Before you can launch your new small business....
1st - Do Some Preliminary Research.
- Determine if there’s a market for your product.
- Test your product / service with real users and make tweaks based on their responses.
- Dertermine that your product is ready to sell.
Determine Your Target Audience
To help determine your target audience ,you’ll want to research potential customer demographics and create a customer classification. A customer classification is a fictionalized representation of your ideal customer that will help you better understand the needs of your target audience.
Envision the kind of person you think would benefit most from your product or service, and ask yourself:
- How old is this person?
- What needs do they have, and how will your product or service fulfill them?
- What kind of job do they have?
- What are their interests?
- Where do they live?
Determine whether you will be servicing B2C (business-to-consumer) or B2B (business-to-business ) Audiences will look different when selling business-to-consumer products than they do if offering business-to-business products. In B2B, you’re more likely to be selling to a purchasing manager or even a CEO. In B2C, you’ll be marketing to a person in a certain stage of life or income bracket. The marketing approaches are similar, but the needs of a business likely won’t be the same as those of individual consumers.
When you’re first learning how to start a small business, these strategies will help you identify the right markets and create marketing strategies to help you succceed.
Know Your Market
Today customers want to feel like your business is talking directly to them.
When you take the time, as a brand-new small business, to learn about your audience, you can offer that kind of appealing personalized content from the get-go.
Useful data to concider:
- Family status
- Age range
- Spending patterns
After you determine your market audience, you will want to develop marketing campaigns geared towards these 4 goals:
- Promoting brand awareness or expanding reach
- Building relationships or an online community
- Generating leads
- Gaining direct sales
Market Your Business
Brick & Mortor Businesses
How you market your business will of course depend on what type of business you have.
Leverage scalable advertising channels.
Conventional advertising mediums such as TV, radio and newspaper ads tend to be pretty costly but can be effective. Online advertising can be cheaper and more targeted. Popular options are Google Pay Per Click ads and Facebook ads. Also, don’t forget to list your business in free online directories like Google Business for Google Maps and Yelp.
You also can promote your latest products and services through these free or cost effective methods:
- A telephone message that plays your promotions while customers are on hold.
- Window decals advertising your latest offer if you have a retail shop.
- Car magnets and bumper stickers displaying your advertising while you drive around town.
- Yard Signs.
- Door Hangers.
- Advertising on email signatures or letterheads.
- Sending special holiday discounts, birthday coupons and surprise rewards to your mailing list.
- Small window decals – have your friends & customers display them on their cars.
- Text Marketing.
- EDDM mailings. (Every Door Direct Mail)
- Rack Cards.
- Don’t forget your business cards!
Make use of the media.
Getting your business featured by the media is free marketing. To capture the attention of the media, try these and invite the media to come and cover it.
- Contact your local TV Newspaper. They often have a section that promotes new businesses.
- Create a publicity stunt. Think of some of the crazy ones that Richard Branson has pulled off including dressing as a female flight attendant onboard his airline.
- Do something for the community, and send out a press release prior to the event. For example, some innovative hair dressers have offered free haircuts to the homeless.
- Sponsor an event by donating your products or services as giveaways or prizes or host a contest.
You can also seek opportunities to be interviewed for print, radio and TV.
Every time your business does something newsworthy, don’t hesitate to shoot off a press release—maybe folks will pick up on it. They’re a powerful media tool to use to help generate publicity, and having free distribution of them is a bonus. There are dozens of websites out there that you can use for your press releases, such as PRLog and 24/7 Press Release.
Join a relevant online community and contribute.
Every niche has forums and groups online that you can get involved in. This can be time consuming as you need to actively contribute and build a rapport with the community, while keeping your business out of it. Passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate.
Coordinate with your partners to help each other.
When you are a small business with a limited marketing budget, it makes sense to partner with other businesses you buy from, advertise with or sell to. Not only do you both win when your businesses succeed, but there is added credibility when another business recommends you.
Today's Marketing Essentials
In today's world, a website is a must.
For your customers to find you online, you will need a website. But you first need a domain name. You want your domain name to be memorable for your customers. Some say it should be as close to your company name as possible—an exact name if possible. But make sure to consider relevant search terms people might use to find your business online. Using a keyword in the domain name will definately help your ranking for SEO.
For example, you might be the only Brian’s Home Repairs in your town, but someone in another state has already registered brianshomerepairs.com. Not to worry—you can pick something like greathomerepairs.com or besthomerepairs-nashville.com and customers will still be able to find you.More
Find Relevant Keywords
To determine the best domain name and start developing continuity in your website content, start by doing “keyword research”. The best FREE way to do this is with Google Keyword Search.
Purchase Your Domain Name
Pricing is pretty consistent from all companies when purchasing a domain name – right around $16.00 /year. That’s right per year!
There is not much sense shopping around much to save on pricing. The one’s that might offer a FREE domain name will sock it to you when you go to add a website platform.
If you want, you can spend some time shopping to see if you can save a dollar or two per year but….
Save Money by Building Your Own Website
There are many companies advertising to get your website business. You no-doubt have heard of some – GoDaddy, WIX, Weebly and others.
All these companies may offer upfront discounts, some even offering a FREE website. But, beware, in the end they offer very limited FREE options when it comes to making your website do what you want and in the end will cost more.
All website builders nowadays use “Drag N Drop” builders so you won’t need to know any coding. Each will have a learning curve involved before you get really good at.
I can get a website setup for you for only $300 – $400 and then teach you how to add content and/or make changes to your liking. And I charge $10.00/month for website hosting.
WordPress Is The Best!
SiteGround (And most others) offers it’s own platform/system for building your website, but it, again, is somewhat limited.
As you may have heard by now, WORDPRESS is the sysstem most used throughout the world.
According to our friends over at “Kinsta.com”
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system powering 34% of all websites on the internet. On top of that:
- WordPress has a 60.8% market share in the CMS market
- WordPress powers 14.7% of the world’s top websites
- 500+ sites are built each day using WordPress while only 60-80 per day are built on platform like Shopify and Squarespace
- The WordPress Plugin Directory features 55,000+ plugins
- WooCommerce powers 22% of the top 1 million ecommerce sites in the world
You'll Need A Theme
With that in mind, you will still need a “Theme” to use in building your website.
The company I use for all my themes is “Themify” They have the best selection, most useful and diversified site builder. They offer FREE and Paid themes to match any business idea. And when you combine them with all the WordPress plugins, there isn’t anything a person can’t do with this combination. Their customer service is beyondd reproach as well!
Again – I can saave you a lot of time and can get a website setup for you for only $300 – $400 and then teach you how to add content and/or make changes to your liking.
And I only charge $10.00/month for website hosting.
Marketing Your Website
This is a subject all to it’s own, so look here for more info on this.
Prepare to take your next steps
As you think about how to start a small business online, be careful not to get stuck in a rut. You’ve done your preliminary research, and you know that your product or service can sell, so it’s not too soon to get moving. It’s important to have a plan, but don’t overthink it.