So you’ve started a small business, congratulations! You’ve taken one of the hardest steps in entrepreneurship. You said YES to yourself, YES to your dreams, and YES to business ownership. I am so proud of you!
So what do you do now?
How do you get customers? How do you get people to notice your business? How do you stand out in an online crowd saturated with businesses just like yours?
The answer to all of these questions is this: Marketing!
Effective, thought-out, and strategic marketing is your BEST chance at growing your new business.
Now, I realize that marketing is sometimes perceived as a bad word. But friends, let me tell you, it’s not at all. Marketing is your best friend! Marketing is telling everyone you know about your new business in a loving, caring, and exciting way.
I know you can take the steps to start marketing like a pro and get your business growing in no time.
When I talk to small business owners about marketing the response I usually receive sounds something like this… “Yes, I want to do marketing, but where do I start?”
If you look at marketing as a whole it can be very overwhelming, I totally get that. Today I’m going to teach you TEN steps you can start TODAY on building the foundation of your marketing plan moving forward. Think of marketing for your small business like a LADDER. These TEN steps below are the FIRST STEP on the LADDER to a successful marketing practice. I can teach you each step, BUT, you need to start at the first step and then move your way up.
These TEN steps are MUST HAVES for any small business marketing practice. This is where you should start and then we can build on this sturdy foundation.
Let’s get started!
First things first, what is your business name? It’s smart to pick a name that incorporates what you DO or what you SELL. Don’t choose a name that is completely different from your business. If you’re a hairstylist don’t make your name I Love The World, or something completely off. People should look at the name of your business and know what you do and remember it.
If you work for another company, like a network marketing company, be sure to create your OWN name for your business. For example, say you’re a Beachbody coach, you should still have your OWN name, such as My Fitness Group. You need to call yourself something so people know what YOU do.
It doesn’t matter too much what your business name is, what matters is that you have one, and you use it consistently everywhere. Don’t get too hung up on the name. Just go with your gut, pick something, and stick with it!
I 100% suggest having a Website. It doesn’t have to be super snazzy, have lots of pages, or even pictures of you, BUT you need to have a landing page. Make that landing page beautiful and represent your personality, your services, and how to reach you. Your Website MUST have ALL of your social media links readily available for people to click on and follow you. I can’t tell you how many times I go to promote or share someone’s products with my friends, and I can’t find their social media links. This is non negotiable!
You can easily create a FREE Website at one of the following Websites or just do a Google search and find a site that you like. If you want to consider Blogging someday, make sure your Free Website has that capability. I would also make sure it is capable of hosting an Email List at some point, like MailChimp. I use WordPress and I am very happy with it!
It’s important to create your brand from the very beginning. I go into detail about how to do this in my blog post On Branding, but to keep this simple, I want you to pick THREE colors you like. Three colors that you want to use moving forward for all of your marketing. It can be easy and fun. Don’t think about it too much, just think of three colors that coordinate and that you love. When you create your Website, use these colors. In addition to picking colors, think of a Font you like, and be sure to stick with that Font on all of your marketing images. Creating a Brand is basically sticking to the same Look and Feel of all of your online business content. Just remember to be consistent.
Identify your Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA):
Your Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) is super important before you can move forward in marketing. You need to identify WHO you’re selling too.
I go into this in more detail on my blog post here: Ideal Customer Avatar.
Think about WHO your ideal customer is write down in detail everything about them. The most important question to ask yourself is what problems do they struggle with? Your product or service should always strive to fix their problems.
If you own a business Facebook wants you to start a Facebook Business Page. Technically you aren’t allowed to promote your business on a personal page, although people do it. The benefits of a Facebook Business Page is you can categorize your business so people can search you, you can take advantage of Ads, and people can follow your page without having to become your friend. In order to start a Facebook Business Page you will need a personal profile.
For your Facebook Business Page I suggest using the name you picked in Step 1. Link it to your personal page. Use a photo of YOU if you can for your profile picture and use a Business Photo for the Cover Photo. Complete as much of the About section as you can, and I recommend using a lot of the same verbiage as you use on your Website. Be sure to link all of your social media accounts on the About Page as well.
