When you start a business, there are a ton of details to juggle. What should you name your business? How much inventory do you need? Should you have a physical location? Just when you think you have it all figured out, you need to develop a marketing plan. After all, how would you get customers without it?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but the good news is help is available. Check out the steps below to get your marketing plan started.
Create a logo
Your logo is a symbol of your business. It’s used on all of your marketing collateral and allows people to immediately identify your business whenever they see it. A great design can boost business, too. Consider hiring an expert to create your logo if that’s not your thing.
Colors, fonts and shapes can evoke various feelings, which is why it’s important to research your audience and make sure your logo, matches the tone of your brand. For example, blue represents security and calmness, while green represents growth and wealth. Serif fonts illustrate the business is reliable and respectable, while a sans serif font gives a more modern feeling. When it comes to shapes, circles represent community, squares illustrate balance and security, and triangles represent power.
Construct a website
Regardless of what your business actually is, it is critical to have a website to inform people about what you offer. Many people do research online before making a purchase, so it’s important that you come up in those search results. If you are in the business of selling goods, you can make them available on your website (but that may not be necessary if you’re a brick and mortar business). Like your logo, you can design your site yourself or hire someone else to do it. Many hosting services such as Wix offer templates to make designing your site easy and affordable.
Consider making your website a resource for your audience by including a blog. Provide in-depth analysis that answers questions your audience has, as well as resources that will make their lives easier. This will help build trust in your relationship and make them more confident to work with you. It will also help you establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
Stock up on print materials
Now that you have a logo and website, you should start building your arsenal of marketing collateral such as business cards, white papers or flyers, depending on your industry. Printed collateral lets you connect with customers on a more personal level, through a medium that they can literally hold in their hands for more direct engagement.
One piece that is often overlooked is the presentation folder. Donning your logo and company colors to match your brand, the presentation folder can be the cherry on top of the sundae as it neatly packages all of your information together. Designing a folder is a unique challenge, but there are plenty of free design templates available to help you out.
Build a following
Use your audience research to determine which social media platforms they’re most likely to use. This way, you’ll be able to use your resources wisely by focusing only on platforms you know your audience will be on. It’s important to post updates about your business, but it’s more important to connect with your audience. People typically go to a company’s social media page because they believe this is the best way to interact with the business, which is why it’s critical to respond to all questions, comments and concerns in a timely fashion. This is another way to build trust and make customers more confident in making a purchase from you.
Social media also can be a way to show a different side of your business. Have contests to boost engagement or connect your offline marketing strategies. You can also engage with influencers by liking and sharing their material; in return, they’ll introduce your brand to their audiences.
Focus on your customers
Ultimately, the best marketing comes from customer recommendations. It’s doesn’t cost you anything, and people place a higher value on the words of others. The best way to get those recommendations is to have amazing customer service.
Get to know your customers. You can do this with surveys, reward programs or various software programs. Then, try to personalize your service. It can be something as simple as setting aside a product for a regular who often purchases it, or just asking a customer how their family is doing when they come in. People appreciate the special touch and will tell others.
You need customers to be successful, and you need marketing to gain customers. What you choose to do depends on your budget and time. Hopefully, this guide will help you get started. It’s also important to keep track of what you are doing so you can measure your return on investment. Make your decisions based on data as you move forward.