Your business cards are printed, you’ve worked out the perfect height for your swivel chair, and settled on the perfect email sign off (professional, yet approachable). Congratulations! You’ve got a business, but how do you get customers?
Hopefully during the creation of your business plan you identified your target market, so we already know who you want to reach just not the how. Of course there are some marketing strategies that are more effective with one target market over another. For example giving out free loom bands might not be the most direct route to 50+ professional males. (Loom bands, for those of you that don’t know, are magically multiplying elastics that appear to have an addictive effect on school aged children), but while each target market is unique there are two effective marketing approaches that must be utilized.
Create an image
Or perhaps you need to review your image – are you communicating the right things? The first experience people have with your business is your business name and logo. The name and logo can be brushed over, dismissed, or they can lodge themselves in your customer’s brain, waiting to be plucked when they require your product or service.
Your business name should be unique, memorable and descriptive. What does your business say about you? Simplicity? Affordability? Service? Quality? Can it be easily remembered, entered into someone’s phone, or jot down on the back of a scrap of paper?
Some people are more responsive to images, and that’s where your logo comes in. A good logo can fill the blanks left by your business name, create interest, and be a visual cue for your products, services, or values. A company with the name “Peters & Sons” isn’t explanatory, but combine it with a memorable and descriptive logo and you know it’s a stationary company or a water park.
If have the financial resources but not the know how a graphic designer can be invaluable. Make sure you find someone that you connect with and that understands your business and what you are trying to achieve.
If you’re not sure what your business name and logo are communicating do some good old fashioned market research. Send your business name and logo to your friends – what do they think the business is? Is it recognisable? After you tell an acquaintance about your business, ask them a few minutes later if they remember the name or what was on the logo. You might be surprised.
How many times have you heard of a restaurant, but you couldn’t find the phone number, or website? Or using their website is a labyrinth of frustration because you can’t find a menu, address, or a phone number? This common mistake usually results in you binge eating curry from that place down the road and suffering through yet another ghee hangover, and a restaurant missing the opportunity to welcome new customers. Don’t turn away would-be customers when the solution is easy.
You need to have an online presence, whether it be social media (such as Facebook) or a website. It needs to be recognisable and easily found through a quick Google search. Remember that social media sites will require monitoring and that some people may feel more comfortable using a website, which is the ideal. It’s great if you can do both, but at least have a basic website that is aesthetically pleasing yet intuitive with easily available contact details – such as phone number and email.
Don’t restrict your business to the internet. Just as some people prefer websites to social media, others require a human connection. Even if they never use it, it’s comforting to know you can call the business if you need to. Having an easy to remember phone number that starts with 1800 or 1300 will also give your business a professional appearance. Visit Zintel for 1800 numbers and make it easy for people to remember your contact details and pass them onto friends.