Attracting customers is one of the big challenges for startup and newly launched businesses, especially if you do not have much of a marketing background. However, the principles of marketing are common sense and can help you push on in those few months without any exessive expenditure. We looked at some of the very basic ideas behind marketing that you can easily use to help get a long way in the launch of your business.
1. Know your brand
Time spent on working out what makes your product, service or brand special and unique (your USP if you will) is paramount. It will help you differentiate yourself from the competition and see for yourself where you are unique from them and what you offer that stands you alone. Clarifying your mission, values and brand proposition will provide you with a framework for positioning your business.
2. Know your Customers
Who is supposed to buy your product or service? Who are you targeting your business at? Be clear about who you want to sell to right fromthe beginning. Even if your service or product theoretically could be of interest to almost everybody, pick a customer segment and start marketing to it. Once you have decided on a market segment, it will be easier to decide how to reach potential customers, how to grow your customer base to a wider audience and which channels to focus on.
3. Set a Budget... and stick to it
Making a full marketing plan and allocating a fixed budget can help you keep an eye on costs. It can be easy to overspend with marketing budgets if you are not rigorously on top of it. Having a budget will help you focus your mind and your marketing activities. Make sure you identify the channels you want to spend money on and beware of people trying to offer 'deals' on services such as SEO. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t any good at all. Don’t ever commit to anything over the telephone, and don’t be afraid to say 'no'.
4. Contacts are key
Referrals and word-of-mouth are a fantastic way to get customers, especially when a business is new. These are almost like your added bonuses, the customers that you don't have to spend any marketing budget on to acquire and already have an affiliation with your brand or service through a joint contact. Think about who you know who could help endorse your business and get the word out there. Ask for testimonials, referrals and recommendations that you can put on your website, or even in your marketing campaign.
5. Be visible
We've already mentioned it in point four, but a website is of paramount importance in today's digital world and a must for any new business. However, don't be frightened, it can be simple and inexpensive. The three most important elements are usually your contact details, a compelling offer and an attractive design. The same applies to physical promotion such as flyers and posters too and the physical side of marketing can be just as efficient at times as the digital. It's all about getting seen and heard.