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As a start-up, promoting your business is very important, but where do you start? Are there things you don’t need to worry about yet, or should you be trying to do it all? When is the right time to begin? Relax, we’re here to explain.
Some of the most popular tried and tested promotional techniques include direct mail, PR campaigns, on and offline advertising, referrals and networking, not to forget the power of a good social media campaign. Before you start though, it’s best to ensure that everything is in place for this to be a success. Let’s take a look at the most important first steps to effectively promoting your business.
This is one of those things that you eventually won’t even need to think about. It should just become part of the daily routine, with everyone understanding what your aims and expectations are. Now, just because this is important doesn’t mean that you have to lock yourself away for a week and come up with a stellar marketing strategy that would shame Richard Branson: you just need to have something simple and effective that you can follow.
It can be all too easy to think that you need to have a finger in every pie around in order to promote your business properly, but you really don’t. What you do need to do is establish what you definitely need, e.g. a social media presence, and what you don’t, e.g. television adverts, and then go from there.
Something simple that sets out your goals and how you will achieve them is the best way to begin promoting your business in a way that everyone understands, which has clear aims, and will not break the bank. If you have done your (market) research this should not be too difficult because you should know who you are targeting and where is best to reach them.
N.B. If you haven’t done any market research at all then stop what you are doing – stop it – I see you – and do some!
Leading on from the above, when you know your audience you will know the best ways to reach them and promote your business. If you know that 75% of your target audience use social media and 0-5% of them read print magazines then your best bet for initial contact will most likely be through engaging with them on Facebook, Twitter etc. rather than forking out £1,000 for a full page ad in a glossy. Logical, isn’t it?
What is it that you are promoting, exactly? Is it the product or service itself, or their benefits? Or both?
Sit everyone down (or if it’s just you, grab a pen and paper), and ask them all what it is that they think they should be promoting about the business. This is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same wavelength and might also throw up a dimension to the business that you may not have thought of. It will also help establish what sort of tone your promotion will have.
Any business, regardless of its age, will make mistakes when it comes to marketing itself. A new social media platform arrives and is all the rage within months, so businesses feel they need to have a presence on it. However, after six months they realise they have spent half their marketing budget on this one thing and have little to nothing to show for it.
Identifying where some areas of the marketing plan have gone wrong and fixing them is as important as devising the plan in the first place. Do not plough on with a form of promotion just because it’s ‘what everyone is doing’ if it is not right for your business.
For example, Facebook may work wonderfully for some businesses but not at all for others, and just because it is popular does not mean you should waste a portion of your budget on it.
If you would like to promote your business with IdeaSquares and receive more feedback and support for your idea, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
At i2S Management we offer our Fast Track to Finance programme for entrepreneurs to attend and get all the advice they could need when building their business, including creating a marketing plan and devising a promotional strategy.