Starting a new business is so exciting, but it can be daunting! There is so much to keep track of, so much to do, and seemingly not enough hours in the day. How do you even begin?
While no one can give you the get-rich-quick recipe to instant success, there are tried and true ways of networking and finding a reliable customer base. Here are 4 essential questions new business owners should ask themselves on their path to success.
1. Traditional vs. Email Marketing
Snail mail gets a bad rap. The truth is that it is easier now more than ever to reach thousands of customers with the click of a button. Why would you bother creating more clutter in the world that your customers will probably just throw in the trash?
Investing in a solid email marketing strategy is essential. Use your website to collect the emails of visitors and add them to your virtual mailing list. Then, be sure follow up with emails at regular intervals. This is an easy way to make connections with your customer base.
But don’t write off snail mail just yet! There is so much potential for small, localized businesses to stand out. Traditional marketing letters can be very effective when done right. Because there are fewer and fewer businesses engaging in this marketing method, your business has great potential to stand out.
2. SEO Strategy
In 2018, Google fielded at least 63,000 searches a second. It controls an upwards of 90% of the global search engine market. If you are trying to expand your web presence and reach new customers, you should be learning how to rank better in Google search results.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO is the practice of optimizing your content on the web to increase organic search engine traffic to your website.
It may seem trivial to a localized business, like a catering company or a plumber, but the future is web-based. Your potential customers are searching google multiple times a day, and they’re looking for services you provide. But they won’t go past the first page of google search results to find them.
Learn advantageous keywords related to the services you provide, start creating content with them that provide tremendous value to customers, and give that content to them for free. You will gain authority in your field and establish yourself as a trusted source.
3. The Right Vendors
If you are new in your chosen field, it is important to choose vendors which specialize in serving your businesses’ specific needs. It might be cheaper to enlist the services of more generalized practitioners, but, for your needs, it is more expeditious in the long run to work with other businesses that are specialized in the field.
You wouldn’t hire a personal injury lawyer to litigate a divorce, right? They both have knowledge of the law. However, one has specific experience you can use to your advantage. If you’re a radiologist, it makes sense that you would hire a radiology billing service, as opposed to a generalized billing agency.
When you’re just starting out, you want all the resources at your disposal as you possibly can muster. This means that you want your business partners and vendors to not only efficiently meet your business’ needs, but to provide specialized knowledge of needs you may not even be aware that you have.
4. Social Media Presence
Does your business need an Instagram, and a Pinterest, and a Facebook page, and a Twitter? Probably not. But you definitely need some sort of social media presence!
The world of social media can be overwhelming. For local businesses, especially those which rely heavily on word of mouth, there is a lot of hesitancy amongst business owners to put “too much” out there on the internet. Cancel culture looms large, and saying the wrong thing can mean death for a small business.
This fear isn’t unfounded: small businesses can often rely too greatly on the personality of their founder or CEO. This can be a recipe for disaster, when those same businesses let the opinions of one person run rampant and taint the business’ good name.
But if you’re committed to professionalism and can navigate the sometimes toxic environment of social media without losing your cool, you’re already ahead of the game. Choose one social media platform to perfect—and then actually put the time into perfecting it.
If your company is design or visually oriented, Pinterest or Instagram will be great choices. For companies that want to ingratiate themselves into local culture and interact with their customer base, Twitter and Facebook are your best bets.