Marketing, before opening business and after.
Welcome back. I’m Sergey Patrikeev at BizBaby and I'm gonna be your guide into the marketing world for small businesses.
In this chapter we will focus on marketing before opening your business and after. How to minimize risks of opening a business nobody wants and how to grow it fast after it was successfully launched.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Marketing is one of the most essential parts of having a business, it includes advertisement, sales, social media, word of mouth, community, user experience, discounts, referral and loyalty programs, reviews, SEO, branding, and more. All of these subjects / activities represent a form of marketing.
If we were to cover it all, it would require an entire book of material, however we will go over some of the essential parts and tricks when starting or buying a business.
Marketing before opening the business:
All new businesses require market research before actually taking a leap of faith and investing your money and years of your life into a potentially failed enterprise. Never open a business with the hope that it will just work out and people will come.
I know you might be super excited about this new business idea and you are SURE it will work, your friends might have told you it would be good to open “such and such”, however that’s just few people’s opinion, and they are biased.
Market research could be done 2 different ways:
- Doing a physical survey.
- Creating a landing page to collect emails or signatures.
Let’s say you are opening a bakery in a residential area, it would be good to know if there is a need for such a business.
It’s very probable that local residents already frequent another local establishment, if they do, they might have some complaints about it, perhaps their staff is not nice, pastries are stale, prices are high.
No business is perfect and you need to know your business advantage, use that feedback to nail down potential new customers and build a better business. It’s possible that there are too many bakeries within a walking distance already, and perhaps it makes sense to look elsewhere.
Go out to the street and ask people questions, document each of the answers.
This might take some time, days or even weeks, however it’s free. Don’t leave until you get at least a few hundred surveys from local residents, any less information might not be enough.
Doing an online survey is a bit more complex and it will cost some money. You will have to either create a landing page website for your business, that asks customers for their input and email about this new business you are “soon to open”.
You might disguise it as an actual existing business and when they click on the button “signup”, you pop up the window saying that you are currently in the construction process and they should leave an email to join the waitlist.
Then, you can email or call each waitlist person and ask them for a quick interview to get to know your potential customers. Don’t consider emails as actual customers or as proof that it will work.
People might sign up for very different reasons or expectations, 50 phone call interviews should be enough to know who your customers are and what they want.
Once you get all the necessary data, you will feel much more confident about your decision. In fact, when looking for potential partners or investors, market research is a requirement to even begin a serious conversation.
Button line, it’s hard doing market research. But it’s much MUCH harder recovering from a bankruptcy because your hopes didn’t come true.
Unfortunately most businesses are based on their founders hopes and dreams, rather than actual research. That’s one of the reasons why most new businesses fail within the first 2 years.
Marketing after opening the business:
Once the lease is signed and business has officially begun, you have a very short time to complete a lot of essential tasks.
- Create a website (link to it from all of the local listings and have it printed on all print materials).
- Create Yelp and Google My Business pages.
- Spread flyers and posters (yes, it still works in some areas, mostly for local businesses)
- Social media profiles (facebook, instagram)
- Spread the word in local communities. (libraries, schools, churches, coffee shops, etc)
- Focusing on the followers and good reviews.
- Run some Google Ads and Yelp ads. (however be careful with these, since their targeting may be too wide for a local business and it could result in poor conversions.)
- Setting your price and reward strategy right.
First few months are absolutely essential in getting your act together, catering to each and every customer and getting the best reviews you can.
After the initial push, the most effective marketing strategy is creating champions out of your existing customers that will spread the word about this new amazing place they have just discovered.
People feel good telling others about something new and amazing, some exceptional customers go as far as posting it on their social media and telling every single friend and a colleague about your business, that’s why your goal is to create as many of those champions as possible.
Cost of customer acquisition from word of mouth is far cheaper than other channels, such as ads and sales.
Creating an amazing service or product also lowers attrition and keeps existing customers with you longer, compared to businesses pouring money on ads to then lose those customers after the first visit or order.
Customer service is of the most importance when turning regular customers to champions. Having a great service or product is not enough.
You must be able to turn complaints into praises. Best champions are often turned from complaining customers who had an issue, and you resolved it in such a way, that made them WOW’ed.
In return it CHARGES them with the most positive energy making them want to spread that around to others. It’s a cycle that you must master in order to create customer champions that will propel your business into the clouds of success.
If you get customers through the website, it’s important you start your SEO game early. New websites take extra time to be ranked high in google.
We will cover SEO in chapter 17.
Let’s summarize everything we have learned in this chapter.
We have covered marketing before and after opening a business.
Before opening the business we need to do alot of homework on research and surveying potential customers. Through either physical surveys or doing online targeting to local customers.
After business is launched we need to establish business online and local:
- Create website
- Create Yelp and Google My Business pages.
- Spread flyers and posters
- Social media profiles
- Spread the word in local communities.
- Focus on the followers and good reviews.
- Run some Google Ads and Yelp ads.
- Set your price and reward strategy right.
Congratulations, now you have learned the basics of marketing before and after starting your BizBaby.