When you start a new business, there’s a lot of decision-making that happens in a short period of time. We’ve devised this quick little cheat sheet to make the marketing portion of your new business one less thing worry about. While these tips are just the tip of the marketing iceberg, these 7 must-do marketing moves will take the guesswork out of your first steps as a new business owner.
1. Create your local listings
If your business has a physical location, having people be able to find you is pretty important. Local listings are profiles like the ones on Google My Business or Yelp. They feature important information about your business like your phone number, a website, store hours, and of course, your address. Listings like these are often a part of a review platform, which does double duty of showing that your business is active and ranking better in algorithms.
How to create a Google My Business listing:
Visit this page and ensure you have access to your business email. You will then be prompted to enter basic information about your business. Once this has been completed you will then be directed to your Google My Business dashboard – however, your listing isn’t live yet, next is the verification process. There are multiple ways to verify your listing. The quickest is via email, phone, or Google Search Console but this is not always available. Most businesses must verify by mail, where Google will send a postcard to your business address that contains a verification code.
How to create a Yelp listing:
If you are already familiar with Yelp, creating a business account uses a different URL for Yelp Business (which you can access here) than what you may have used as a consumer. First, select ‘Manage my free listing’, Yelp will prompt you to enter your business name to ensure it isn’t already registered. Next, you will begin the process of creating your (free) account by entering the standard information. The final step is verifying your account by entering a verification code that is sent by email or phone call.
How to create an Apple Maps listing:
Whether you use Android or Apple, missing an opportunity to be included in map results is something no business can afford. You will need to have an Apple ID to create your Apple Maps listing, but you can do so for free here. To begin, visit the Maps Connect page where you will log in with your Apple ID. You will first have to check if your business is already listed, from there you will be given the option to create a new listing. Once you have submitted your business information comes the verification process. This is generally pretty quick and takes no more than a day or two at most. If there is missing or incorrect information your listing will then be manually reviewed which can take considerably longer.
2. Claim your username
It doesn’t matter how you feel about social media, your business needs to be on there. You don’t have to use every platform but it’s important to claim the user names or handles relevant to your business in case you decide to engage on social media later on.
Not sure where to start? At a minimum, create a Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter account. If you plan on creating content down the road or if the nature of your industry is heavily visual then Pinterest would be a good idea as well. For the sake of continuity, try your best to make sure that all of your social media usernames are the same across all channels.
3. Create business social media accounts
Speaking of social media, if you plan on doing any type of paid ads on social media, we recommend creating business accounts on social platforms. Such account types are available on Facebook (which also owns Instagram) and Pinterest. There are a few more hoops to jump through compared to creating a standard profile – you’ll have to verify your business showing a business license or something of the sort – but it’s worth it. In addition to running ads on social, you can gain useful insights about your audience, as well as the ability to promote and link to your website from your content, and even sell your products directly through the platform.
4. Create a Canva account
No matter what kind of business you run, the product you sell, or the sales channels you use, at some point you’re going to need graphic design work. Instead of throwing down a couple of hundred dollars a month for Photoshop, Canva is an awesome free alternative. This design software has hundreds of customizable templates and plenty of beautiful stock photos. It can be used to make all sorts of imagery like blog post covers, social media stories, fliers, and newsletter layouts.
5. Check out your competition
It’s never a bad idea to see what your competitors are up to. Competitor analysis is not only useful for keeping an eye on your closest rivals, but it gives you an insight as to what’s already working for them (and what isn’t working so well). There are some great free analysis tools that you can use, but one of the best things to do is to simply run a search for the product or service you offer and see who shows up in those search results.
See everyone on the first page? Those are your main competitors. Take a look at how their websites are organized, the types of content they put out, the kind of promotions they have, etc. They’ll serve as a good point of reference of what you should want to work towards.
6. Choose your target keywords
The bulk of your brand awareness will likely be through digital means. As such, keywords are going to be a huge part of your marketing strategy. In a nutshell, keywords are the search words or phrases that you want to appear for online. Say for instance that you sell handmade candles. unless you use those words specifically throughout your site, how else would search engines, not to mention the actual users, know that’s what you sell? Therefore it’s important to pick keywords that you will use throughout the entirety of your marketing strategy and implement them early on.
A great place to start is with the aforementioned competitor analysis. See the way that your competitors refer to themselves or their products. You can create a free account on Mars which will allow you to conduct a limited number of keyword research reports a month. When choosing your keywords you want to consider the volume, how many searches that term gets on a monthly basis, and difficulty, how many other people are trying to rank for that same word or phrase.
7. Set up Google Analytics
The basis for making any marketing decisions requires having data. If you’re not afraid of rolling up your sleeves and diving into a spreadsheet, Google Analytics is a treasure trove of useful data. It can tell you how people use your site, where they come from, and who they are. It can go very in-depth to tell you even more juicy tidbits like which products are selling the best, which pages convert the most traffic, and which pages have your users abandoning their browsing session. Setting up Google Analytics for your business is free and easy and only requires having backend access to your website. This brings us to our most important marketing must-do…
8. Have an awesome website
And last but not least: having an attractive and user-friendly website is probably the number one thing you can do for your new business. Your website is essentially your digital storefront, and likely the first impression most users will have of your business. Even if you don’t sell your wares or services online it’s an essential part of the shopper experience – failing to have one means you’re missing out on a crucial touchpoint to connect with future customers. Your website should make it abundantly clear who you are, what your business stands for, and what you offer.
Marketing for Start-Ups Made Easy
Starting a new business is no small undertaking – and neither is launching a marketing strategy. The first months of a business can make or break it, so give your new enterprise the best shot at success with a strong start. These 7 must-do marketing moves cover the basics of a digital marketing campaign: keyword research, competitor analysis, user optimization, social media marketing, and link building.
Already mastered the basics and ready to move on to more advanced marketing strategies? Let’s connect! We’d be happy to provide a complimentary consultation to see what services your business would most benefit from.