Gaining visibility for your business is probably one of the most important yet challenging issues business owners face. You probably don’t have unlimited time or financial resources to pump into marketing your business. Ultimately, your goal as a new business owner is to increase visibility, and on a budget.
What we know is that the best marketing isn’t really marketing. It is educational content. It’s called content marketing and it serves as a funnel for leads and new business.
Whether you are a small business or solopreneur (a business of one), these 8 tips for new business owners will help you improve your visibility without breaking the bank.
8 Tips For New Business Owners
Learn from others
I regularly follow, read and interact with people from multiple industries and areas of expertise. Not only does it help me learn new tricks, but it also helps keep my mind nimble and see things in different ways. I also follow and communicate with people in the same space as my business- career coaches, resume writers, to help keep me up on trends in the industry.
Tools of Choice: I regularly read articles and add noteworthy sites to my Feedly account. Ian Cleary of Razor Social wrote a post on how to use Feedly here. I get most of my news/updates from Twitter. I’ve created lists to organize the different types of people/accounts I follow which makes it easier to find something on a topic or skim for news. You can learn more about the 26 tools my business couldn’t do without.
Take Calculated Risks
Be open to trying new things. Stepping into un-chartered waters can be scary but it may open doors to new opportunities. Keeping up with technology may reveal a new tool or resource to help you promote your business. For example, have you heard about Periscope and Meerkat (live-streaming apps)? Maybe you could try live-streaming an event, film a featured employee or customer, or showcase features of a new product or service. Or take a simpler route and incorporate images/photos into your marketing. Read why using images is powerful and tools to easily make your own.
Become a Thought Leader or Expert
Write and speak a topic. Find your voice, develop great ideas and become a go-to source. Creating content (articles, blog posts, videos, slide presentations, white papers, you name it!) is a key step in building awareness of you and your business.
Everything you share online is google-able! This means, if you’ve done it well, your online content acts as a client magnet as well as a media attention-grabber.
Yes, this takes time. Consider building your content based on solving problems for potential clients or get content marketing ideas here.
You can’t ignore social networks/social media. These networks have become vital for connecting with customers and sharing your information (not blasting promotional updates about your product or service). I’m not suggesting you hop on every platform right now. Master one first, then add to it. Here’s a quick overview of the top four social networks.
For example, if your customers are primarily using LinkedIn, master this platform. Learn how to use groups to meet new people, learn how to write a long-post on LinkedIn, and learn how to embed media into your profile. SlideShare is a great companion for LinkedIn. It allows you to upload documents, infographics, and presentations.
Take It Offline
You will undoubtedly meet potential clients, partner companies and interesting people online. Consider this the first step. The more important step is to meet with the person face to face or arrange a phone or video call. This is how relationships are taken to the next level.
Map Out the Week
This is the most difficult concept for me. I realize that the weeks I’m most productive is due to the fact that I’ve calendared every event and activity I need to do. It sounds so logical, but the reality is that things pop up. I’ve found I’m much better at resolving a crisis when I know what else I’ve got going on that day.
I’d love to say I’m paper-free, but I need a calendar on my wall so I can see what I’ve got going on for the month. Seeing this calendar also serves as an inspiration to fill in the blank spots with activities, events or outreach.
Developing a content/blogging calendar helps too. When you add the publish date of a post to your calendar, you’re more likely to write the post and plan how you will promote it until you write your next post. HubSpot offers a free editorial calendar and a free social media content calendar.
Keep Track of Your Efforts
Besides mapping out activities, set goals or launch dates for projects. Then you can record/document the results after you’ve concluded the project. Keeping a record of your successes will help you build your next plan for the future.
Know When To Part With Your Money
I’m incredibly frugal, to a fault. There are times when it is absolutely worth it to part with your money. I’m not suggesting buying Twitter followers. But you may want to test targeted Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads or Twitter ads.
When you reach a point you want to invest in the growth of your business, you should check out SCORE and SBA.
Want More Help?
Many of these tips and suggestions are explored further in Social Networking For Business Success. Did you get your copy yet?
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.