It’s hard to build momentum as a new small business. You don’t have much of a reputation to work with, you probably don’t have a large team, and you certainly don’t have the budget to plan or execute global-level marketing campaigns.
Thankfully, we live in an age where it’s easier than ever for new, small businesses to find their footing, establish a brand, and ultimately boost their visibility both online and offline.
So what are the best ways to do it?
Initial Brand Work
Before you start planning any online or offline marketing strategies, it’s important to solidify your initial branding work. You need a solid, coherent identity in place for your business, so you can promote your business consistently across all channels.
- Brand essentials. Hopefully, at this point, you should already have some of the brand essentials in place, including your brand name, your logo, your tagline, and a description of your brand personality. You should also have a consistent set of brand guidelines that you can follow across all your other marketing strategies. If you don’t have these things in place, establish them now.
- The domain name. Next, you’ll be ready to choose your domain name. This domain is going to play an important role in your SEO, your reputation with your target audience, and your long-term potential. But it’s also important to avoid overthinking it. According to SEO consultant Michael Cottam, “Don’t worry too much about getting the perfect domain name. If you’ve got to put your city name in to find an available domain name, that’s fine. And don’t worry about the domain name being a bit long. Nobody is ever going to type it in; they’ll click from search results, or on a link in Facebook, or on your business on a Google Map, or on an email link, etc.”
- Social media profiles. With all the brand essentials and a domain name in place, your next mission is claiming all of your social media profiles. That means claiming profiles for every major social media channel – and not just the ones you’re already familiar with. Some of the most important platforms are Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok. Even if you don’t plan on posting on these platforms for some time, it’s important to claim the profiles for your brand.
At this point, you’ll be ready to get online.
- Get your website basics up. You don’t have to have all the bells and whistles of your website up and running from day one. In fact, you can expedite the launch of your website by focusing only on the essentials. Create the core pages of your website, include a few important pieces of content, and save the rest for future development so you can start building momentum.
- Start updating with content. Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are still two of the most effective digital marketing strategies available, so it’s important to launch your website with a plan to update it with content in the future. How often will you add new blog posts? What other types of content can you offer your readers?
- Claim your Google Business Profile. Your Google Business Profile is a free index of information used by Google – and claiming that profile is an important first step in getting your business featured in local search results. This shouldn’t take long; just fill out all the details about your business you can, including your name, your location, your phone number, and details about your hours and what you do.
- List your business in various directories. After that, you can flesh out your business listing in various directories, including places like Yelp, Yext, Local, and Moz.
With all the online essentials in place, your priority will be getting noticed.
- Go above and beyond for your customers. Good business fundamentals are still essential for growing any business. You need to provide true value to your customers, and go “above and beyond” for them. Happy customers are going to be much more likely to use your business in the future, and they may even refer new customers your way.
- Reach out to local charities and event organizers. Reach out to local charities and event organizers in your community to see if there are any opportunities for your business to get involved. Any positive press you can generate for your business is going to be good for it in both offline and online promotions. Engaging with local charities is going to instantly help your business resonate with that charity’s followers and fans, which could be huge for both your business’s visibility and reputation.
- Share updates. Keep people updated about what your business is doing. Share online content updates whenever your business volunteers, participates in local events, or does other good things in the community; post these on your blog and share on social media.
- Join a networking organization. You can also get more visibility for your business by joining a networking organization. SCORE, Rotary, and your local Chamber of Commerce are good places to start. Here, you can meet other like minded business owners, promote your business, and learn about upcoming events and promotional opportunities.
- Share stories (and photos) of happy customers. Go out of your way to share stories and photos of your happiest customers on your website and across social media. Featuring these customers can instantly secure their loyalty – and encourage them to share the post with their family members, friends, and followers, amplifying the reach of your post.
- Practice outreach. Finally, practice outreach. Reach out to publishers relevant to your niche, potential collaboration partners, and even other business owners to find opportunities for mutual support and promotion.
Marketing a new business isn’t easy, even if you have a blueprint for what you want to accomplish. In pursuit of your long-term goals, it’s important to be willing to experiment with different strategies and remain flexible in your high-level strategic approach. Keep a close eye on your performance metrics so you can make changes as necessary.