing well, which areas seem most beneficial to you, as well as which areas need work, and develop a plan for the way you want to promote your new business. Before long, you’ll start to see the fruits of your labor.
Start Promoting Your New Business Today!
Below, we’ve got some questions to ask yourself about your business, and actionable steps to get you on your way.
- Start by taking a look at your budget. Remember, your budget is an investment, but you can’t overburden your new business by putting too many resources toward overambitious goals. Which tactic or combination of tactics are most affordable to start with? What tactics can be used later on as you start gaining more traction for your business?
- Of these, which methods are best suited to the kind of campaign you’re trying to run? If you’re running a campaign that’s supposed to make customers take a specific action, determine which tactic has the shortest turnaround time so you can get started immediately.
- Don’t forget that you also need to invest in market research. Do you know whether certain methods are most effective for your industry? Do you know where your audience is looking so you can capture their attention?
- Have you got a strategy in place for content marketing? Develop a content schedule so you can pace your budget and still have the maneuverability to respond to real-world events.
- Pay attention to what customers have to say. Is there anything you can improve on based on their reviews? Is there a way to take a bad experience and transform it into a good one?
- How are you integrating your digital and traditional marketing methods to create a seamless, omni-channel experience for your customers? Are you as easy to find in a social media conversation through your branded username and campaign hashtag as you are to hear about in a radio ad?
- What community or charitable events can your business get involved with?