Where should you start when marketing your new business?
Start with a website
In today's digital age, a website is a fundamental necessity for any business. Your website is often the first impression given to your prospective customers and clients. It's important to take some time and understand how you wish to present yourself and how to reflect your company persona e.g. do you want a corporate feel, or a cottage based industry with a more personalised feel?
When building your website, make absolutely sure that it will be mobile friendly or "responsive", which is a key consideration in light of Google's guidelines. With over 50% of online activity now being conducted via mobile and tablet devices, it is ever more important that you offer a user-friendly interface for those customers.
Also make sure that you select a website platform with CMS functionality e.g. WordPress. CMS stands for Content Management System. This means you have the facility to change and update the majority of webpages yourself, without having to pay your web developer each and every time. It will help save a lot more money in the long term, you'll have more flexibility for certain SEO changes, and will reduce delays.
Consider twice about buying into proprietary based systems. Unlike open-source systems like WordPress, Drupal, WooCommerce etc. signing up with a web company who uses their own software could mean you being tied into a contract, with limited flexibility should you choose to change developers in the future. Some companies may charge an exit fee or a management fee to transfer your website files to another developer. In this day and age, with the market flooded with available open-source systems, there is no need to get yourself tied up unnecessarily. (Find out more about our web design services in Kent)
Make sure consumers know your USP
So you have decided to set up in business, but ask yourself this genuine question; "What makes you any different from the competition?" When you know the answer, this becomes your USP (Unique Selling Point). Your unique selling point may fall into one or more of these categories:
- Price. You offer a more affordable price over competitors
- Quality. Higher standards of quality, or longer guarantee periods will help set yourself apart from the rest of the market.
- Speed. The most commonly asked question by customers/clients is "When?". "When can that be delivered?" or "How quickly can you do that job?" etc.
- Flexibility. Being more flexible for your customers means you remove barriers to purchase. e.g. If you have a computer repair shop, offering a collection service and saving customers the effort of delivering to your store, will undoubtedly help.
- Reliability. If you promise something, make sure you can deliver. Customers expect you to be reliable, or else you might start to build negative reviews.
Once you have your USP, make sure it is portrayed across your site and literature. Make a statement about it.
Considerations when adding content for your website
Content is vital for your website, both from the perspective of Google who will scrape and index your pages for search engine benefit, but also for real communication with your visitors. Focusing on just the first part, here are some tips to help your website meet certain Google guidelines:
- Ensure you have content on each and every page. And write out in full paragraphs with headings and subheadings. Don't just list in bullet points. If Google sees your website as a list of pages, but with no real content on offer, then it might think you are trying to manipulate their system. Not good.
- Make sure your content is always unique. Do not copy exactly from a competitor's or manufacturer's website. If your website fails to have unique content it could be "marked down" by Google. So always ensure you write new content from scratch. If you can't activate your muse, then consider using professional copywriting services.
- Where applicable, remember to add your office location or the geographic areas your service covers. Adding these areas will help Google recognise your geographic location and improves your chances of being displayed to customers in your local area, when they search online.
Add a Blog - become a thought leader
Your products or service descriptions will only provide content for a finite amount of pages on your website. A blog offers a great way to expand and increase the number of pages associated with your website, and Google likes to see growth. Writing a blog post on a regular basis will help, but make sure that your topics are relevant to your overall business industry - don't wonder off topic.
Aside from the SEO benefits of adding fresh and regular content, your blog can also help raise your overall profile. The end goal here, is to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, with customers/clients actively following you to hear what you have to say.
Focus on Search Marketing first
Search marketing activities include the likes of PPC (Pay per click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If you can imagine your website as the foundations for your online marketing, then these activities are likened to the ground floor. These are the first elements you should consider for your marketing strategy, once your website is built.
PPC allows you to pay a premium to advertise your company in prime positions. You receive instant gratification, in that your adverts can be set live, paused or switched off, almost immediately without any major delay. One of the great things about PPC is that it is performance based i.e. you only pay when someone clicks on your advert and is directed to your website. Learn more about the benefits of PPC here.
SEO takes a longer period of time to establish its worth, but in the long term it is probably the most cost effective form of digital marketing. SEO is about building up your relevancy with search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo) so that when a customer searches online for a product or service which relates to your company, you appear in the ranking results before your competitors. Click here to learn more about SEO
Together SEO and PPC work hand in hand and should be considered as the principle form of your digital marketing. It is highly advisable to find a professional digital company to handle these aspects of your marketing. Both are highly specialist skills and, with regular changes in search engine algorithms, it is important to find an agency who keeps up to date with these changes for your benefit.
Submit Press Releases for added exposure
Another good method for promoting yourself and making some noise is via press releases. Submitting a news-worthy piece to industry journalists, bloggers, magazines etc. will help get you added exposure. Some ideas for press releases may revolve around a business event, new product launch, or perhaps claiming an award.
Put some thought into what you could use to promote your business activities. And create a list of influential bloggers and magazine editors etc., that you can approach when your press release is ready.
Creating press releases, cultivating industry contacts, and distributing can be a time consuming process, and you are not guaranteed of your article being published. However, if the article is run, the benefits can be substantial - helping with both SEO backlinks, and invaluable brand exposure for your company.
If you don't have time to carry out a formulated PR strategy, consider outsourcing your PR needs.
Social Media Marketing - It's not for every company
Not all businesses may work well on social platforms, but do some investigation to see which might be a good fit. The most popular social platforms include the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
If you are a cake maker, then visuals are very important for you. Pinterest or Facebook may be your best choice. But if you run a recruitment agency, then making connections through LInkedIn will serve you better.
You don't have to join up with every social platform. More is often NOT better. Focus on just one or two, and then dedicate regular allotted time for your social activity.
Do not just use your social profiles for broadcast purposes. Also use it as a form of customer service system - allow customers to get in touch with you, ask them for feedback on a new product you've launched, or ask them open-ended questions to get the discussion going. Don't just promote your own services as people will get bored, seeing you push the hard-sell all the time. So ensure you mix up your posts with industry news, light-hearted pieces, interesting videos, but always make sure there is some form of relevancy to what you do as a whole.
Do some competitor research
As a last thought, remember to look to your competitors from time-to-time and see what they deliver. Business owners can become so focused on what they offer, that they don't notice when the market changes. So remember to look up from time to time and take the pulse of your marketplace.
Vincent Van Gogh (At least I think it was him) once said; "Good artists create, but the best artists copy". By that same principle, take a look at your leading competitors - the ones who are your industry leaders. See what they offer, how they present themselves, and look to see what elements you could emulate within your own business.
Outsource your business marketing with Whitefish Marketing
To find out more about digital marketing for your business, get in touch with Whitefish Marketing - a specialist SEO and Web Agency in Kent. We will gladly discuss your business model, your aims and objectives, and help come up with an action plan that best suits your needs and marketing budget. We have helped so many businesses, new start-ups right through to established companies, right across UK and even abroad. So call Whitefish Marketing today on 01303 720 288 or pop into our offices in Tontine Street, Folkestone for a chat and a brew (We'll have the kettle ready for you!)