Facebook Business profiles have amazing features such as Book an Appointment, Learn More buttons, and Surveys. All of these features are unlocked depending on what type of Business Page you set up at the beginning. I recommend making your Facebook Business Page as detailed and specific to your industry as possible. These features will help you narrow down clients who are searching for you. I would also recommend posting an Introduction post that includes a picture of you, and your Website link, and then Pinning it to the top of your page. This is the first post people see when they come to your page and it lets them know what you’re all about and where to get more information.
For your Personal Facebook Profile, definitely add your WORK as your Facebook Business Page. In your about section add information about your business so people can be directed to the right place if they want to buy from you.
You can post on your personal page about your business page and always link to it by using the @ sign and then your business name like this: @coffeeattiffanis. It will auto fill your business page for people to click on.
Definitely invite ALL of your friends to like your business page and also encourage them to share it with their friends.
Set up an Instagram account if you haven’t already. This is the best social media marketing tool for selling. Your Instagram page can be linked to your Facebook Business Page, that way if you decide to run Facebook Ads, Facebook will post them to Instagram as well.
Your Social Bio is the most important part of your Instagram Profile. This is the space at the top of your page and it is limited. You need to use this valuable space for what Julie Solomon calls your Elevator Pitch. Julie Soloman is a great resource for you to dig deeper into Online Marketing. She is an expert on Influencer Marketing and offers valuable FREE webinars on her Website. Click Here for more information!
Once you get your Elevator Pitch figured out, you can add it to all of your social profiles, including Facebook and Twitter. This pitch needs to be consistent on all of your social accounts and even your Website. For your Social Bio I recommend using something short and sweet – you don’t have a lot of space. It should describe what you do, specifically, and also be inviting with a Call to Action. I would also include something unique about yourself, a value you believe in strongly, and your location.
This Social Bio is what people will read to decide if they want to follow you so it needs to be amazing. It’s okay if you change it over and over again until you get it right. I’m changing mine all of the time, and it will probably take you 10-20 times before you decide on one to keep. Keep changing it and improving!
Be sure to include a picture of YOU on your Instagram Profile. This photo needs to be your face, up close, where you can see your eyes. People want to know you and see you, after all this is SOCIAL media. If you have a picture of yourself you are way more likely to engage with potential clients.
I’m sure you’ve seen people with the story highlights under their social bio. These are great to use, but they are a little more advanced. Basically you can add your InstaStory to your Highlights and then categorize them in groups. To get them to have a fancy picture you have to create a picture with the right spacing, font size, and colors (this can be tricky) and then add it to your story, and then set it as the new Highlight Cover Photo. I will do a video soon and show you how to do this!
The highlights are great if you own a business because potential clients can click to see important things you want to show them. If I was selling products I would definitely have one that showcased all of my favorite products. If I was a personal chef I would have one that had all of my favorite dishes. If I was a hairstylist I would have a highlight reel that showcased all of my favorite looks. If you don’t have time to set this up now, don’t worry! We can come back to it!
No matter what type of business you have, I think it’s extremely important to have a Pinterest Profile, and use it for your business. Pinterest is the BEST way to generate leads to your Website and social media and it’s super easy and doesn’t take much time.
Create a Pinterest Profile, or use the one you already have, and then change it to match your Instagram and Facebook Profile Bios from above. Be sure to also add your Website.
Once you do this you can create boards to start Pinning all of your content to. You can Pin your Instagram posts, plus Create Pins that lead to your Website or your Facebook Business Page. Pinterest is a Search Engine, and potential clients are using it to find your website.
This isn’t like social media where you need to worry about how many followers you have (but you will gain them), mostly it’s another place to share your business with people that want to see your ideas and services. If you’re a Personal Chef create boards like Recipes in Every Food Category. Pin your own recipes and also Pin others peoples. If you’re a Hairstylist Pin your hair looks plus other peoples. If you’re an Interior Designer Pin YOUR styles plus others. Keep your Boards organized and clean.
