Guest advice by Hillary Bassett Ross of Kinetic Pencil

Marketing plays a key role in the launch of a new business and it can be challenging knowing if you’re starting off on the right track. In today’s economy, nary a business can survive without solid Internet marketing—but if you’re like most businesses, the best agency in town is simply beyond the budget. Don’t worry: Here is a checklist of all the key ingredients needed for a successful launch.

Marketing strategy – Build your empire with a strong foundation

Although we’ll cover the materials you need to begin marketing your business, there are some key components you need to prepare. Behind every successful launch is a smart strategy, so take the time to complete this groundwork.

The sharpest strategy in town. Your business delivers goods or services to customers, and so does the next guy. It’s competitive out there: You need to be smarter and more nimble than your competitors.

  • How can you find customers where your competitors aren’t looking?
  • How can you offer a more compelling price point?
  • How can you make your business explode through viral marketing?
  • How can you beat your competitors’ search traffic?

Distinct brand message. When learning about your business, customers need to ‘get it’ quickly. And if they don’t, they’re on to the next thing. First and foremost, you need to be clear about what you sell:

  • What do you do, and how are you better?
  • Why it is beneficial?
  • How does it help your customers?
  • Why is it the best solution for your customers?

Now – Distill this information down to ONE sentence. Difficult, I know.

beautiful_repixl_638-d856baab7d62e76275e8b9efb36cf246There is a lot more to brand messaging than writing one sentence, but we’ll start here for now!

Commitment to flexibility. I’ve noticed a trend amongst those who don’t work in the Internet marketing world. Full of shock and dismay, I hear things like, “Google changed again” or “I paid for that Web site 5 years ago, and now I’m told it’s not good enough.” It’s true that never before has information moved so quickly and our markets changed so dynamically. But what’s also true is that never before have we had access to an entire globe just waiting to buy our products. The web will always, always, always change. If you want your business to be successful, make peace with that.

Marketing strategy – Employ tools essential for viral growth

Online presence. In my experience, most clients have big plans for the information they want to explain on their sites, but they completely overlook opportunities to incite user action. Your Web site should be DOING something. Generating leads, selling products, collecting email addresses, providing opportunities to have a conversation, building a newsletter list—there are countless options.

Whether you’re selling cupcakes or carburetors, all businesses should have a website that does the following:

  1. attracts potential customers
  2. drives engagement with your customers
  3. makes it easy for customers to share your site, product, or resource with others

Think about your business and your potential customers.

  • What interaction opportunities can you offer your visitors?
  • Can you give visitors an incentive for taking action?
  • Can you sell products on your site?
  • How will you collect their contact information?
  • How can you help encourage visitors to share your site with others?

Tool to build a customer list. Starting a business includes a lot of work, effort, research, and development. But before you even start, you need to build buzz and begin connecting with customers. I know, I know—you want every last detail to be perfect, right? Wrong. Totally wrong. You need to do two things:

  1. You need to start talking about your business and connecting with potential customers NOW.
  2. You need these potential customers to start talking about your brand, so you need to make it easy for them to do so.

These are the most important steps you can do for your business, and fortunately for you, Kickofflabs provides the exact tool you need to accomplish both of these.

viral_tweet-4d548ecf0c1783ae89a4aa91e3d6d640Even if you don’t have a domain, a live site, or a prototype, start building a customer list for free withwww.kickofflabs.com

Means to keep your customers engaged. You’re not the only one to learn that the power of the Internet will make your business money, so you need to have something that people want from your online presence. Once you have a website and a way to build your customer list, don’t overlook the most important thing: give people a reason to WANT to connect with you.

  • Does your business serve consumers, or businesses?
  • Is your business related to a topic that is frequently discussed, debated, researched?
  • What type of information would your customers need to make a purchase decision?
  • What can you give your customers for free? Get creative here.
  • Think about other businesses that consistently communicated to you – what worked (or didn’t)?

Each type of business or industry has its nuances, but a great place to start could be a blog, a Facebook page, or some type of giveaway. Once you have developed your plan to keep customers engaged, remember that an underlying goal is to generate a discussion. Create content that is share-worthy and inspires comments, tweets, or posts.

Sharp messages about your brand. There will be a million opportunities to explain—on paper, on the web, or in elevators—what your business does. We talked about distilling your business down to one, resonating sentence. Working from that sentence, build out a few options.

  • How can you describe your brand in a three-sentence overview?
  • How can you describe and illustrate the benefits of your brand on a one-pager?
  • Can you list out the product/service benefits in a bullet-point list?
  • What information would you provide for a customer, and what would you provide for a partner?

Look across successful businesses and you’ll find a common trait: they are always selling. Get your value proposition burned into the brains of each employee, and make sure they are positioned to communicate the value proposition and close the next sale.

In sum, asking the right questions and planning for the most effective, measurable results will lay the foundation for ongoing prosperity. Congratulations on your new business, and here’s to your upcoming success!

About this article

This article is written by Hillary Bassett Ross, a Principal with Kinetic Pencil. Kinetic Pencil provides marketing strategy and web development to help small- and medium-sized businesses win on the Web. Read more articles like this at www.kineticpencil.com