This article has been contributed by Fazreen Razeek.
Whether you’re a freelance graphic designer or heading up a new video production company, there are certain steps you need to take in order to make sure that your business kicks off strong and makes an impact from the get-go.
There’s no doubt that marketing can be expensive, but it is necessary and vital for every business. If you want your business to grow, you need to invest in effective marketing strategies in one way or another. You can’t simply depend on word of mouth to get you by, especially if you’re a new business. Now, this could challenge many smaller businesses who may have tighter budgets, but we’re here to help with business marketing tips that will keep your new business afloat.
1. Google My Business
Make sure you claim your Google My Business page! Most users use their phones to search for businesses and services on Google. Google’s free tool helps you drive potential customers to your website and allows you to control the way your business looks online. You can enter detailed information about your business which includes contact information, location and photos. Your Google My Business page is also where customers can leave reviews and ask questions about your business. Make sure to answer FAQs in order to offer more insights into your company to potential customers, such as opening times and average cost of products.
Use Google My Business posts too! This feature allows you to create posts that display mini-ads on your business listing. It’s completely free and allows you to make your listing more appealing and grab attention from more viewers. Create a post by logging into your dashboard and you can even include photos and CTAs. You can create posts about events, sales or promotions, blog posts – whatever is relevant to your business! Make sure to create a post on a regular basis so that Google continues to showcase them.
2. Publish Strong Content
This may be a given but you need content that’s well-written, strong, emotional and creative to make an impact on potential customers. If your website or social media viewers are not impressed by the content you share, it’s highly likely that they will not want to engage with your business at all. There would be nothing convincing for them to stay and consume what you’re trying to sell. If writing isn’t your best talent, hire a content team to handle this part for you. A content writer or social media manager is a vital part of any organization.
Content with a great hook is what allows businesses to attract more customers and retain their established following. Your copy needs to be engaging enough for users to want to interact with you and learn more about your business. The tone needs to fit with your brand identity, for instance, fun and light-hearted.
3. Carry Business Cards Wherever You Go
Business cards (yes, even in the digital age) are a great way to exchange information with others. Hand out business cards to potential clients, vendors or anyone you think would be beneficial to your business.
4. Network As Much As You Can
Whether it’s online or in-person, make sure you stay connected with people and reach out to new audiences. Even a simple social media post to let your friends know that your company is up and running will be worthwhile – do not underestimate the power of networking online.
Network within specific industry groups as well. Join social groups online for your industry to get your name out there within the community. If you specialize in video production, find Facebook and LinkedIn groups specifically for video production services, videographers, video production equipment, etc. Within these groups, you will likely come across someone who is in need of your services and it’s a great way to get things rolling.
5. Email Marketing
Use email marketing campaigns to keep in touch with your leads and customers. This can help you form and nurture relationships and help you retain them for longer periods of time. There are now so many email marketing platforms to choose from, so you should be able to find one that suits your needs and fits within your budget. Keep emails engaging and to the point in order to keep your audience interested.
6. Social Media Marketing
The power of social media is truly unmatched. Algorithms are constantly evolving and it’s important that you keep up with the constant changes that are happening. Nevertheless, paid ads and posts will help you reach out to new audiences. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram all have paid ad features that you can make use of.
Once you have your target audience in mind, focus on reaching out to them through social media. This is where a social media manager is handy because you need content that is exciting and engaging – otherwise, people will not interact. When content is fun, fresh and exciting, there’s a higher likelihood of it being shared. Video content has also proven to be effective and more engaging, so incorporate this as much as you can.
7. Start A Blog
If you’re able to, you should start a blog! They’re free and easy to start and it helps improve your website’s visibility. It will help educate your potential customers on your business model and ethics and could draw them in. Add a call-to-action to your blog posts but don’t be too pushy! Make sure that your blog posts are optimized for SEO purposes. Include your target keywords as much as you can in order to help you appear in search results online.
8. Create Business Profiles
Depending on where you are in the world, you can create business profiles on websites that focus on communities. Facebook and Yelp are great to keep in touch with what customers are saying about your business. Zomato in India is useful for restaurant owners to read reviews and improve their services based on customer feedback. Customer reviews are vital in order to grow and you need to be aware of what people are saying.
