The idea that “if you build it, they will come” is as wonderful as it is untrue. Simply having a great idea, creating a business, and hoping for the best will not ensure you actually make any profits or gain a real customer.
So, what can you do, as a business owner, to give yourself the best chance of actually getting noticed and getting paid? Here are my top 5 tips:
1. Create a Website
This shouldn’t come as a shocker, but people are online and they are looking for your business. Gone are the days of pure word-of-mouth advertising. Now, once someone “hears” about you, they most likely will research you and your business online. This means you absolutely must have a website if you are to establish yourself as a reliable, trustworthy business.
The first step is obtaining a web domain name. Once you are certain of your business name, this should be the first thing you secure. Look for a .com, rather than a .net or any other top-level domain (TLD). And avoid unnecessary dashes or periods that will confuse or misdirect your audience.
If you don’t have the time or skillset to make your own website, then seriously consider investing in a web designer. A good one won’t be cheap, but a website is essential (and bonus, web design is a tax write off).
You will have many things to consider when creating your site including brand, logo, fonts, photography, graphics, content, and more. Try not to get overwhelmed and enjoy the process. Making a website may seem tedious, but it’s one of the most important investments in showcasing everything you have to offer. And don’t forget to regularly update your website with content like blogs or upcoming events to keep your visitors interested and engaged, and to keep search engines operating at peak.
2. Get Social
Right after you secure that web domain, start locking down all the social media handles you can. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more will each need their own account.
Ideally, the handle should be the same across all platforms to avoid customer confusion. For example, my website is afconsultingteam.com. My Instagram is instagram.com/afconsultingteam. My facebook page is facebook.com/afconsultingteam.
You get the idea. Keep it the same and keep it simple.
Depending on where you are in your business and how well you prepared, your website might not be ready for weeks or even months, but your social media can be up and advertising for you in just a few minutes.
3. Be Different
People notice different. The more interesting, inventive, creative, or eye-catching you can appear, the better. From your online presence, to promotions and contests, community events, and more, think differently and see big results.
Maybe you host a giant game of tag, or use a rubber duck to promote. Maybe you dress your employees like wizards, or host a hand-walking contest. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid to get a little crazy, as long as you create a positive buzz for your business.
Need some inspiration? Here are two of my favorite creative marketing books:
Get Different by Mike Michalowicz
Can We Do That? by Peter Shankman
4. Promote, But Not Too Much
No one wants to feel like they are being sold-to constantly! Yes, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are excellent for promoting goods and services, but they are also the perfect place to teach people about your brand and company culture, as well as educate and entertain potential clients.
Follow the 70/30 rule if you can. 70% of your content should strive to educate and entertain, while the other 30% should directly promote your business.
This is easier said than done, but just remember that sharing relevant and valuable information to your target market is a type of soft-selling that is always appreciated and rewarded.
5. Keep Active
No one will ever care as much about your business as you do, so it’s important that you work continually to promote and get noticed in your community ( online and in person). Put up physical flyers, host events, send out press releases, meet your customers face-to-face, attend networking events, join industry-specific groups…get and keep active!
Your goal should be to increase your customer base, the number of potential clients, gross and net profits, and the overall customer experience. All this requires action, decided, planned action.
If you are just starting a business, or recently opened and hoping to set yourself apart from the competition, take a look at how you are operating. How are you providing something new, better, and different? How are you promoting yourself? And how will your clients and potential clients find you?
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.