How to Market Your New Small Business in 6 Steps
Learn How to Market Your New Small Business
If you have recently started, or are about to start your own small business, congratulations! The entrepreneurial journey can be one of the most rewarding, but challenging paths to take in life. Right now, you’re in the earliest stages of developing your business. What you do in the next few months will dictate the direction your business will take in the coming years.
Seeing as you just started your small business, you likely are the only employee or one of few on the ground floor. As the owner, you’ll be in charge of most operational tasks associated with the business. These tasks range from HR work to handling accounting and even building up marketing and advertising plans.
In this post, we’ll focus on how to market your newly established business. Taking the time now to build out the department, establish marketing strategies, and set key goals and performance indicators will help propel your business past the competition. Without further hesitation, let’s get into it.
1. Reflect on Your Business Plan
Before you can effectively market your business in any way, you need to first look back at your business plan.
When looking over your plan, you’ll want to hone in on a few key areas to help you shape your marketing strategies and goals.
First, it would be wise to look over your business description. The description section of your business plan will detail your business’s products and services, as well as what problems you are aiming to solve, and what your business’s goals are. Looking over the description should help you identify which areas of your business are worth driving eyeballs towards. For example, let’s say you started a trendy wood-fired pizza shop that has an emphasis on to-go orders. In this example, looking at your description would help you realize that you should be thinking of your food (product) and your online ordering system (service) when drafting your marketing plans.
Besides looking over the description of your business, it’d be wise to take the time to look at both your short and long-term business goals. Knowing exactly what your business is driving towards should provide the insight you need to effectively establish marketing goals. Going back to the pizza example, let’s say that your overarching business goals are to have $200,000 in revenue, get at least 100 signups on your delivery app, and have at least 30% of all orders be by delivery. Seeing as two of your objectives are geared towards more niche delivery goals, you would want to build out marketing plans to address those goals.
Taking the time to thoroughly look over your business plan will give you the insight and knowledge needed to start thinking about how marketing will help your business.
2. Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Now that you’ve taken stock of what your brand wants to do, it would be a good idea to see what other brands in the space are doing, too. If you don’t know already, a SWOT analysis is when you take a look at your own company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as what opportunities and threats could impact your business. You can read more about SWOT analyses on our blog here.
Seeing as you’re a new brand, there may not be a ton to put in the strengths and weaknesses buckets, and that’s fine.
Let’s go back to the pizzeria example again to put this into perspective. The strengths for the pizzeria could be, they have the best delivery times, or they have the cheapest slice in town; whereas some weaknesses could be, consumers already have a favorite pizza shop, or your location is not optimal in comparison to other shops. Taking these strengths and weaknesses into consideration will help you flesh out where you should be focusing your marketing efforts. In this case, the pizzeria would likely spend time building brand awareness to try and convince people to give their shop a try, and also heavily market their delivery services to accommodate for the poor location.
After looking through your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to look at the industry you’re in, through a bigger lens. Identifying opportunities and threats within your industry will shape your longer-term marketing strategy, as well as give you ideas in the interim.
Opportunities and threats are a bit vaguer. For this portion of the exercise, you’ll need to conduct thorough market research to effectively uncover what threats could impact your industry in the coming years, and what opportunities you can capitalize on to help your business. When conducting your research make sure to both focus on national and local trends in order to get the most accurate gauge of your industry.
3. Set a Working Budget
Whenever you start a new department you should calculate a budget to help keep your work in check. Starting a new department will require new tools, marketing materials, employees, and cash on reserve to carry out tasks.
In the beginning, you should look to keep your marketing budget low. Investing too much, too fast can result in cash-flow problems elsewhere in your business. Budgets can be adjusted over time, so if down the road you find that your marketing efforts are going well, you can always add to it.
When setting a budget, you may need to tap into some outside funding sources to make up the cash you need to run the department effectively over the next year. As a new business owner, your funding options will be limited, but there are options you can explore.
As a new business, you sadly will not be able to qualify for most traditional business loans due to lender requirements. To take out a business loan, you’ll need to have already been in business for at least two years and provide thorough revenue history. Being that your business is brand new, you likely will not be able to take advantage of business loans. Instead, look to something like a personal loan as a potential funding source. Personal loans are similar to business loans, but taking out a personal loan is much simpler than the business loan process.
Remember that any money you take out needs to be repaid over time. Try to keep your marketing and overarching business goals in mind when deciding to tap into outside funding. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a money bind due to your marketing efforts.
4. Start Preliminary Marketing Tasks
Now that you’ve done all of this preparation and research, it’s time to start the process of marketing your business. As a business owner, you may not be an expert in marketing, and this is fine. These tasks can be handled by just about anyone, as you are simply laying the groundwork for your future marketing efforts.
