Establishing your own business and taking the reins, whilst daunting, can be one of the most exciting steps forward in your career. Offering you the potential to dictate your own hours, workload and direction, starting your own business can give you the career you’ve always dreamed of. But it’s not without it’s own pitfalls.
If starting a business is new territory for you, navigating the minefield of a potentially over saturated market, tough economy and reliant external factors such as suppliers and stakeholders, can be a hard slog, and that’s without beginning to consider actually launching your brand to the masses.
Knowing how to effectively market your brand, and company, can be the difference between success and failure for a new start up. Today, the media moves at the speed of light, and whilst with the multiple avenues of internet bloggers and new media outlets, it seems easier to get space than ever, being remembered is the hard part.
Essentially, preparation is key for all new ventures. Beginning to plan for the launch of your business months in advance of your potential release date places you in the best possible chance of success, or, at the very least, gives you enough time to adequately prepare to give yourself a good enough foothold. Your launch is your big entrance into the market, and minds of your consumers, and the impression you create from the outset can stick to your business for a very long time.
We’ve boiled down the tips and tricks of successful entrepreneurs and business founders into a few necessary strategies to ensure that you’re pulling up to your entrance in a stretch limo, and not a Nissan Micra.
7 key strategies to successfully launch a new business
By the time you’re beginning to consider the launch of your business, you should already have a refined, and well defined business idea, a business entity, name and a clear idea of what exactly success with your business means to you. I say this, because as I referred to previously, a large amount of what is going to make or break the launch of your business is marketing and interfacing with your potential consumers. They key to a great marketing strategy, or multiple strategies, is to know your business, and therefore, your brand, inside and out.
Good, unique, branding is your primary selling point, and can be the key to getting you that market edge over your competitors. