You’ve launched your business off the ground but the only people that have ever heard of it or care are family friends or family. So what to do you do? How do you get people to notice you? Here are four simple things you can start to do right now:
Press Coverage and Press Releases
Depending on your industry there are various publications you can send a press release in order to announce your new product or service. Believe it or not, people care. As a former journalist, writing business profiles about start-ups was one of my favorite stories to write about. Cold calling is never anyone’s favorite but by calling your local newspaper you can ask for the business editor’s direct e-mail address or even speak with the editor director. When it comes to press releases make sure you use Associate Press Style (AP Style). Your release should be 400-600 words and include a boilerplate or “about us,” section. Remember to highlight how your product or service is different than its competitors and the problems you solve. Adding a little bit about the inspiration or original idea of why you decided to start the company will always catch a journalist’s eye.
Sponsor an Event
Sponsor an event or better yet host your own event. Again, the industry of your start-up will be the deciding factor for what kind of event you chose to be a part of. For any type of sports store or related product (running, hiking, biking, soccer, etc.) there are more obvious events to host or sponsor than with non-traditional start-ups. This is where you’ll have to get creative and do market research. Finding out where you potential customers will be and promoting your service or product in front of them is the ideal situation. For example, maybe your company sells cameras, hosting a free photography class will help get the word out there.
Industry tradeshows are a good place to meet people, learn about others products and services while spreading the word about your company. Even if you don’t have a booth to promote your product or service, swap professional business cards and business brochures and keep in touch with the people you meet. Many times at tradeshows people don’t follow up with the people they meet and they lose a valuable connection. Trade shows aren’t the only place to network. Remember those great friends and family that care about your business? Don’t count them out as a valuable resource to spread the word about your product or service.
Build a Following through Social Media
It should be said that building a fan base on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook won’t happen overnight. The number one thing you can do to gain a following is to add value to people’s lives. Why did you create your product or service? If it didn’t add anything to anyone’s life and people didn’t need it, it wouldn’t exist. Keep this in mind when you post things to your outlets.
Follow the 80/20 rule where you post 80% of things that relate to your product or service and 20% of things that are directly about your product or service. Steer clear of things that don’t relate to your brand whatsoever. The only way you’re going to gain followers on Twitter is if you follow relevant people. Be sure to answer all of your direct tweets and wall posts on Facebook. Social media is a great tool for startups and once you’ve kicked you campaign off the ground you’ll be surprised at how it can help you.
In addition to building a social following, networking, sponsoring an event and gaining press coverage nothing can replace good customer service. By valuing your customer’s and showing them appreciation you’ll have a chance to gain a return customer who might tell their friends about you. These types of relationships are priceless. What ways have you gotten your start-up recognized?