You have started a business and completed the initial set up steps. Now you need the one thing that is going to make your business a success – CUSTOMERS! Without customers you don’t have a business so it is vital to make sure that people know what your business is, what you provide and how they can access it. If they are in the market for what you offer how are they are going to find you?
You could have a fantastic business concept offering fantastic products or services but unless people know about you then you don’t have a successful business. We have looked at the opportunities for raising your brand awareness effectively without costing you the earth. The more of the following that you can fulfil the more awareness you will create and the more chance of reaching potential customers!
Do you have a website?
If you sell or trade online then the answer should be yes. If you don’t have a website you will never know how many potential customers you didn’t get. Most people, when looking for a business, are looking for a solution. To do this they will go to Google and type in what they are looking for. This may be a plumber in their home town or a specific product that they need. If they are using Google and they don’t find you, you have missed that opportunity. Get a website built, even if it is a small, basic website. Make sure you have a presence on the High Street of the web!
The beauty of social media is that it doesn’t cost anything to start up. Anyone can create a business page with Facebook as long as they have a personal account. Facebook is the modern word of mouth. If you are a Facebook user you may have seen your friends or acquaintances asking for recommendations for a local restaurant, child minder, plumber, fencer… The great thing about Facebook is that most people will get involved and recommend their friends etc. Be part of this community and take advantage of this free marketing. Also consider other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. The platforms you choose need to be relevant to the type of business that you have. If you don’t have any images Instagram will be a waste of time whereas if you are b2b then LinkedIn is a must!
Whilst networking events may not be full of potential customers they will help you to meet like-minded people in business. There may be people there who are able to offer you advice and you can share experiences. They may even suggest ways of finding business. Take a pile of business cards with you and share with as many people as possible and ensure that you get theirs in return. You will be surprised at the opportunities that these events can uncover.
It is a term that has become more popular in recent years but a blog is a “web log” it is a log on your website and basically somewhere you can write an article for your audience to read – just like this that you are reading now. Blogs are good for several reasons:
- They show that you are an expert in your field.
- Written with search engines in mind, they can be used to increase your website traffic.
- They can be used to engage your audience so that they look forward to your weekly updates.
- Blogs are great for encouraging people to share with others and grow awareness of your business and brand.
It can be hard for small business owners to get to grips with all of the above and you may need help. Invest a little in outside help or call on favours from your nearest and dearest to help you but do take advantage of these low cost options as a way to increase your brand awareness. It is far more cost effective than taking out huge ads in local papers or magazines. For your business to be successful you need to make sure that people know who you are and what you do!