First, it would be a good idea to build up an online presence. This will take time, but for now, setting up accounts and making sure things are in place will be good enough. Some things you should be able to handle alone are:
- Setup Social Media Profiles:
Today, over 240 million people in the U.S. have at least one social media account. Everyday consumers young and old log in to these apps and can find anything they want in a matter of moments. Food is one of the most popular things shared and discussed across social media, so establishing your accounts now will help you build your presence over time. For now, it would be wise to set up an account on Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, and Trip Advisor. When setting up your accounts, make sure that you use .eps files for your logos and try to use high-quality professionally shot images for any cover photos. The last tip is to sign up for an account on a social media management tool for future posting and monitoring.
- Order Physical Marketing Materials:
Physical marketing materials will be crucial to winning over consumers. Almost any industry can utilize physical marketing tactics. The materials you order will be dictated by the industry you serve, but some common things almost any business should have are: business cards, mailers, branded table tents, magnets, and branded apparel. Obviously, there will be niche promotional materials to order for specific industries, but any combination of what’s listed above should be suitable for most businesses.
- Sign Up for Local Business Organizations:
While it may not seem like a marketing activity, getting out into the local community, even the B2B community, is a good way of getting your business’s name out there. Joining general business communities such as your local SCORE chapter is a great way to learn about more marketing opportunities, as well as connect with local business owners in the area. If your town or village has a chamber of commerce, consider joining that as well to meet even more business owners and politicians around town.
Doing just a few things on your own can help jumpstart your marketing efforts as a brand new business.
5. Hire a Small Business Marketing Agency
As you get the ball rolling with your marketing strategies, you’ll likely want to carry out some tasks that you just don’t have the wherewithal to do. More complex marketing tasks such as website creation, app creation, paid ads, and content creation should be left to professionals if you want the best results. These early stages of your business are the best times to connect with outside help like Momentum Digital because as your business grows so too will your relationship with outside agencies.
Most agencies offer either full-service marketing solutions or ala carte options so you can pick and choose what’s best for you. As a newer business, it would be best to start small now and scale up later.
Some marketing efforts to consider using an agency for include:
- Website Development:
Every business needs to have an engaging and user-friendly website. Even though website creation tools have made it so just about anyone can build a website, these tools are often rudimentary and will not provide the professional feel you should be going for. Outsourcing your web development project will allow you to make a more complex, appealing, and user-friendly site that also is more secure to outside threats. Marketing agencies will also take your marketing goals into consideration when building the site and optimize things like page speed, keywords, and the site code to be more search-friendly.
- Local SEO:
Another crucial step to building your business’s online and local presence is through local search engine optimization. Local SEO is when you optimize your website’s local search presence so when people google “Best X near me” your company pops up higher on the results page. Agencies will be able to help put the correct information in, as well as optimize your website to help increase rankings which should result in more web traffic to your site.
- Targeted Ads:
So far, most of the marketing tactics we’ve discussed have been focused on organic marketing strategies. Here, we’ll focus on paid strategies like targeted ads. As a new business, getting your name out there in any way will help improve brand recognition and build awareness. Google Ads allow you to target specific keywords or phrases that are commonly searched and will place your site at the top of the search results, before the organic results, for maximum visibility. Google Ads are a great way to cast a large net and hope that you convert a few clicks, or at the very least continue to build brand recognition. For a more targeted approach, consider using Facebook Ads as a way to advertise your brand in front of a specific group of people. Instead of keying in on specific phrases, Facebook will allow your team to target users based on a set of criteria, like age, location, and even interests.
Leaning on outside help as you begin to scale your marketing operations will be a must for any small business looking to grow quickly.
6. Bring on Additional Talent
The last way you can accelerate the marketing of your small business is through internal help. Having at least one dedicated marketing professional in-house will do wonders for your marketing efforts. Even businesses that lean on outside help, such as marketing agencies, still rely on their internal marketing team to handle more remedial tasks and to be the liaison between whatever outside agencies you work with.
Seeing that you’re a new small business owner, it’d be wise to start with an all-around marketing expert and get more niche as you go. For now, hiring a Director of Marketing should be enough.
As you set out to hire for the marketing department, make sure you set a plan to help guide your hiring efforts. Think of which critical skills candidates should have that would be helpful to your business right now. For most small businesses, your first marketing hire should be skilled in marketing strategy, social media content, video production, photography, PR, and writing. Hiring as well-rounded a candidate as you can will help you develop marketing strategies across the entire department right from the get-go, without needing a specialist.
As a new business owner building up your marketing efforts now will pay off later. It can be hard to build awareness and brand recognition as the new kid on the block, but if you take the time to plan and carry out tasks now, you’ll start building momentum sooner rather than later.
Always remember to reach out to us anytime if you need any assistance getting your marketing department up to snuff.