On Facebook and Google My Business, you can keep your audience up to date with business hours and contact information as well.
9. Work With Influencers
If there is someone in your community that has a large social media following and is an expert in your industry, you may want to consider working with the influencer. Now, especially, social media users depend on influencers for their buying habits. If an influencer highly recommends a brand of product, you will see their followers flock to that brand. There’s no harm in reaching out and asking if they’d be willing to share their thoughts on your business on their social media. Here is where word of mouth is truly helpful!
Before you reach out to influencers, it’s important that you identify the different types. Mega-influencers are considered to be the highest-ranking category of social media influencers with over a million followers on their page. Macro-influencers have a following anywhere between 100,000 and one million followers, while micro-influencers have around 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers will usually focus on a specific niche with a very uniform audience. They typically also have stronger relationships with brands than the typical influencer.
No, it’s not the same as marketing! These are two very different things. By advertising, you deliver precise messages directly to your audience – and pay for it. You can place ads digitally on social media channels or on popular websites to reach your target market. Then there’s more ‘traditional’ advertising like billboards, radio, newspapers, magazines and niche publications.
11. Run Contests And Offer Incentives
There’s nothing people love more than freebies and discounts! You can start a contest and offer a discounted service to your followers. Get them to share your page as part of the contest to build more awareness and reach newer customers. You could offer your services in exchange for a like or share, but be sure to check the rules of the relevant social media platform first.
Placing discount codes or coupons in your marketing emails will make your audience happy! After buying a product (or service) from your business at a discounted rate, customers might also be more willing to pay for it full price if they are happy with what they received. You can also offer a discount for first-time shoppers.
12. Make Use Of All Possible Social Media Platforms
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, WhatsApp – these are all great platforms that you can use to elevate your business. Your target audience is very likely to be on at least two, if not all, of these platforms and you have the opportunity to really broaden your reach.
It’s important that you make use of platforms that you know your target audience will use. If you’re targeting older audiences, you need to be smart with your digital strategies. Maybe opt for Facebook and LinkedIn more often since you know that’s where your audience will be.
The younger generations tend to flock to TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram nowadays due to the light-hearted nature of each platform. Create fun and short content for younger audiences in order to capture their attention and attract them to your business.
If you are a B2B service provider, make sure you make the most out of LinkedIn’s services to maximize your outreach and to connect with potential buyers. LinkedIn is a great platform to publish and promote long-form articles as well as any company news that’s deemed relevant to share with the public.
13. Join Online Forums
If your business is part of a niche industry, spend some time answering questions online related to your industry. Quora and Reddit specifically are full of users that look for answers to questions that could be related to your business or industry. If you take the time to answer their queries, you can also drum up interest in your business and products by mentioning your experience and your new business.
Of course, you don’t want to be overly promotional in your responses. Being helpful is your first priority. Make sure you include relevant links in your profiles for users to check out.
14. Video Marketing
Videos are a great (and free) marketing tactic for many new businesses. Shooting a professional video may cost a lot but it isn’t required that you hire a professional from the get-go. You can easily shoot videos yourself for your social media pages to share with your follower base. Shoot videos behind the scenes and create a striking connection with your followers. If you’re looking to film more of a vlog, prepare in advance with a script but make sure to improvise wherever you can in order to make the video feel more natural and authentic.
You can include your branding or personal message when you feel it’s appropriate but make sure you finish your videos with a strong call to action. You need to give your viewers something to do in order to make your efforts amount to results. Share your video on your social media platforms, your website, online forums relating to your industry – make your video seen!
15. Industry Partnerships
A major benefit of developing industry partnerships is being able to double your marketing efforts while gaining access to extra resources and a broader audience. With an industry partner, you can accomplish your marketing goals and may even be able to exceed them. This is a good marketing tactic for small businesses especially, as it allows business owners to gain more knowledge on marketing and gives them access to a newer customer base that will help grow their own business.
About the author: Fazreen Razeek from Grafdom has served the digital industry for over 5 years. He collaborates and works alongside agencies, event organizers, and suppliers to develop and execute their marketing strategies.