Did you know that about 20% of small businesses fail within their first year? This might not sound like a very high number, which is a good thing, but you don’t want yours to fall under that depressing blanket. You already have a bang-up business plan, staff that you love and trust and a location that is easily accessible and convenient for clients. But what about your marketing strategy? What are some ways that you can kick your marketing into higher gear so that you can succeed through your first year of operations?
An Amazing Logo
Starbucks. Apple. Twitter. Did you instantly see the logo for all three of those companies when you read them? A logo is more than a cutesy little picture that you like, it’s a visual representation of your business. You don’t want something boring and forgettable, you need something lively and interesting — but most of all, you want something that’s going to represent your company.
If you don’t have a logo or feel like yours needs a reboot, contact a graphic designer to help you design one. Your designer can also help you with things like best practices for adding a new logo to your products so as not to confuse consumers. Or, if you’re artistically inclined and feel like you can do it yourself, check out an online logo generator to help you pick something beautiful and perfect for you that you designed yourself.
Think about your personal shopping habits. If you want more information about a company, you do an online search to check them out first, don’t you? Now imagine if you discovered that the business had no website, let alone any web presence at all. Would that give you a minor case of the heebie-jeebies and make you question how legit the business is?
Considering that 97% of consumers are searching for small businesses online, you want to tap into that demographic as much as possible. Don’t be one of those weirdos that refuses to build a website; with places like WordPress and Wix, it’s easy to drag and drop what you want and where you want it, or you can choose from some amazing pre existing templates that professional graphic designers have already uploaded.
A Blog Section On Your Website
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest buzzwords in the small business community these days and for good reason. SEO can help businesses to drive traffic to their website, thus increasing the chances that they will be found online by consumers running a search on a search engine.
When you have a blog section, not only are you taking advantage of SEO by sneakily adding keywords here and there, but you are also keeping the user engaged. Having an informational and well-researched blog section can help people find you who weren’t even looking for you. That’s the beauty of SEO: It only discriminates results based on the keywords entered. By having an amazing blog section full of diverse topics, you are increasing the chances of strangers finding you online.
Partner With Other Businesses
If you get to know other businesses in the same industry, you can do some serious magic. Let’s say you run a bakery. It’s a great idea to get friendly with competing bakeries, but don’t forget about others in the industry: Caterers, wedding venues, even local flour mills can be helpful! It’s always a good idea to “know someone;” not only are you increasing the chances of word of mouth through other businesses, but having your name associated with thriving, successful companies can help you to borrow some of their glow.
Not only that, but once consumers give your business a try and see what the fuss is all about, your great work will speak for itself and you will build your reputation around the community. This also includes online reviews: Make sure that you answer all reviews, even the negative ones, and show clients that you care and value their opinions.
The Bottom Line: Marketing Is Essential
Marketing is one of the single most important things that you can do as a small business owner. Doing nothing to spread the word will yield you expected results: Nothing will happen. It’s scary to step out of your comfort zone and start putting your name out there, but 80% of the time the risk is worth the reward. Don’t let your business be one of the 20% that fails its first year thanks to shoddy marketing.