You’ve got the idea for an amazing business. You’ve done the research; you know who your target audience is, and you have put together a comprehensive business plan?that only lightly touches on your branding and marketing.
We get it, branding and marketing is the scary unknown part of your business. Branding is the “look at how pretty I am” and marketing is the “look at how awesome I am” parts of the business. But they are also just as important as any other facet. And I’m here to tell you, that it’s so much easier than you think.
First off, let’s talk about what’s scary about it for you. You’re excited about your idea, but your afraid others won’t be. And putting yourself out there is nerve-wracking! Feeling that way is completely normal. Every entrepreneur goes through the intimidating stages of entrepreneurship. You are not alone. Find your tribe to help you through this part of the process. They will support you and help you take that leap.
Now, let’s talk about how you can market your small business like a pro even when you have no experience.
- Get a website. OK – I gave you the big one right off the bat, but trust me, this is important. When it comes to online, your website is the only real estate you truly own. Plus, there are many free platforms to build your website on (i.e. WordPress, Wix) that also make design simple with drag and drop features.
- Start a social media presence. The idea of being on social media can be overwhelming. So let’s start with this – you do not need to be on ALL platforms. Managing social media can be a full-time job (we can help with that!). So don’t overwhelm yourself with the idea of being everywhere. If you’ve done your target audience research, you know where your people are.
- Link them up. Once you create the website and the social media you want to be on, make sure you make your website prevalent and drive your traffic back there.
- Go organic. Not kale – but get your close friends and family to like/follow/share your website, blog or social media handles. Ask them to give you reviews on your Facebook Page if that’s where you’ve chosen to make a presence.
- Embrace the EASE of Canva. You do not need fancy graphic design software to create stunning and eye-catching graphics to promote your business. But you do need graphics. People are automatically attracted to images. Get the attention you need with a branded graphic. As for Canva, there is a free and a paid version. The free version is perfect for beginners. As you get more comfortable with it, look into the paid version.
- Create a content calendar and start to automate! Sitting down once a month and creating a calendar full of content for the month will ease your panic about ‘what do I even put out there!’ Use a program like AirTable to organize your content. Once you brainstorm your ideas, put them into action. Use a program like Hootsuite to schedule your posts. Like Canva, both AirTable and Hootsuite have free and paid versions.
- Engage. How you interact with your audience sets your tone. Tone is crucial for building brand loyalty. Be professional, but friendly. Be straightforward but kind. Be informative, but eager to learn. All of these things will help you create a bond with your audience and make them coming back for more!
- Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and rule it! SEO is what makes your business stand out in search engines such as Google and Pinterest (yes, Pinterest is in fact a search engine). Good SEO starts at the back end of your website or blog. Using the proper tags, snippets, key phrases are a great start. Include your graphics in your blog posts and webpages. On your social media profiles, use hashtags. Define the hashtags that refer to your business and industry and be consistent with them.
- Be consistent. Trying to understand social media algorithms is a whole other ballgame, but one thing is for certain, being consistent in your engagement and posts, you’ll start to get recognized and show up regularly in your follower’s newsfeeds. And once you get comfortable with being out there, look at some paid ads on the platforms of your choice. Facebook and Instagram can cross share ads so you’ll get more bang for your buck if you’re on those platforms.
- When in doubt, get some help. Simple Desk can help you with your marketing plan. We can manage it all, take over the steps you struggle with, or teach you how to do it on your own.
Now that you have the basics of a solid marketing plan, it’s time to get started. Like anything else, it becomes easier the more you do it. There are plenty of resources on simple marketing plans like this one to get you started. The template we’ve created is simple and easy to implement. And don’t forget our checklist. This will help you stay on task!
And remember, we are here to help. As a small business owner myself, I completely understand the thought and consideration that goes into taking that leap of faith. There is no shame in asking for help. Especially when it’s our goal to make it ‘Simple’ for you so you can succeed!