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  • Writer's pictureClaire Elbrow

Spread the word

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

You most probably have the best business idea in the world, but it won't get off the ground unless word gets out!

I've been having this conversation at The Business Show today. I've met a good number of businesses who have some great ideas but have not yet started marketing them.

Their first question has invariably been 'What is marketing?'. My response is that marketing is understanding what your customer wants and communicating with them ways which work for them. It is about getting noticed and persuading your potential customers to choose your products or services over another company. Successful marketing ensures your USP, or unique selling point, is communicated in an appealing way to your target audience.

The next question has been about cost. Costs can vary depending on how quickly you want to reach your customers, build your reputation and ensure your business is thriving. It is common for new companies to invest 12-20% of their turnover in marketing in its first five years. Others will want a steadier approach and want to invest far less. Obviously, what you can spend is limited by your resources and guided by your strategy, knowledge and time!

Where should you start? Branding is usually the first starting point. Logos, images and the broader branding activities, including your key messages, need to be relatively high up your list.

Create a website. For your first website, you can provide customers with a simple, easy to navigate site which showcases your business and provides your contact details. Don't forget to add in a blog and links to your social media platforms.

Start your blog! Sharing engaging and valuable content is relevant for pretty much every business. You will reap the rewards with better quality inbound website traffic and leads. Research continues to show that relevant blogging generates higher quality leads.

Join social media. You will need to evaluate where your ideal audience hangs out and set up your platforms accordingly. Try not to do them all at first, or you could get a bit overwhelmed and be aware that you need to react to their changing guidelines and commercial needs.

Networking is next in line. You can look at your local networking groups and try a few to see which work for you best. Most new businesses choose a mix of those they like and those they know work. Networking has various benefits, from finding new associates, to mentors and business help and of course, finding customers.

If your business is local, check out your local media. You can work with them to build an advertising campaign which will hit your local customers. Include some advertorial (paid for editorial) alongside your advertisements. If you are looking further afield or have a niche market, target media or online advertising may work better.

Develop your first database. Ensure you are complying with the newest data protection regulations by reviewing the ICO guidelines. Your database can contain old, new and future clients. Which one you choose will depend on what you want to achieve, but there are plenty out there.

Write yourself a marketing plan. Make sure you plan your marketing activity and put in place some measurement terms you want to review to see if your marketing is working or not. Give yourself a reasonable timeline and don't be too quick to judge the results, mainly if you are focusing on activities which take time to build awareness and trust. If you need some help with developing a marketing plan, get in touch - we have a heap of experience in developing strategies and writing plans and are very happy to help.

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