Here are some tips to look over before launching your new business. These three potential marketing pitfalls can be avoided, saving you wasted time and money as you start out on your new venture.
THE WRONG AUDIENCE
I was at the state fair looking for “fair food,” and as I walked down a street of busy food vendors I suddenly realized that it was awkwardly quiet. I was standing in front of a new vendor whom no one knew and no one was trying. Everyone was passing them by without a second glance. The food these “new guys” were offering was probably wonderful, but who would know, because in the chaos and fun of a fair, most people aren’t looking for professional signage, trendy images, and glossy finishes. Hungry nostalgia seekers want flying flags, the smell of fried stuff, and big words that say exactly which recognizable food is being sold there. Are you reaching the right people? Not the people you want to be your customers, but the people who already want what you offer (or will want it as soon as they know who you are and what you do).
- DEMOGRAPHICS – Find out some specifics about your audience, and then go after them. Know their genders, ages, locations, and other interests. Consider who they are and how they should best be approached, before you set out to spend money on advertising or vendor fees.
- SOCIAL MEDIA – Take advantage of social media when learning more about what your target audience is wanting and expecting. Get [free] feedback. Growing your followers through social media and email is critical, so give it attention.
- FIGURING IT OUT – If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. If you are already having success with online sales, don’t drop it completely to start your brick and mortar store. And if you are having success at the weekend farmer’s market, don’t stop cold turkey to begin something else. Take care of the customers you have, and do your best to keep repeat business.
- GENERATE EXCITEMENT – Even if you feel like your business is moving more at the speed of a canoe than a rocket ship right now, your attitude should be super positive in your advertising, social media, and person-to-person contact. People like being part of something that is taking off and something that everyone is wanting in on, so give them that atmosphere.
BUSINESS NAME WON’T STICK
Choose the name of your business as thoughtfully as you would naming your child. There’s a lot to consider…
- PRONUNCIATION – Can your audience pronounce the name of your business without getting frustrated or messing it up?
- SPELLING EASE – Can your audience spell the name of your business easily? If they search for you online or they type in your website address from memory, will they get it correct?
- MEMORABLE – Will your audience remember your name hours later or days later or even months later when they suddenly need your services but never jotted down your name? If they can’t remember your name, they can’t easily find you. You want a specificity to your business’ name, but avoid super long strings of words, especially when some of them are meaningless. There were two different pumpkin patch type places in the same county. One was named “Harvest Fun Farm” and the other was named “Brighton Farm & Autumn Acres.” Which name do you think tells its message more clearly and more memorably?
- CLARITY – If you make and sell furniture, naming your business “Potter’s Furniture Shop” is not going to be very clear for those reading the sign at a glance. They may not be certain if you are creating pottery, building furniture, or making furniture out of clay! Also, naming your business something familiar to you but completely unrelated to your business tells your audience nothing at all. Take “Briar Creek Shop” for example – you could be selling anything with that name, and your potential customers have better things to do with their time that figure it out.
- DOMAIN AVAILABILITY – Having a simple domain name is important. If the name you want for your domain name has already been taken (beforethewar.com), you may be able to put a logical twist on the name (beforethewarbook.com), but if you just can’t, you may want to consider an altogether different name for your business. And on a side note, if your domain name is one that people always want to pluralize or tend to misspell a particular way, you may want to purchase an additional domain name that takes this into account. For example, my domain name is DreamleafDesign.com but I also own DreamleafDesigns.com and have it pointing to the right place.
- AVOID NEGATIVITY – If your last name or some other word you want to use in your business’ name negatively twists others understanding of your business, skip it and find a different name. In the long run, you don’t want to call your dental practice “Mark Pain’s Dentistry.”
When I tell clients that we must “advertise informatively,” I’m not referring to the amount of information included on the brochure, business card, or other marketing piece. I’m referring to the content. An uninformed or confused audience is not going to stick around. No one has time to be convinced that your product or service is what they need or want. That message has to be clear from the beginning.
- A CLEAR MESSAGE – Although a logo is SUPER important (and if you need a logo, Dreamleaf Design can take care of that for you!), don’t leave your audience to assume what your business does based on a the logo. Your business’ name may already say it very clearly, but if it doesn’t, make the message clear! If you are providing something no one has heard of, show a great photo of it! If you are selling something that is difficult to understand, explain it! Share clear and concise info in a way that will send a straight-forward message to the audience. People are more comfortable with any situation when they feel well-informed, so assume nothing and explain everything well through images/graphics/text.
- WHO ARE YOU? – Your logo may look cool, but you aren’t Target and you aren’t Facebook. Most people aren’t going to see your logo and instantly recognize it. And if they do recognize it, chances are they haven’t yet built up their ideas of how reputable, sought after, and great your business is. By all means, use your logo to BUILD your business’ branding, but don’t depend on it to give you credibility in your field or to sell your service or product on its own.
Dreamleaf Design can help you get started on the right marketing foot!
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