How can I make my business better known?
Jane Ellison-Bates of Manifest Marketing Ltd offers an insight into strategies that work
There are a myriad of ways to make your business better known and an integrated marketing strategy involving many threads of activity is the key to really raising your profile. Don’t set out to do any one individual marketing exercise and expect it to work in isolation or you are likely to be disappointed. For example, advertising without a good website to drive someone to is likely to have limited success, likewise a fabulous website without any exposure elsewhere may not be discovered or sending a mailing without backing it up with reminders in the media can be a waste of time.
The joy of successfully marketing a business lies in gathering the strands together and managing them. You need to start at the beginning. Does your company name really work? Does it grab attention, does it at least give a clue what you do? Your logo and branding are the next consideration. Use them consistently; it’s no good reproducing things differently depending on whichever media you are using, make it recognisable to work for you. Make it bright and eye-catching. Consider a clever and memorable strapline that adds some personality while communicating a key ethos of your business. A favourite we created for a client was ‘People at the heart of care’ for a care home.
Next up is your website. Ideally get it designed and built by a professional as a home-made site invariably looks just that, but make sure you get it built on a good platform with plenty of scope to add and edit pages yourself so that you have day to day control of the content.
Keep it fresh. Your website content is absolutely crucial. The head of SMB marketing at Google told delegates at the Yorkshire Mafia conference last year ‘Quality content is the best thing that you can do for your website’. Don’t kid yourself you can write it, you don’t have an independent perspective. Draft up what you want to say and then have a professional copywriter polish it; it’s what they do for a living, they know how to write for your audience not for you and what the search engines are looking for, which is ‘plain English’ and an informal style.
Now that you have a good marketing showcase for your business it’s time to make some noise. As PR specialists we advocate telling stories. The media is a big hungry beast that needs feeding, but they don’t want junk food. Great copy with interesting hooks will get you column inches and airtime. It’s coverage that you have to ‘earn’ so it has to be good.
Because getting editorial coverage depends on a huge number of factors you have no control over, advertising remains your medium for staying in control to be certain of getting your business seen where you want to it to be. You ‘own’ it because you pay for it, so use this space or airtime to communicate clearly, boldly and memorably the messages you want your customers to understand. Think about those USPs (your unique selling points) and use them unashamedly!
Tap into the fantastic resources that are available to promote your business for free. You may not like it, but there is no denying that social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have massive potential whatever line of your business you’re in. Use it. And let’s not forget networking; see and be seen and help other businesses who will in turn help you.