When starting your own business, there is a lot to think about. By this time, your products and services are likely to be ready and offered to the costumer. The office will have been organised, stationary chosen and the accounts set-up and ready to be managed. But how do you make your target market aware that you are out there and ready to trade?
A traditional way of reaching clients is through advertisements in newspapers and magazines. This can be effective, but eye-catching advertisements can be expensive. If you are a small business and just getting started, your budget may not allow for extensive advertising. Smaller ads are less costly, but they are also easier to overlook. Therefore, it is wise to post an advertisement if you can, though it’s important to remember that you may only catch the attention of a small percentage of your estimated target group.
Brochures and leaflets are another way of marketing your goods and services. Door-to-door delivery of these leaflets or brochures is still a common practice. However, this method has its less desirable sides as well. If you do not have your own designer, you will need to hire someone to create your promotional material. Printing at home or at the business is time-consuming, tends to give the material a less professional look and does carry the expenses of paper and printer ink.
Professional printers create a better-looking result, but this does come at considerable cost. You pay for the quality you get. If your predicted income and the funding you have brought into your business can cover this expense, it can be helpful to have this type of promotional material on hand. If you cannot justify the expense straight away, it is best to leave it for the time being.
With the environment on people’s minds, consumers are starting to think green and choose green. More and more potential clients do not look kindly on leaflets and brochures being dropped in their mailbox. It is seen as a waste of resources, especially when delivered uninvited.
This is where creating your own website comes in handy. The Internet has a widespread popularity amongst consumers. No matter what people are looking for these days, a search engine such as Google can find it for them.
Perhaps you already have some skills at website construction. Otherwise, friends or family members might have this knowledge. It can be surprising how many people know how to build a website. Alternatively, there are companies and freelancers available who can build you a custom website in almost no time and at reasonable fees. Be sure to request a few quotations and compare prices.
Another tip is to do a search for companies that offer similar goods and services and see what type of set-up they have. Which sites look appealing and which do not? Are they easy to navigate? Is there something you think they could improve on? Don’t plain copy their ideas, of course. Be unique and reflect the personality of your business. But a bit of research can be helpful and can allow you to design a website your customers will find appealing and might recommend to others.
Web space can be purchased at a small cost. Some Internet providers offer free web space and free email addresses. Email can allow you to keep in touch with potential clients and established clients in a fast and affordable manner.
Once your website is ready to be presented to the market, consider adding it to a variety of search engines. Google and Yahoo are two of the main ones used by clients, to find companies and the services they require. Be sure to add your company to the Yellow Pages (business directory), or your national equivalent of this service.
Although at first your website may only reach a small percentage of your target market, having a website is a big bonus in this age of technology. Over time, you could add a form to enable clients to order catalogues and brochures, create Internet shopping facilities and team together with other businesses to advertise on the other’s websites.
There are plenty of opportunities available to spread the word about your business. Make sure you take advantage of them.