Using Pinterest will grow your audience tremendously and it doesn’t take much time at all. I add Pins to my Pinterest Boards once a week and you can even post the same pin to multiple boards to increase your traffic. If you want more training on Pinterest, I would recommend Melyssa Griffin. She does amazing Webinars about Pinterest called Pinfinite Growth and they are super helpful.
Post Once a Day with #’s:
Once you have your three profiles built, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, it’s time to start posting. I recommend posting at least once a day and using the appropriate hashtags to attract potential clients.
When deciding what to post I always start with checking out my Instagram Grid. I use an app called Plann. This app lets me see what my photo will look like on my feed after I post it. This helps keep your GRID consistent and clean and in line with your branding.
Once I decide what to post, I post my image and copy (the words) to Instagram and my Instastory, sharing to my Facebook Business Page Story simultaneously, and then I post the same image on my other profiles like my Facebook Business Page or Twitter. Then I will make sure to PIN my post on Pinterest.
Do this posting method consistently every day.
Use Hashtags on Instagram to attract your potential clients. Always have your Ideal Customer Avatar in mind when you post – ALWAYS! Talk directly to your ICA in your Copy.
When using hashtags use ones that aren’t posted a million times. Try to stay in the 200,000 – 800,000 range so you will get noticed by most people. The Plann App can help you determine what the best Hashtags are. In addition, if you need Hashtag ideas, try searching for a certain Hashtag on Instagram, and then Instagram will give you some more suggestions.
Always use links and tag other accounts if you are mentioning them. This is key! Tagging people is wonderful because they will share you if you share them. Also if you tag other accounts, they will notice your account and help you grow your network.
Don’t use Links in your Instagram Copy because they won’t be clickable to your viewers.
Do use Links in your Facebook copy because they ARE clickable.
Use Stock Images:
What do you post? Pictures! You need Pictures! Captivating ones that stand out and get people to STOP SCROLLING.
Take pictures of everything you do or sell, but remember they need to look professional. Take extra time to take the RIGHT picture and make sure it matches your brand like we talked about above.
It’s really hard and takes a lot of time to get all of those beautifully edited images. I recommend supplementing with a Stock Image database and getting some FREE images to use. I love Canva and use it almost every day for my marketing images.
You can easily go to Canva and search your business category, or anything you want a photo of, and find FREE images to use to create great content. Once you have your images, you can add text using Canva, or I also use an app Word Swag, which I love!
It’s important to use the same few colors, look, feel, and fonts on your images. You want to look at your Instagram Feed and make sure your images are all consistent with your branding.
Prospect Clients, Build your Network, and Join Groups:
Now that you are ALL set up to ATTRACT clients, it’s time to use your social media accounts to FIND prospect clients and get yourself noticed. The best way to do this is to actually interact on your Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.
On Facebook you can join Facebook Groups that are in your business or industry. If you are an author, join other Author Groups. If you’re a Personal Chef, join other cooking groups or personal chef groups. These Facebook Groups are a great way to build your network and find potential customers. Be sure to not just join, you need to interact to get noticed.
For Instagram, be sure to follow this idea, if you want people to comment and like your photos, then you need to comment and like other peoples photos. Interact! If you see a story you like, send someone a message. You are trying to reach out to people that may need your services or who are in the same position as you. This helps build your network and open up conversations to find potential clients.
For Pinterest, be sure to Pin other peoples Pins, not just your own. This will help generate traffic to your Pinterest Page, and help YOUR Pins get noticed.
I’m here to help!
These first TEN Steps will get you started on your foundation to building an effective marketing practice. By following these steps you will see your audience start to grow and so will your sales!
The good news is this — you can stay on this first step of marketing for as long as you want, and still have effective marketing practices for your business. Stay on this step and master each of these skills and you will see results.
Good luck friends! Take your time and remember to have fun!