Starting up your business but don’t know where to start? Keep reminding yourself that every Virgin or Microsoft started out as a start up business so look no further than to startups who can support with a few guidelines re marketing and PR – the majority of which can be undertaken by a novice.
The most important factor to consider is that activity is cost-effective, doesn’t take up too much of your time and is predominantly sales-driven.
Firstly, and as with any type of marketing strategy and implementation, you need to consider whom you are targeting and why.
Once you have an idea of your strategy and objectives you might want to look at some of the following cost effective ways to promote your business:
• Purchase of local business mailing lists — personalised mail-shot letters of introduction.
• Surveys are cost effective. You could take on a student from the local school looking for some work experience to speak to people in the vicinity (samples of around 150 people). These results can also be utilised for press release purposes.
• Market research with friends and family — sampling days.
• Involvement and support of local community, schools, the elderly, depending on the product or service you are promoting. If, for example, you are an independent stationers, ensure that you target all local schools and universities for new term discounts.
• Keep your eyes and ears open at all times for what is going on in the news and the calendar — August is a quiet time for news and spreading the word, as are Bank Holidays.
• Target conference companies for speaking opportunities if, for example, you are a legal firm with particular specialities.
• Join a networking group
• Network — remember people’s names and where you met them — you never know who will become what and when.
• Work with other local businesses, be creative and stand out (but not too much as this can backfire).
• Use customer satisfaction forms.
• Attend exhibitors, not necessarily as an exhibitor.
• Competitions and promotions — build a database of contacts.
• Customer service — learn from our cousins across the pond.
• Never underestimate the nag factor — target children and establishing brand loyalty from a young age.
• And do not underestimate the power of the 50+ market.
• How do you look and present yourself — would you trust and believe in you?
• Tap into the mindset of your target audience — what makes them tick?
• Read the papers, industry press, listen to the radio and watch television. Know your industry and enthuse about it.
• Pay attention to details — fresh flowers, a clean environment and light airy offices or workspaces are welcoming.
• Once you commence communication with an audience, maintain that level of communication, albeit media or direct consumer audiences.
• Any activity that is undertaken needs to be manageable and the subsequent results managed. Be realistic wherever possible and never over-promise.