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October 12, 2015

Cut through for start-ups

For many start-up businesses constraints of time and finances create early limitations on how much focus can be placed on branding, marketing and promotion. In a world where everything is at your fingertips and so many similar businesses competing for the same work, it’s important to create a good first impression. Your logo, identity and marketing material are how your potential customers first see and hear about you.

duck

“If you walk like a duck and talk like a duck, unless you’re selling ducks, you may be giving the wrong impression and lose business before you’ve had the chance to talk about it.”

When you’re not there to justify and support your product or service, then who’s doing it for you? If your budget allows, invest in a professional to create your logo and identity. They can offer loads of advice and work with you to translate your ideas and set you on the right path to begin marketing yourself.

One of the most powerful ways to market a business today is through an online presence. Today’s ease of access and connectivity, the fact that people are spending more of their time browsing to look for information to help form their decisions is testament to this.

The difficulty for most start-ups is deciding how to monopolise on this and which avenue to take. Websites, social media and blogs all have their obvious merits but which is the best one to choose?

If current trends and performances are anything to go by the answer to this question is all three, or at least as many as you can handle. If you can only choose one, research your audience and determine the avenue which best reaches them.

Websites are arguably still the most effective way to control and convey your own specific brand, products, services and messages. With few limitations and restrictions your website is a unique space where you can deliver compelling information to persuade prospects into customers. With no advertising and feed distractions to compete with it can be a purely branded and business focussed portal where you own and control the whole message.

Website analytics add to this with the ability to capture rich information about your prospective and existing customers. This sheds light onto what is working with your website, its content and messaging and deep insight into how you can improve it. Rich analytics offers you an understanding into your customers, their needs and requirements, which allows you to ultimately deliver more value to them which strengthens your relationship.

Social media and especially Facebook with its 1.23 billion monthly users worldwide (about one-sixth of the worlds population and 12 million of these in Australia), is definitely not one to be ignored. Used well it is an indispensable tool to connect and engage a much larger audience and encourage them towards your website where they can be informed in more detail of your products or services.

Most social media in its basic form is free to use and easy to navigate so gets an obvious tick as a valuable business tool. Most people using Facebook for personal use for example would already have a source of eager salespeople in their existing connected friends. Simply asking them to ‘like’ a new business page easily opens you up to a much larger audience.

If you’re willing to invest a little you are also able to easily promote your Facebook page by targeting specific groups and demographics that are specific to your marketplace increasing your audience once again.

Google+ another social network to soon rival Facebook currently has 400 million+ monthly users and can be utilised in the same way to broadcast to a broader audience once again directing them to a more focussed view of your business.

With a multitude of free blogging sites like WordPress, Blogger, Google+, Tumblr you need minimal web knowledge to create your own blog and get an online presence. Blogging has a wide range of benefits for businesses. Used clearly and consistently it has the capability to not only develop and strengthen brands and reach new customers but to build influential communities to exchange information, reviews, solutions and opinions.

So, should every event-based business have an online presence? Well, if you’re looking to grow your business in a competitive market, than yes. If done correctly a website is a silent selling tool operating 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Fiona Booker
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