You’ve got a million dollar idea and all your friends think it’s genius. Step one is complete. But now it’s time to turn that lightbulb into a thriving business. No matter how great a product or service, online marketing can be the make or break of your company. It is vital to set yourself up for success by mapping out where you need to be online and what kind of deliverables go where, and how often. This strategy will evolve constantly which is why you want to build your foundation from the get-go.
Before you start to tell yourself you will skip over one of these 7 steps, stop and ask yourself how badly you want this. Then give yourself a stern pat on the back and get down to business. Because if you’re not doing all 7 of the necessary marketing musts below, we can guarantee your competitors are.
Here are the 7 things you NEED to start your small business on the right foot:
The Perfect Name
No need to launch yourself into a major marketing effort or build up a brand to be remembered for generations if you don’t have the right name for the job. Yes, just like the months one agonizes over and debates about the name of their first-born child so too should be the attention given to the name of your business. After all, one can only dream that what you start today will be here long after you’re gone.
When it comes to choosing a business name, there are rights and wrongs.
Follow this checklist to ensure your name fits the bill:
- Available Domain (we’ll get to that)
- Not Trademarked
- Not Generic
- Easy To Spell
- Evokes An Emotion (ideally in line with your product/service)
Many new business owners will consider putting a logo at the bottom of the list. Not us. Your logo will be everywhere and it is the key visual language to showcase your brand. From your online content to printed materials, packaging and more, your logo is likely more memorable than any other content item you create. That’s why it is essential to have a professionally designed image that truly reflects your style and will be appreciated by the right crowd.
So, say you are obsessed with the colors red and orange and fancy Relativity by M.C. Escher as the best artistic creation of all time but you run year-round swim lessons. Perhaps putting your own taste aside and sticking to a clean vector image of a blue wave will do the trick and clearly communicate from second one exactly what your business is all about. To take it a step further, thicker strokes and more rounded lines will appear to be an image for children rather than adults, which is great if that’s your target market. All of this and much more will be considered by a professional designer when creating your logo.
You can also try these online tools to get started:
Ever pondered the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The 2018 version would most certainly be, “If a business has no website, is it a business.” The answer to the latter question is far easier – no. Today one simply cannot afford to have a business, big or small, without having it represented (and well ideally) online.
Your website can be as simple as a landing page giving your general information, an image or two and a way to best contact you or it can be one of the most useful marketing tools in your arsenal. And if you’re not ready to put considerable effort on things like search engine optimization, an image gallery and collecting testimonials to beef up your web content, that’s totally ok. Just don’t forgo it all together.
Remember, even if it takes you a few months to get organized and go live, we recommend you purchase your domain name ASAP before it gets snagged. Then you can explore the design process as you see fit.
Here are a few tools to choose from:
Consider your current and future customers your new best friends. And those relationships require consistent nurturing. While it would be divine to have a regular get together or even a phone chat, a solid newsletter can do the trick when it comes to ensuring your communication stay on track. What makes a newsletter different than a standard email is two things: it can be designed (so fun) and it requires some managing of your contact list on the back-end to ensure you’re saying the right thing, to the right people, at the right time. All of which is very manageable and frankly, pretty exciting. I mean, who doesn’t want to be in touch with the very people making your business grow?!
Here are a few emails we recommend you send:
- A little about my business
- Upcoming Event
- Industry News
- A customer of the month
- Special offers
You can try these tools to manage your emails and growing client list:
Thought Provoking Blog
Don’t skip over this section just because you think you have nothing to say. Wrong. You are the expert in your own field, or most definitely your own niche and your customers want to hear from you. But believe it or not a Blog does more than allowing you to share your innermost musings in a way a quick email doesn’t, it also has the potential to both bring in new customers via search and build brand loyalty which is a key factor to maintaining returning customers or clients.
Adding a blog to your website is simple. What deserves more of your time and energy is considering what content items you can really benefit from writing.
Here are 10 easy steps to come up with Blog topics:
Step 1: Search competitors Blogs and write down recurring themes
Step 2: Consider what is missing from your list in Step 1
Step 3: Google keywords related to your field and review what articles come up
Step 4: Take the keywords and themes and start writing them into interesting headlines
Step 5: Build out a schedule for yourself and ensure the content you’ll be writing is about diverse subjects.
