Unique Marketing & Photography may be in existence only for a few weeks, but having been in the industry for over 15 years. I worked with companies of all sizes and each taught me an overabundance of insight.
Having learned recently in the Social Media Examiner 2020 Industry report that over 14% of businesses fail because of poor marketing, lead me to writing this post.
Here are my 10 top tips for young, small, or start-up businesses that are guaranteed to help you to elevate your business to greatness. More than that, most of them are free or budget-friendly.
1. The basics
Website, logo, registering your domain, hosting, emails, selecting the right socials, … these are absolute necessities for most businesses, whether you are a hairdresser or car salesman. Stationery (business cards, electronic & word-compatible templates for letterheads, proposals, quotes, invoices, compliment slips, referral cards … ) might be next, but don't over do it. Wait a few weeks to see what you actually might need.
Next you might be needing certain marketing collateral. Now, when it comes to collateral, I like to go by what you can afford and what your clients ask for most.
Affordability doesn’t only mean the printing. While that is a significant chunk of your expense, designing something quality that will also withstand the test of time won’t come cheap. Sure you can whip something up on Word or one of those free designing apps, but will it resonate the right message to your target customer? My guess is probably not unless you are really good at designing. After all, if you are an avid florist, you are very unlikely to start fixing cars to passers-by, even if they need it. Similar to a soap manufacturer who wouldn’t probably just on a whim start manufacturing CCTV cameras. In other words, stick to what you know and are good at.
As to knowing what collateral should you have, that will come with time. As I’m convinced your clients will tell you what they need. Do they want a brochure with all your services/ products in full details?, or a brief overview of your products focusing on the pricing structure or perhaps the ingredients and their origin? You might need a portfolio of your past work. And while you probably might not need a product catalogue straight away, a simple flyer is a good start. Whatever it is, if you listen to your client or your sales people will probably tell you what would be most helpful to nail that next job.
2. Setup Google My Business Often forgotten or overlooked. This is free, simple and an absolute must.
Plus, you get a free $100 voucher to spend on Google Ads promoting your business online.
What's not to like?
There really is no excuse why your business should not be set up on GMB.
56% of local businesses have not claimed their Google My Business listing, so don't be one of them.
You miss out a lot, and your local SEO strategy is quietly weeping in a corner.
So, go on, Google My Business is one of the very first things your potential customers will see when searching a business on Google, so don't wait and have your business listed, verified, and managed. It only takes a few minutes and works wonders.
2. Identify your USP
Have that USP nailed down. Your Unique Selling Proposition is like a magnet to your business. It will attract the right customers who are seeking that very same thing that your are proposing. How do you know what that is?
Basically establish WHO your competition is, then think of your customers. WHAT problems do my future customers, i.e. my target audience, have and HOW do you plan on solving it and WHY your way (i.e product/ service) is better than your competitor's.
In other words, what makes you different, how are you going to be unique.
3. Have a quantifiable 5 year vision statement with actual SMART goals
Yeah, you hear that one before.
You probably have a mission statement and a business plan that you presented to someone. Even if it is in form of a doodle on a napkin.
You know WHY you started your business and WHAT you are going to offer and HOW will you be different to your competitors. You may have just an idea, or a yearly rough spreadsheet of what you want to achieve. Well, keep digging, this one is a biggie. Get serious. It should hurt and some sweat should start to perspire on your forehead. Time to get serious. No joke. For starters, get together well-defined goals for the next 12 months. And follow that up by actual KPIs that meet those goals. It's great to know that you want to achieve 100K in sales, but how are you going to do that?
We all know that goals should be SMART:
SPECIFIC - MEASURABLE - ACHIEVABLE - RELEVANT TO YOUR BUSINESS OBJECTIVES - TIMED
I also think SMART goals should always
PROVIDE DIRECTION & GROWTH
e.g. respond to every email within 15 minutes, make 25 cold calls a day, visit 2x local markets a week, retarget all abandoned carts ...
4. Make the most of free Google Marketing Platform & Facebook for Business tools
Well, you wouldn’t start your business before registering it, right? Same here. It can be very helpful to spend some time setting up your basic google analytics and tags through the Tag Manager on the Goodgle Marketing Platform app. Like Facebook Pixel and the entire Facebook For Business Suite tools, eventually, these tools will be indispensable when it comes to campaign management or tracking customer behaviour, integrations etc.
Oh, and did I mention it's FREE?
5. Marketing Strategy is not scary
This is is kinda a 'biggie'. But don't be scared off by that name if you know nothing about marketing. Basically, how do you plan to reach those goals (influencers, WOM, digital marketing strategy, go-to-market strategy, warm & cold follow-ups, socials, product development, customer experience, deliveries, free stuff ...). There is a lot to think about and it can all be a deal-breaker.
TIP: It might be a good time to worry about the SWOT analysis within your target markets as well as your direct & indirect competitor analysis, while you are working on that.
6. Invest in some decent photography What? Photography? Nah, I have plenty of photos on my mobile. Yeah, that won’t do. At least if you want to be serious and if you want to attract the right clientele.
7. Content Calendar
At least a rough one, at first. A glimpse into your first few posts, maybe a monthly blog, potential ad campaign, promo, event attendance, collaborations …? The list is endless.
The good thing is that while you probably won’t start straight away with for example regular EDMs, it’s good to have that in mind as you will gradually need to start thinking of ways to generate your followers. EDMs are crucial to promote your brand and be at the front of your potential consumers minds when it comes to making decisions. But don’t blow up all your energy on the content in the first heat. Remember, you are in for a very long marathon, so go slow. At first.
And be really creative. Make the most of the latest trends in your industry and use them to your advantage.
8. Start publishing blogs as soon as possible Now, this probably doesn’t apply to all the businesses out there, but I think it’s safe to assume that it applies to most of them.
After all, having a blog increases your chances of ranking higher in searches by 434%.
Plus, more than 57% of marketers say they've gained customers specifically through blogging.
Consultancy, business services, coaching, tutors, fitness coaches, jewellery makers or anything makers, … just about anything. Although you probably might not need one if you are ... nope, sorry, I can't think of anything 😏.
Now, I’m not saying you must write a blog and then everything will be rosy. 100% no! But it will give you more chances in surviving.
Here are just a few reasons why blogging is great for your business:
Improves your website's SEO
Blogs increases brand awareness, which in turn is that added key purchase-deciding factor
Great content improves indexation rates by more than 434%. That in turn boosts organic search results - hence - business who don’t create regular content are at a higher risk of failing
It gets your message across especially when aligned with your long-term marketing/ social strategy and your business plan
Shows that you are relevant & a knowledgeable expert in your field
Shows you know your stuff & can be trusted
9. You don't have to have a website to sell something
Starting an online shop, can be not only daunting but also expensive. But website is not the only platform how you can chew off a bit of that e-commerce ladder. Instagram is increasingly becoming the most preferred shopping platform. And Facebook is not far behind.
So go on. Turn that social engagement into sales. For free!
10. Start Slow
Don't aim to sprint a marathon at your highest speed straight away. Start slow and don't worry about going back a step if you feel you are not aligned with your aims and goals that you set out in the first place. After all, remember to stay true to your values, which is why you got into that business in the first place. And reach out to the experts if you need help.
In a nutshell:
You cannot please (understand serve or sell your products/ services to) everyone, so be sure to understand WHO your audience is, WHAT are your offering and WHY you are doing it.
While you can hire experts to do your marketing for you, there is a plethora of free or very affordable online services that can make that marketing journey for your growing business a little less painful (and expensive).
Especially at the beginning, when you are most vulnerable.
Until next time,
And don't forget to be yourself. Be unique.