When starting your own business, there are a number of factors you need to consider – everything from pricing and packaging to staff and expenses. While these factors are all crucial to your startup, they are not the be-all and end-all to your success. The fact remains there is one area that could literally make or break your business, even if you have all of your other ducks in a row. This is what we like to call the “buzz factor.” You may have next best thing since sliced bread, but if no one knows about it, chances are you’re not going to get very far.
It seems entrepreneurs have given considerable weight to the phrase, “if you build it, they will come.” This may work in a smaller field, however, when 565,000 new businesses were started in 2010 alone, you’re going to need something that helps you stand out. This means you have to do more than just show up with a great new idea. You also have to promote that idea every single day. You have to be your idea’s champion.
The problem is that most people already innately know this. It only takes a fair amount of common sense to see that the more people that know about your product or service, the more success it will have. The real issue here is that while you may know what you need to do, you may not know the how. With this in mind, the following tips can be used as guide to help drum up interest and increase the “buzz factor” of your next startup venture.
Promote Yourself Online from Day One
As soon as you have a rough idea of what you want to do, it’s time to start promoting it online. Your first steps should include:
- Getting a domain name.
- Setting up social media accounts on the most relevant platforms for your business.
- Setting up a free email marketing service account with a company such as MailChimp.
- Hiring someone (or making time yourself) to make create a single webpage that gives a brief pitch of your idea and includes links to your social media accounts and a signup form to capture emails.
When these are in place, take some time to make people aware of your new venture. Email friends, family and other contacts your website address. Share the page on your personal Facebook and Twitter accounts. Put your website address on your business cards, your email signature and anything else you are using to disseminate information about what you are doing.
Once you are done with the initial promotion, you’ll need to stay on their radar. This can be achieved by making regular updates on your social media accounts and sending out periodic updates to your newsletter list. People like to feel like they are part of something new and exciting. Using these promotional tools will help you create that feeling with potential customers and help get your message out there.
It won’t take long to exhaust your current resources in regards to promotion. This is where you need to take time out to make new connections that will help leverage your product in new ways. Like in the first tip, the Internet can give you a good boost in this area. You can use the growing social aspect of the Internet to your advantage. For instance:
- LinkedIn is a great resource for professionals, but did you know you could target more like-minded individuals through the LinkedIn Groups and Answers sections? Both areas involve becoming an active participant of the site, which allows you to showcase your expertise in your field.
- Twitter is a great tool for reaching other individuals or companies who may be interested in helping promote your product. A little research can go along way toward making beneficial relationships.
- Similar to LinkedIN Groups, Facebook also has a group tool. Doing a search for your industry will provide you with a list of related groups that you may wish to join. Participation will help give your company added exposure.
While social media is an excellent start, your networking efforts shouldn’t stop there. Here are some additional ideas to consider:
- If you’re a local business (and even if you’re not) make sure to join local networking groups and events that will be helpful for your business.
- You’ll also want to identify other businesses that you may be able to partner with or have similar goals with. Get in contact with them and start a dialogue. Even if you don’t end up working with them, they will still be aware of your company.
- Go to trade conferences and events. This is a rare time where you will be in an area filled with individuals who have some type of affinity with your industry. Not only will you get to see what’s going on in your field, you’ll also have a great opportunity for networking.
Something to keep in mind – if you’ve followed the advice in the first tip, you will now have a nice little online marketing package. This is especially helpful when networking, as you’ll have something concrete to direct people to. It shows that you’re serious about what you’re doing, and it will make people take you more seriously. As an added bonus, if they like the idea, they now have a vessel to help you promote it as well.
What are your thoughts on the topic covered? Did these tips help you? Take a minute and share in the comments section below.