(ThySistas.com) If you’ve started a business recently, then you’ve taken the first brave footsteps toward success. It might not feel like it right now. After all, you’ve plowed a lot of your own cash into this. And you’ve probably been hitting eighty or ninety hours each week working hard to get things up and running. What have you reaped so far? Many entrepreneurs at this stage would answer ‘nothing but a headache.’ It’s normal for things to take a long time. And yes, it’s frustrating!
Don’t panic. You’ve still got a lot to do and a long way to go. Failure isn’t an option, remember? Once you’ve got the basics set up, it’s time to work on the marketing. This is one of the best ways to rev up your business and get customers interested in you. After all, it’s a competitive world and a crowded market place. It is extremely difficult to get yourself heard above all that noise.
Have a good look through your website. It may be just a page or two right now. It can be so much more, though. Write a list of all the questions your potential customers might be asking right now. Some of the most common ones are likely to include the following:
Who are you?
What do you do that’s different?
What is this product or service for?
Why is it worth the price you’re charging?
What are you going to do for me, the customer?
Those questions need to have answers that are obvious and easy to find on the homepage of your website. The product or service you sell must have a prominent position on the page. Check everything runs really well on mobile devices too. Smartphones and tablets often need a separate version of the website. Check yours is mobile compatible in your settings. Have plenty of images and plenty of product description too.
Once you’ve tightened up the website, there is still more to do with your copy. A blog on your website allows you to upload fresh content four or five times per week. This helps you move up the rankings for natural search engines. The more you can talk about the relevance of your products or services in the lives of those that need it, the better. Keywords are essential for search engine optimization. Pick three or four that are most likely to be used when customers search for your products. Now make sure they appear in your titles or content for each page.
Creating naturally high-scoring articles is difficult. You might choose to pay a content writer to help you here. But if you haven’t yet made any money for your business, this might not be an option. Instead, read up on how to create good, natural copy and articles for your website. Almost anyone can do it. Try to generate at least three hundred words of copy for every page. Include at least one image. If it’s a product page, you should have lots of images. Every angle should be covered. Show the product being used and include a technical sheet.
Social media is incredibly important for businesses. The trick is to write interesting posts that don’t seem too salesy or off-putting. This is why your blog pages are so important. They give practical and helpful information that happens to steer a customer toward your product. If you’ve got a great angle, use that in your Tweet or FaceBook post. The reader will click the information they’re after – your blog article. And within that article, they’ll read all about how your product is just the thing they need to solve the problem they were reading about.
Try to post and repost every day. Friend, like and follow people that talk about the products and services most like yours. Check big sites like Amazon. Your competitors’ products may be there. Find out who is reviewing them. If their contact details are listed. You could approach them to review your product. You would have to offer it for free in most cases. If this is beyond your financial reach, then ask friends, family, and current customers to leave reviews for you. Copy and paste the best bits, and quote them on your sales pages.
If you provide a service to your local community, many of the hints and tips listed so far will still apply. Many of us look up companies and people we’re about to engage with. LinkedIn is one of the biggest networks for business owners and those that are self-employed. This is your forum to detail why you are most qualified to deliver the service that you do. List your education and work experience. Talk about any publications you’ve appeared in. And definitely add links to your website!
Do you operate from an office or retail outlet in your town? Why not throw a big launch event? Social media will definitely be buzzing with posts from everyone who attends. And if you send out the invites using something like FaceBook, the acceptance is often automatically posted for followers to see. This spreads the word and creates a lot more interest in what you are doing. You can choose to cater this yourself to save some money, but it’s a lot of hard work. You would be better off networking and answering questions about your business venture.
Don’t forget to tell your local press. An official Press Release is required to gain their interest. Explain how your business is bringing about a positive change for the community. How is it relevant to the people in the town? Don’t forget to add photos of yourself and your premises or store front. Evening events are rarely covered in person. But you might still get a great write-up that will provide lots more interest in your business.
A promotion is also extremely important at launch. This needs to be an offer that adds extra value to what you are selling or serving. It might be a free item of merchandizing. Or a significant limited-time discount. If you are a local business, you might be offering a percentage of sales to a local charity. This promotion needs to be prominent in all your communications about your launch. Make it punchy and attractive in all your marketing.
The traditional forms of marketing are becoming more effective as they are used less and less. Leaflet dropping around your town could prove to be quite successful. Not confident about creating an attractive, attention-grabbing leaflet? Leave it to the professionals. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A simple, glossy A5 is normally enough. If you have the time and need the exercise drop it in the mail boxes yourself. Alternatively, pay the local paper to distribute it for you. Even the mail service provides a distribution network if you have the budget.
B2B or B2C?
If you manufacture goods, then it could be time to find some big resellers. Selling direct takes a lot of time, effort, and expense. If you can find a good reseller or retailer to manage this side of the business, you may be able to concentrate on shifting more units. And as your first product starts to fly out of your factory, you can diversify and produce new products. So how do you find someone to sell your good for you?
You will probably need to be a formally registered business with a good credit history. Fulfillment services like those provided by Amazon can leave you with little profit margin. You need to check the terms of the agreement carefully. Your pricing strategy needs to be considered so that you can still earn well per item despite selling wholesale instead of retail. Trade shows are a good place to find buyers willing to take your product on in bulk. Your next problem could be producing the numbers in time for your big customer’s order! Finding cheaper suppliers internationally could be an answer. You may need to use an international forwarding service to bring your supplies into the country.
Of course, if you are selling direct to the consumer, you may want to expand your marketplace to increase sales. Can you sell overseas? Are you willing to handle currency conversions and international shipping? This could increase your customer base. Finding new territories isn’t always easy. Research and planning will be needed. And you will need to closely follow any local trading laws. Some products are banned. Double checking can save you a lot of grief in the future.
Where are you going? Before you start adding to your workload, you need to have a clear plan and a clear vision. Revving up your business is desirable. You want to earn a living, maybe even get rich. But can you handle all that now? Setting realistic goals and targets means you can manage a growth you can personally keep up with. Take on too much, and you’ll burn out. You’ll also disappoint those valuable customers. They simply won’t come back, and they may leave publicly visible bad feed back. This could be a PR disaster that sees your business fail. Take care of you so you can take good care of your business.
Staff Writer; Natasha Young