So, you’ve finally perfected your product or service…you’ve got a great business name…and a website – kind of. But you don’t have the slightest idea of where to start with marketing your new venture.
This article will help you with ideas for developing a priority list of marketing materials you’ll need to launch your new business.
1. A Website. Since you’ve already “kind of” got one, it’s best to ensure that it’s 100% perfect. You’ll need to have someone (other than yourself) take it for a test drive. Make sure all the links work and point to the correct destinations, and that the navigation is easy to follow and logical. If it’s a commerce site, make sure the shopping cart feature is functional and easy-to-use. Plus, you’ll want some kind of assessment of search engine optimization performed, even in the early stages, to ensure people can find you when the word gets out.
2. Brochures and Price Lists. It’s difficult to do business with someone who doesn’t have pricing and product information handy – whether it’s online or off. Brochures highlighting the benefits of your product or service will help make your selling job easier. A data sheet will be beneficial to you if your product or service is technical in nature. If you have multiple products or services, a price list is a must. People don’t want to do business with someone that doesn’t put their prices in writing.
3. Press Releases. You’ve got a new product or service that fills a need somewhere, and that’s newsworthy – so let the world know.. Have at least one press release professionally written and distributed. If you’re on a tight budget, spend the money on a pro to do the writing, then do the distribution yourself using online resources such as http://www.PRWeb.com and other services.
4. Point-of-Sale (POS) Merchandising. This is crucial if you’re promoting a product sold in consumer or business store fronts. Take a walk through your favourite mass merchant or big-box store to see what’s popular, like corrugated floor or end cap merchandisers. With new printing technologies available, even small runs in corrugate can be affordable on small budgets. Don’t forget to first check with your client what their merchandising preferences and policies or guidelines are.
5. Advertising. If you have the previous four items (or three if you don’t need merchandising) in place, it’s time to look at doing some advertising. It could be a simple, online banner ad that you want to run, a PPC campaign or e-mail blast, even a more complex integrated campaign using online and offline formats. Obviously, you need to research what you want to do and the associated costs in order to budget accordingly for the investment of time and money that will be required.
Don’t forget to monitor and test results from your website, press releases, POS and advertising efforts. This will help you determine where your money is getting the best return, or if you need to “tweak” anything. And, when it comes time to build your marketing plan for the next year, you’ll know what to repeat and what to avoid.
If you’re really stuck for time or simply overwhelmed by the whole launch process, then take a look at the various services offered by marketing consultants. Some offer full-spectrum marketing services that can handle all five of the items above (and then some). This eliminates you having to research and find reliable suppliers to work with, and deal with multiple contacts. One phone call usually does it all.