You’ve got the idea, you’ve done the research and you’re planning to give up the security of the 9-5 to launch your business. Hard work and tenacity are essential and robust long term marketing strategies are vital to survive in an unstable economy. Starting from the name of your business, the following guide will help you build the strong foundations you will need to support your success.
1. Shout Your Name
It becomes harder for businesses to get noticed in a competitive market, so how do you stand out from the crowd? Get your basics right. Consistency and continuity of message and integration of your online and offline strategies will strengthen your brand and build trust with your target market. Starting with choosing a name for your business, this key decision should represent the main elements of your products and services as well as epitomise and reinforce your company’s ethos, vision and values. Consider your target market and get creative! When you have a list of ideas, check your competitors to ensure there are no copyright issues and research if the domain names are available.
2. Logo Evolution
So you’ve got a great name for your business, next is the logo. You may have had design ideas spring into your head when you were naming your business so be sure to share them with your designer. Your logo is a pivotal part of developing your brand but should be so much more than a stunning design, it has to effectively represent your business its products and services reflecting your company’s vision and values. Your logo should have longevity to strengthen your brand. You need a design that can evolve over the years. Think of how major brands such as Coke and Cadbury have evolved their logo over the years to remain relevant in their competitive markets. Could your chosen design do the same over the years?
3. A Website That Works
Your customers will have access to your business via multiple platforms from tablets to smart phones so your website is a principle element of your digital strategy. It should be striking in design, have content that informs and engages with perfect usability offering the customer the ultimate user experience. You also need to be found online so when prospective customers search for your products and services, they can find your website. Search engine optimisation or SEO is therefore vital.
Both on page and off page optimisation needs to be fulfilled for the keywords that your customers type into Google in order to increase your traffic and improve your rankings. If you don’t have SEO expertise in-house then employing professionals to look after the optimisation of your site should not be overlooked. When looking for an agency all you need to do is see where they rank for search terms. If they can get found themselves then this is an indication that they know what they are doing! Keeping your content fresh is also essential for SEO and writing a blog is a great way to ensure fresh copy is added at regular intervals. Blogs also give you excellent content to promote and link to via your social media pages.
4. Get Social
Now you have a well-designed, optimised website that offers navigational ease to your prospective customer, next you have to get social, the digital way! Completing your digital strategy by embracing social media allows you to open your business and brand to a new audience. Linking your online and offline activities can only strengthen your message and boost your marketing activities. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the main platforms used in business, however the platforms you choose will depend on the demographic of your target audience.
If you are promoting products you may also want to consider Pinterest or Instagram. Regular social media activity will enable you to connect with a wider audience and will help drive traffic to your website. Social media should also connect with your offline activity, marketing any events and promotions you may be running. Remember to reflect your brand online the same way you do offline in terms of tone of voice and continuity of message.
5. Embrace The Traditional
The explosion of digital marketing has led to traditional methods being overlooked. Digital campaigns are certainly cost effective and more measurable than traditional, however as inboxes have filled up, our in-trays have become clear. It’s easy for your enewsletter to be drowned out by the mass of junk that fills an inbox on a daily basis but if a letter arrives in your empty in-tray, addressed to you, chances are, you will open it and digest the contents. The tangibility of holding a quality piece of print work in your hands can’t be ignored.
Impressive and eye-catching design will be memorable and can be filed and used at later date, unlike an email which has the strong possibility of being deleted. Your offline marketing efforts can connect with your online with the addition of QR codes, your web address and social media details on all of your printed materials. Be sure to consider other traditional methods of marketing such as advertising, PR, face to face networking opportunities at events, exhibitions and conferences where you will find a warm audience of prospects with an interest in your industry. Also accept any chance to speak at events, offer free training sessions and deliver presentations as they will not only be an opportunity to promote your brand, products and services but will be an excellent profile raising exercise.
Clear, focused messaging, consistency and continuity, hard work and determination will ensure your new business gets off to a great start and continues to thrive ahead of the competition.