The following is a list of essential things that help to give your business substance, identity, and credibility. Your ambition is to attract attention, engage interest, capture your market share, nurture your customers, create loyalty, and measure the results. All the things mentioned on this page are parts of what you can call Marketing.
Each item is important in isolation and even more important as part of your marketing mix. These things are components of your Marketing Strategy if you choose to create one. Think of this as a shopping list for basics for your new business – you may not need all of these items and the list is not exhaustive either so add and subtract if you need to..
Your shiny new business idea needs a number of things and a decent name is no less important than anything else. A badly named or misnamed business can have trouble getting off the ground no matter how innovative and awesome its Value Proposition may be. Do lots of research into other business names in your sector and look for the good and bad. Spend some serious time on the name of your business as you may be stuck with for a long time. Very soon we will be offering a business name service that will include a business name (availability) look-up and a business name registration service. If this is of interest use the contact form in the left column to let us know and and we will notify you when the service is live.
Logo / Branding
Having a logo designed can be a worthwhile cost and effort providing your customers will see and be influenced by it. You may find that a carefully chosen typeface or font to display your business name is all you need. Any visual branding is a projection of your business image and therefore should attempt to say something about your business. Your choice of colours can impact heavily on the degree of attraction or otherwise your branding will have and how it makes your customers feel. Some key words or ‘descriptors’ to visualise can help you shape the look and feel of your branding. If you feel you need professional help to develop your logo or branding look for a brand development specialist or at least a graphic designer with experience in this field.
Your domain name doesn’t have to be the same as your business name however if you are intending to build an iconic brand in the market then your choice of domain name becomes more critical. The domain name can be seen as the most important part of your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and therefore the words in your domain name could refer to what your business offers if possible. If the brand you want to build is Williams and Associates Lawyers you might drop the ‘Associates’ and try to secure williamslawyers.com.au if it’s available – i.e. who your are and what you do. If you are a plumbing firm called Williams Plumbing located in Mt Eliza you might try to get mountelizaplumbingservices.com.au since potential customers will probably be searching for ‘plumbing mt eliza’ on Google – i.e what you do and where they want you to be. Use the links in the right column to do a domain name availability look-up and to register your preferred domain name – you can order your domain hosting service at the same time.
Website and SEO
Your website might simply need to be a beautiful brochure or a complex software solution delivering a product or service to your customers – your Value Proposition may be that solution and it’s delivery. Whatever the function and purpose of your website you should ensure that the design includes easy and intuitive navigation. Your new website should be optimised for search engines by someone who can demonstrate a skill and knowledge in this specialised field. Each page of content should be well written and informative. Check the current view of what Google likes and especially doesn’t like so your site can achieve the best possible ranking. The site absolutely must be built using responsive design so it offers a good user experience for browsing on mobile devices and catches the 40% plus users who now only use mobile devices for browsing the web.
Whatever your Value Proposition is it will need to be rolled out in front of customers. It may be that your business is or needs an online store and therefore you will need a well optimised responsive website with an eCommerce solution. There are a lot of solutions on offer so it can be a bit like trying to work out which mobile telco to go with. You need to make sure that you don’t end up with a website that has cost you time, stress, and money that isn’t what you thought you wanted. Choose your web designer carefully and try to ascertain if they have the experience to do what’s needed and most importantly that they understand exactly what you actually want. You might consider the worthwhile cost of getting a professional web designer to write what’s called a ‘project scope’. This is firstly so you can see in writing a full description and outline of your web project and so you can get other web designers to quote comparatively on the same job specifications.
If your business is strictly online and you are sure you will never meet your customers or partners face to face then you probably won’t need business cards or printed brochures. Most people like to have a business card in any case so make sure you get a nice design that projects your branding components like logo or typefaces and fonts. Don’t skimp on quality in card stock or printing – a flimsy business card is a bit like a limp handshake. Apart from graphic design the production of high quality brochures is pretty cheap so if it’s appropriate consider having some printed to hand out, give to others to distribute, or send with shipped products to encourage that next order.
Using social media to build support and advocacy for your brand, services or products is becoming a prerequisite part of modern marketing. You can deal with your own social media content marketing however you run the risk of being distracted from your core business and also damaging your businesses by inadvertently misusing social media. Social media management is an expertise these days so find and speak to a social media consultant about developing and managing your campaign. Find out which social media platforms are going to work for your business and which may be a waste of time and effort. If you intend to manage your own social media there are social media consultants who can tutor you in the basics and assist you along the way.
Mobile marketing or SMS/text marketing has become almost universally accepted by recipients as a way of reminding them about appointments, promoting events and gigs, offering special deals, creating brand loyalty, and up-selling. SMS is a cheap and very effective
way to reduce debtor delinquency, achieve marketing goals faster, maintain customer loyalty, build brand awareness, drive traffic to websites or social media, increase profits, and reduce operating or marketing costs. The return on investment from mobile marketing measured by increased sales and cost savings is 100%+, SMS campaigns can be 60%+ cheaper than conventional direct marketing, 80% of text messages sent are read within 5 seconds of being received, users interact 4 times+ more with mobile content than with any other media, mobile internet access will exceed fixed line access by 2015 if not before, and finally; in the time it takes to read this line over 1 million texts have been sent!
Text content, video, photography, and sound may all find their way into your marketing strategy.If you are a capable writer you can save money by creating your own written content for your website, blogs, social media campaigns, press releases and other advertising or promotional materials. It may be true that it’s easier to turn an expert into a writer than a writer into an expert however great writing is not something we can all do so you may need to turn to a professional wordsmith to do really your products or services justice in words. As with writing you may be an ok photographer and be able to shoot video quite well – just remember that there is a big difference between amateur and professional skills and hire an expert if you have any doubts.
You can pay to advertise your business and it’s products or services in a variety of ways including Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, radio ads, sponsorship, directories, national and local newspaper, and national and local TV.