Starting up a new business is an enormous challenge and a brave thing to do. So, if you’ve made it this far then congratulations! The next step can also feel daunting, but compared to the first one it’s a breeze. Generally speaking, the first bits of marketing that you’re going to do for your new business will need to be seriously budget-friendly, or ideally free.
As well as that, you’ll need to be reaching totally new customers, so they’ve got to be effective and properly targeted as well. We’ve put together some ideas that fit all of these criteria so that you can gain a loyal customer base as quickly as possible. Whether you’re an SEO wizard who’s marketed a thousand brands before or a total novice who doesn’t even know what SEO means, we’ve got some advice that could help you.
List it Locally
One of the most effective ways to gain a customer base is to target those around you. This tip can’t work for companies who are based entirely online, but for everyone else, it’s exactly the kind of thing that helps you compete with the big guys. Most people would rather support a local firm than a national or even global one, so all you’ve got to do is ensure your product or service is up to scratch and that they can find you.
The best way of being easy to find is to list yourself on sites like Google Maps and Places, Yahoo! Local, and Bing. These sites are applicable for all kinds of business, but there are likely to be some tailored specifically to your industry too. Builders, carpenters, plumbers, and more can list themselves on sites like Checkatrade. Restaurants, hotels and the like can list themselves on TripAdvisor. All of these sites are specifically designed to help customers find what they are looking for in specific locations, so they’re exactly the kind of place that you need to be.
Review, Review, Review
Once you’ve registered with the sites that apply to you, make sure to ask your customers to leave a review. Having a listing on Google Maps is one thing, but if you’ve no reviews then you could lose out to businesses with more visible history. Whilst this all sounds very simple, actually getting people to review your business does require a bit of work. As with all of the tips on this list, the first step is to ensure that your product or service is flawless.
You’re far more likely to receive reviews on your negative experiences than your positive ones, so going the extra mile is essential. Adding extra value is a simple way to make your customers feel appreciated. If you’re selling items then making sure your packaging is beautiful so that it feels like a gift doesn’t cost a great deal more, but makes your customer feel appreciated. If you’re offering a service, then stopping for a chat afterward and asking if there was any way you could improve makes a customer feel valued. Ensure that you’re doing as much as you can in each interaction and then you’ll start to see positive reviews coming your way.
Offer a Bonus
Good reviews and local listings are the perfect places to start, but if you’re in a very crowded marketplace there are other methods that work well too. One of the ways in which companies can stand out is to offer bonuses to their customers. The iGaming sector is a particular proponent of this approach, so much so that whole sites exist just to help users filter through the bonuses available. In this sector, bonuses like free spins or deposit matches are the most commonplace, but in your sector, it could be something totally different.
The first thing to bear in mind about this approach is that you shouldn’t give away what you can’t afford to. You need to decide in monetary terms what a new customer is worth to you and give away something considerably under that amount. You could offer an incentive to your existing customers for money off when they introduce a friend. You could offer a percentage amount of someone’s first purchase. Incentives for signing up to mailing lists work well too. Think about the kind of offer that your business can afford to make and work well within your budget.
SEO Is Nothing To Be Scared Of
Many people are daunted by the very term Search Engine Optimization, but there’s really no need to be. The way that SEO works is no big secret, Google wants your business to succeed because when you do they do too. Working out the keywords for your business is a good place to start and will yield the fastest results.
If you are going to predominantly be operating locally, then your keywords should include your location. If you’re going to be operating over a much wider area then your keywords need to be honed to the exact niche that your business fills. Once you’ve worked out your keywords, look into some basic SEO tips and apply them to your website. Another great way of boosting yourself up the search rankings is to start a company blog.
Start a Company Blog
You don’t have to be the best writer in the world to start a blog, you just need to be knowledgeable and passionate about the subect you’re writing about. The chances are, if you’ve started a business in a certain sector then you’re already very knowledgeable and passionate about it!
Try to post at least weekly, but ideally more often, and link to companies that you admire in your posts. Include images, video clips and formatted text to make your writing appeal to readers. Once your blog is off the ground and gaining you some hits on your website, reach out to other bloggers in the industry and ask if you can guest blog for them. Not only will this build your network, but it will also build your brand’s credibility and give you the opportunity to backlink to your own website, further boosting that all important SEO.