Marketing is hard, let alone when you’re a start-up. When I decided to take the leap-of-faith, my family and friends asked: “How are you going to get clients?” I joked back: “I better know, I’m a marketer!” But knowing what I know now, even just 18 months into my business, there are marketing “essentials” and “can waits”. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by all the marketing possibilities.
So let’s focus on the start-up marketing essentials in a somewhat systemised process.
- Why are you starting your business? [Your Branding]
You know your product/service, but why do you want to provide it to the marketplace? Knowing my whys made my branding, and the rest of this list, a lot easier.
- Who’s your ideal customer
With your why understood; who is it going to best resonate with? Think about who your ideal customer is and start writing down ideas of how you will solve their problem and why they need you.
- Business name
In terms of marketing, your business name should result in one of two responses: Wow, what a great name, or, Why that name? For me, it was when I went back to my why that I instantly decided on my name. When you decide on your name, check it on Google, register it and claim the website domain.
Remembering your logo is not your brand and won’t affect a customer’s buying, it’s still important to have a professional look that matches your ideal audience’s expectations – some will judge a book by its cover.
- Business cards
Your marketing opportunity to hand over all your business’ information to prospects in one shot with your why clearly stated. Not having a business card not only leaves all the work to you to follow up, it can be seen as a power play. Reciprocating in the handing over of business cards at a meeting is the start of your relationship.
- Website and its content
When you start meeting prospects, the first thing they will do is check your website. It is an absolute essential in this digital age where customers want to research as much as possible. Ensure your whys are clear and in simple terms – no use sounding clever if your ideal customer doesn’t understand it.
- Marketing Pitch
It is important to have a short pitch ready for when you meet people. Focus on what you do, how you do it (better/differently) and, of course, your why.
- Profile Photo
I thought of this as a ‘can wait’ but quickly realised it is an essential. Not only does a professional profile picture bring warmth to your online marketing with people able to ‘see’ you, but it opens opportunities for article writing and media.
- Online Directories
Ensure you utilise the free online directories available across Australia and your state and suburb. This is one of those laborious tasks, but is a must to start your online presence and searchability.
- Marketing Plan
I’ve put this way down on your check-list because I don’t want to scare you off! But, yes, this really should be at the top (along with a Business Plan) clearly outlining your marketing goals, objectives and the strategies behind all your future marketing.
In all of these stages, make sure you ask trusted family, friends and peers to critique your ideas. Listen to their thoughts, but also stay true to yourself and be strong enough to say “no” if it doesn’t resonate with your why. Allow your marketing to take time and expect things like your content and pitch to change. Marketing is a fluid and evolving process as you and your business’ grow in identity. And, no, I haven’t forgotten Social Media, Blogs, newsletters, videos, etc – these can wait. Now it’s more important to go out and introduce you and your business to the marketplace. Head high and confident in your why, feel the fear and do it anyway. Oh and don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the experience!