Of the 500,000 plus new businesses that start up in the U.S. each month, stats indicate that fewer than half will still be operating five years later. As Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson likes to say, “The separation is in the preparation.” As you prepare to launch your small business, make sure you’re equipped with the marketing plan you need to get your startup going and on the path to business growth.
First, let’s look at the three key marketing tools you need before your startup starts up:
- Brand identity
- Market research
- A business plan
These pieces all work together. Your startup’s brand identity and market research will fuel a business plan that details where it fits in the marketplace. In the planning phase, you’ll want to answer questions like:
- What want or need will your business meet?
- Who will your customers be?
- Who will your competitors be?
- How will your business be different from marketplace competitors?
- How will you gain market share and grow?
Brand identity isn’t just about an eye-catching logo, memorable name, and a tagline that captures your mission – though those are all elements of it. Identity also speaks to the “feel” and voice that your brand will have. When you get it right, brand identity can help you get your business off to a faster start with the people who fall into your target market.
Thorough market research helps you to determine whether your products and services are truly needed in the marketplace. It also enables you to identify and study potential competitors and fine-tune your business model to gain competitive advantages.
Both of the previously mentioned components will assist in creating a business plan you can use to keep operations on track in the early days of your startup when it’s easy to get distracted. A good business plan can also help you attract partners or secure financing. The marketing part of your plan will describe how you intend to successfully reach your target audience, gain market share, and grow.
Now let’s look at the three marketing tools every young business needs to grow:
- A mobile-friendly, SEO-optimized website
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
Even if your business doesn’t sell online, it needs to be represented online for one simple reason: Most searches for business start with an online search. Also, a majority of Google searches occur on mobile devices.
Mobile and SEO-friendly website
If you want prospects to find your business online, you need a website design that displays well on any kind of device – smartphone, tablet, desktop or PC. It also need to be optimized for search and have content that will motivate visitors to take the actions you want them to (visit your business, subscribe, buy, get a quote, speak to a sales professional, etc.).
Social media marketing
Effective social media marketing enables you to reach your target market. It also helps with word-of-mouth referrals from customers when they visit your business and check-in online, leave reviews, or want to tell their own social media followers how much they love your products or services.
Email marketing is a relationship builder. It can play a vital role in moving potential customers through the buying journey. Engaging email newsletters can help you turn new customers into repeat buyers, long-term customers, and loyal brand advocates. It also makes it easy for happy customers to tell their friends, coworkers, and family members about your business by simply forwarding your email newsletters, coupons, and special offers to their own contacts.
You’re not just a dreamer, you’re a doer. As you prepare to launch your new business, make sure you have all the marketing tools you need to take your new business from startup to solid ground.
What was the one marketing tool your startup couldn’t have succeeded without? Tell us in the comments below!