This post is another in my entrepreneurship series (read more here and here). Now that you’ve decided how to structure your business and file the necessary paperwork to make it official, you’ve got a lot to do to make sure you get your name out there and attract your first customers/clients. Here are 4 tips on ways to get the word out about your new venture.
1. Build a website. This may seem like a no-brainer, but actually, your site will really depend on the type of business and customers you have. Do you have a product, a retail space, a service to sell? No matter what your business, internet presence is essential. Sites like Etsy and similar sites are great for those who don’t want to build a website to house their storefront. The traffic is already there. Consumers know about the site. Once you get your goods photographed and posted, the rest falls into place. However, I’d suggest having a social media forum to promote your products. This way, people will know to visit your Etsy shop.
There are also so many easy-to-build website options out there. If you’re even thinking about creating your own website, take a look at sites like Squarespace, WordPress and many others and get a feel for what each one offers. There are many other options out there. Just do a bit of searching to find out what will work best for you. More complex sites may require you to hire a web designer. That’s ok! This might give you more freedom in what your site will allow you to do and can take your landing page to the next level. Check out options like Fatcow.com or GoDaddy.com. Again, there are so many possibilities. So, take your time and research your options before you commit to one specific site or space.
Be sure to purchase your domain name. This is important! This way no one else can use your domain name. You own it.
2. Be social where your customers/clients are social. What do I mean by that? If your target market can usually be found on Twitter, start practicing how you can provide useful content in 140 characters or less. If your ideal clients tend to hang out on Instagram, focus your efforts on creating appealing images and captions that will attract these people to your IG feed and to your site. If you have a service-based business, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is updated and chock full of information that demonstrates your expertise. Be available to respond to comments and questions, too.
3. Respect the power of the hashtag. No, really. Use them. As annoying and overused as hashtags may seem in general, they are quite powerful. I prefer to put my hashtags in the form of a comment underneath my original posts on Instagram (so as not to clutter the caption), but within the tweet on Twitter (I think that’s the only option). It’s a matter of attracting only those who already follow you versus many more people who are searching for the item or topic you’re posting about. You’d be surprised how many more “likes” or “hits” you will get if you properly use hashtags. Look up hashtags that might fit what you’re posting about and research what people with similar interests use as hashtags, too. This will give you a good idea of where to begin.
4. Be social. What do I mean by this? It’s not enough to simply post your own content. You should also be commenting on others’ content and sharing ideas in a meaningful way. Leaving comments like, “Check out my page.” or “Visit my website.” won’t attract too many people. In fact, many people will probably block you from future postings on their pages. So, be sure to interact on others’ feeds and posts by sharing relevant and meaningful content that adds to the conversation.
Bonus tip! Make sure your site, feed, post, etc. has a “call to action” on it. Let people know how to find you and get more information on your services. What do I mean by a “call to action”? You could post something as simple as a short news blurb that affects your industry or product and that others might find interesting. If they are really interested, they’ll go to your profile, website or shop and want to find out more. If you don’t have a clear indication of how they can contact you or learn more about what you do, then you might as well have already lost them. Make what you do for a living and provide to your clientele very clear. Here’s an example:
Let’s say that you sell coasters. Yeah, I said coasters. Bear with me. You might post a photo on your Instagram feed of an appetizing cup of coffee or tea with one of your beautifully crafted coasters underneath. In addition to using hashtags that fit the scenario and your business, you should have your contact information or website listed in your profile. This way, when people come to check out your profile, they know that they can go to your page to read more, buy some of your beautiful coasters or just see what else you have to offer. A more straightforward call to action could be in the post itself. “Enjoying one of my favorite afternoon pleasures while testing my latest coaster design. Check back soon to find them in my shop!” See that? Call. to. action. ;)