Written by Professional Academy Guest Blogger Jonathan Birch
In urgent need of some expert marketing advice for your new business venture? Meet Jonathan Birch, Creative Director at digital marketing agency Glass Digital. He's worked on countless marketing campaigns for businesses across a huge range of industries, from small start-ups to major national chains. And, as one of the co-founders of his own company, he's already very familiar with the challenges of building a business from the ground up. Here, he shares the six marketing steps that all young business owners should take to help secure the future success of their brand.
We all know that a solid marketing strategy is essential for getting your brand out there, especially when your business is young and relatively unknown. But — as I know from first-hand experience — starting a business can be an intensely busy time, and when your to-do list is never ending, it’s all too easy to put your marketing plan on the back burner so you can give your attention to more immediate tasks.
Focusing on your marketing strategy at the outset can pay dividends later on, so it’s certainly not something you should neglect during the first year or two. Here, I've shared the essential marketing steps that every new business owner should know.
Before you can start work, you need to sit down and design a comprehensive marketing strategy. This should cover exactly what you want do and how and when you’re going to do it. This will be useful to refer back to later on and will ensure that everyone in your team is on the same page.
An essential component of this plan is going to be your budget. When creating a budgeting plan, I'd recommend putting together a prioritised list of focus areas, like your website, print media, and so on. Then, carry out some research and put together an estimated budget for each channel, and create sub-budgets accordingly. This will ensure you don’t accidentally overspend further down the line.
All too often, start-ups assume that branding begins and ends with the logo. But there are lots of other aspects of your visual identity to consider, like your web design, social media, and photography, as well as your brand voice and personality, which is communicated through your marketing materials and on-site copy.
All of these aspects are built up over time and, naturally, they need to be consistent. So, you should be sure to have a very clear idea of what your brand is before you start work. You should know everything about your brand inside and out, from the colours and fonts you want to use to the sort of language you’ll use in your content. So, set out a mission statement, and create some guidelines to help you stay consistent.
Whatever industry you’re in, you need to have a website that looks great on both desktop and mobile, is easy to use, and is true to your brand. A good website is going to be the foundation for many of the other aspects of your marketing strategy as your business grows, so getting it right during the early stages is crucial.
If your business will have any kind of ecommerce elements going forward, then it’s especially important to prioritise your resources in this area, as your website is likely to be one of your main sources of revenue. So, don’t scrimp on this crucial stage: set aside money and time in your budget to create a good website, and enlist professionals to help you.
Updating your Google My Business listing is quick and easy to do, and has numerous benefits for your online presence. By doing this, you’ll ensure that your business appears in Google Maps and local searches, which will help customers find your products and services online. It also makes your business seem more credible and established, which can help drive sales. The more information you give, the better the results will be, so it’s well worth taking the time and being thorough.
A social media presence is a must for any modern business, so you’ll want to sign up for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as soon as possible. They provide a great chance to showcase your products and keep in touch with your customers, as well as offering a great opportunity to strengthen your brand identity. So, set up profiles for your business as soon as you can. Refer back to the guidelines I mentioned earlier to make sure your brand is consistent across all of your accounts, and try to make sure that you post regularly.
If you’ve got the budget, you can start thinking about running some targeted ads, or boosting posts. This will help you to target the users who are most likely to take an interest in your products or services, meaning they’re much more likely to result in a conversion.
As your business grows, you might find that you have even less time to devote to your marketing, so it may be worth employing specialists as your operations expand. This will free up your time to actually run the business, and you’ll also benefit from the insight and expertise of a professional.
There are a couple of options for this: you can outsource your strategy to an external agency, or hire an in-house marketer, depending on your budget and the needs of your business. One key benefit of using an agency is that you get the benefit of a whole team’s expertise and experience, rather than just one person. So, this can be more cost-effective when you're just starting out.
As the owner of a new business, you’ve probably got a million and one things to do, but that’s no excuse for neglecting your marketing strategy. So, be sure to take the tips I’ve shared here on board during the first few years of operations.
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