How do I get the name of my small business out there? How do I increase traffic and sales for my business? Marketing simply means using what you already know about your start up and telling the world why your business is great. Today, we’re going to talk about the basics of how to build interest around your business. Spending time on each of these areas is essential to the success of your marketing plan in its infancy. After you’ve gained some knowledge in the areas of social media, networking, reviews, and referrals, it’ll be time to evaluate your marketing strategies and plan for the future.
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Start Getting Your Name Out There
Everyone has to start somewhere and as such, it’s important that you remember that getting started is going to take time. Most businesses aren’t going to have tons of followers and positive reviews overnight, so make sure that you get comfortable with the fact that you might not have much to work with for a while. Positive experiences with customers will help with your marketing campaign over time. If you believe in what you’re doing and what you have to offer, people will talk about it and more customers will follow.
With that being said, there are, of course, things that you can do to get started on your marketing campaign right away. Start as many social media pages as you can comfortably handle. It’s not a bad idea to start this before you ever open up your business to the public. Getting some traffic on your pages first will help you get an idea of how many people in the community are interested in your product. You’ll want to be active on all of them and make sure all information presented on the page is up-to-date and accurate. These pages are a way for people to get to know your business and what’s going on with it. If they can’t get in contact with you through the page or at least see current information, there’s little reason to have the page in the first place.
Try to post something on each of the pages at least once per day to start. Staying active on the pages throughout the life of your business is just as important, but at the beginning of your marketing campaign, it’s good to have a backlog of posts when people first see your page. This way, they can educate themselves about your business and connect with others who might like it was well.
Get Reviews and Feedback
Once you’ve got social media covered, how do you get those five star reviews coming in? As we talked about, you can get your social media pages up and going before you fully launch the business. Now, get ready to perform some demo sales and collect information about your product. Share this page with a close community of people and ask for some feedback. This could include friends, family, and anyone else that you trust to give you good, honest feedback.
Test sales and demos are a great way to get a small, comfortable group of individuals familiar with your business and your style. Offer your product or service to a few people and ask for their feedback, sent directly to you. If there are some things you can improve upon based on the feedback, work on that first. Then, try again with a second run, if necessary, and if you feel good about the results, ask those individuals to post reviews on your social media pages.
Remember, you want solid, accurate, and honest feedback about your business in those reviews. So, try not to skew the feedback at all, even if it is your friends and family. They should share their experience just like any other customer. Equally as important is responding to feedback and questions in a professional and timely manner. Being interactive with your customers is imperative to demonstrating that you care about their experience.
Build A Great Website
It should go without saying, customers need a place that they can learn about your business and know the appropriate ways to contact you if they have questions. A website is an absolute must for any business owner and it’s important for any marketing campaign. Yes, social media is a good way to post quick thoughts and you can build customer reviews, but a website should be your end-all-be-all source of information.
A website is what customers are going to share with each other when they’re truly interested in purchasing your product. Essentially, it’s the face of your business on the web. You want your website to be a reflection of the experience that a customer will have in the store with you. However, this isn’t meant to convince you to get a website, because you probably already know how important that is. It’s moreso, to give you an idea of what signals you want your website to be giving off and the fact that it’s a good idea to get it up and running before you launch.
Especially if you’re working the social media angle, you might have excited customers that are ready to purchase the day that you launch. You’ll want to have a way that they can do that already set up online and/or information about where to go and who to talk to to get help in person — that’s what you’ll want to focus on.
Network Through Social Media
Getting to know other businesses and the community that you function within is incredibly helpful when you’re first getting started. When you’re trying to network, it should be geared toward getting to know experts in the field and thinking about how you can make your customer experience and product the absolute best that it can be.
Part of that, is knowing your competitors and what they have to offer in order to take a closer look at your own business and where you might be lacking. You want to become an authority figure in your particular niche, so research, ask questions, and share your findings with your own growing community.
Learn about events that you can attend to meet with other dedicated professionals in your field. In addition, jump on any events that give you an opportunity to connect with more customers and showcase your product. Start planning future networking events as soon as possible. You might not even have your doors open right now, but getting a conversation started, and planning to work future events, will help you connect with those that can help you lift your business to new heights.
Earn Word of Mouth and Referrals
Again, before you ever open your doors, you can get a conversation started about your product and why your business is great. That, in itself, might get people talking about what you have to offer. Just simply being active on social media and within your community will also help get the word out. When one person is interested, they’re likely to tell someone else and so forth.
However, the real magic will start once you are actually operational. Once you open for business, customers that have good experiences are your key to spreading the good news about your business. This is one marketing tactic that will never die. Good experiences means endless referrals and opportunity for new customers.
Examine Your Results and Plan Your Future Strategies
Once you put all of these tactics together, you’ll be able to gauge future improvements. Once you have active social media pages, reviews, and you’re active in the community, you can get a feel for the reaction that people have had to your business. You’ll be aware of areas that could be lacking and you can begin to strategize on how to make your overall experience better.
Small business marketing is an ever-changing beast. The fact of the matter is, you have to dip your toes in and gain some real-world experience to know where to go from here. Starting small, with little risk is a great idea when you’re first getting started. Although, if you want to grow your business and compete with other experts in your field, it’s crucial to work on stronger, more innovative methods of introducing yourself to new customers and becoming an authority within your niche.
For more tips and guides, visit our small business resource center.
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