Step 6: Write
Step 7: Edit
Step 8: Find complimentary images
Step 9: Publish
Step 10: Pass that amazing article around your network
Pro Tip: Try to write a minimum of 600 words per article to allow for SEO optimization when you add that to your marketing strategy.
Social Media Presence
Let’s answer some of your questions straight away. So you’ve got your own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter personal profile – Yes, you still need a business page! Yes even if you are a business of one. So you don’t ever use Facebook, Instagram or Twitter … or any other social media channel for that matter – while we applaud your desire to stay off the grid, now is the time to introduce social to your life, strictly as professional accounts. Do you need an account on every single channel? No. Do you need to publish content regularly? Yes. Does each channel have its own best practices? You bet.
Not to bombard you with overwhelming info, as there is a ton to be said about social media, we want to hit the nuts and bolts and encourage you to nail it. If you have not opened an account on at least one if not two social media channels, now is the time. Then make sure you have the following information easily available on your profile.
- Contact Information
- Professional Logo
- Business Type
- Reviews (if possible)
- A steady stream of content
To get started even create an introductory post and then email all of your amazing clients that you’ve joined the channel and you’d love them to follow along for a peek behind the scenes at your business. That’s a fun way to kick off. You’ll want to follow up by following people and brands in your business and posting curated content from others in your field that your followers would find valuable as you build up your bank of original content.
That said, creating original content is easier than you think!
Here are a few blog posts and one awesome Facebook Live to help you get started:
Video content is a must when it comes to small business marketing, and surely big business as well. What once required an enormous budget and plenty of resources is something you can now do solo from the comforts of your own desktop in a matter of moments. Why has this become a necessity? First, because videos are receiving more and more views on every single online platform as the world moves to mobile and internet speeds are faster than light. Second, the barrier of entry has decreased so significantly that just like a website, videos are becoming essential both for ads and customer retentions. But simply creating one video is not enough. You want to create videos consistently and creatively.
Consistency can feel intimidating but here’s a list of ideas just to get you started:
- Hello! A bit about us
- Special Event
- Holiday Greeting
- Blog highlights
- Product updates
- Customer testimonials
We also offer a Complete Social Media Video Content Calendar for every day of the month. Use these as inspiration or snag the exact videos and customize them for yourself.
Certainly, creativity is subjective but there are a few things that can be objective when it comes to creative marketing. When creating your videos ask yourself these questions before clicking publish:
- Is it high-quality footage? Premium quality content will have a huge impact on whether or not your audience will continue watching as well as how your brand is received.
- Is it easy to read? We’d recommend only 3-8 words on each frame lasting no less than 2.5 seconds.
- Would someone know what kind of business I have? You know your biz but not everyone does. While jokes and creative videos are wonderful, the goal is to showcase your business so ensure you have clear content showcasing exactly what you do.
- Did I share my business name and information? Make sure your company name is displayed as well Call-To-Action.
- Do I communicate one clear message throughout? We know you have tons of great stuff to say so instead of jamming in all into 1 video and confusing your viewer, just make more videos and have 1 defined message for each. It’s that easy.
- Did I show my personality? Are you fun, funny, romantic, nostalgic…show us who you are!
- Would I want to watch this if I saw it online? The best way to answer this question may be to share it with a friend or two in order to get some honest feedback.
Assuming you got all YES’s, you’re ready to go!
Try and of these amazing tools (though we may have a favorite):
If you’re ready to take a deep dive into video creation, take a look at our guides:
Marketing a new business in this competitive landscape is certainly no walk in the park. But you’re an entrepreneur so certainly, the challenge doesn’t scare you. What’s critical is that you don’t solely focus on your product or service and make room in your mind, or with a team, to consider how your marketing efforts play a role in the greater strategy you’re building. This includes defining your unique value proposition and making sure you’ve honed in on exactly what message effectively allows you to stand apart from your competition. You may have the best idea under the sun but if you can’t market it properly, it’s time to adapt. By following this list you’ll ensure that you’ll be starting on the right foot and giving yourself the best possible opportunity for success. Remember, the unique and creative parts of who you are and what your business does are always the things that will be your greatest advantage.