Starting a new business is exciting, but it can be a little overwhelming. That’s why we’re taking it step by step… by step. Over the past two weeks, we’ve talked about A) making a plan for your business, B) the licenses, permits, and insurance you’ll need (the fun stuff!), and so today we’re going over that third and final step: Getting the word out.
Don’t get me wrong, telling your family and friends about your business is actually a great starting place; but to really gain a following, you’ll have to do more than that. Here are some ways to market your new business. Oh, and they’re all well priced or even free.
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1) Write a press release. You can send this out to local media or even niche media outlets that might be interested in your new business. The thing about press releases is, they’ll only get published if they’re truly newsworthy. So you’ll either have to have some stellar copywriting skills and have an announcement that will blow their socks off; or you can pay a small amount to make sure your release is read. Try PitchEngine.com. For a small fee, they’ll publish your release to search engines, social networks, your website, your email list, and more. Of course you can never guarantee that everyone will read your press release, but at least this way you know they’ll see it!
2) Share your photos. If you have photos related to your business (perhaps of the business itself, of products, or employees) share them for free on Flickr. This is a great way to get your business’s name out there, and if you want you can even include a link back to your site (if you don’t have a website yet, check out our post on creating one—it’s easy.) Want an example? Check out yours truly up on Flickr!
3) Use Google Maps. Make sure your Google Maps Listing is up to date and accurate. This is so important when a customer is, not only trying to find you (physically), but also trying to find out more about your company on the web. Google Maps will include your address, a description of your business, and a link to your website. Once you establish a reputation, customers can even go on Google Maps and review you. It’s a great tool!
4) Find a social media site. Find something that pertains to your business niche and join in on the conversation. Never start out trying to sell your product; just participate in the community, mingle, and then introduce your product later.
5) Comment on blogs. This is a great way to get the word out about your new business. Again, avoid being cheesy or overly self-promotional, but on blogs that are relevant to your business, it’s just fine to leave constructive comments and link back to your site when you can. And here’s a bit of an insight: We do this at Mango all the time! It’s a great way to spread the word about our company, but also a way to stay in touch and connected with the rest of the financial blog world. Building lasting connections with others in your industry is key for growing your business. For example, just by reaching out to other blogs in our niche, we were able to do this guest post for Simply Hired, which ultimately helped promote Mango (and of course, helped Simply Hired too…)
6) Start your own blog. You’ve already got your foot into the blog world anyway; you might as well start your own! Try WordPress or Blogger for their free services. And if you don’t think it’s worth the effort, check out this article to see just how a blog can help your business.
7) Create a Facebook Business page. Facebook recently underwent some changes and now business pages are even more useful than ever. They come with analytics so you can track the page’s activity, you can upload links, photos, and news about your business, and Facebook is a great way to keep up with customers. See? You can also check out this inforgraphic on the benefits of Facebook for businesses.
8 ) Start Twittering. This is just another way to keep up with customers and others in the biz. Tip: When you use Twitter, broaden your horizons! Follow people in your industry and without to build a useful network. Already on Twitter? Check out Mango’s Twitter page and check out what we’re up to—you’ll see what I mean!
9) Talk to other business owners. Even if the business is not in the same niche as yours, there are plenty of local businesses that might be willing to help market your products or services. Something as simple as putting out business cards, signs, or ads at a local coffee shop can be hugely helpful. Next time you’re in a Starbucks, check out their bulletin boards. The tear-away flyers people put up for their businesses are almost always missing pieces!
10) Go to networking events. You might be surprised at how many “meet-ups” there are for nearly any industry. Try going to MeetUp.com, search for upcoming events that have to do with your area of business, and contact the group to see if you might be able to become a sort of “unofficial sponsor.” Don’t just show up to their meeting and try to covertly promote your business—be honest about it. Chances are, the group’s leaders will be happy to help you out.
So now you have some ideas on marketing your new business, but just in case you’re still feeling a little lost, here are some great additional resources:
RiseGlobal.org: RISE is a non-profit dedicated to inspiring and empowering you entrepreneurs out there and it was created by the very same folks who brought you Mango.
Books and Blogs:
Alpha Dogs: how your small business can become a leader of the pack, by Donna Fenn
The Art of the Start: the time-tested, battle-hardened guide for anyone staring anything, by Guy Kawasaki
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business: by Edward Paulson
Go It Alone: the secret to building a successful business on your own, by Bruce Judson
Do you have any questions about starting your own business? Any great resources to add to the list? Share them below, and good luck, entrepreneurs!
Sources: SearchEngineWatch.com, SmallBizbee.com, Flickr.com, GoogleMaps.com, Archinect.com, MyArtSpace.com, Blogger.com, WordPress.com, Amazon.com, ReverbNation.com, FoodService.com, SimplyHired.com, JoviaWebStudio.com, Twitter.com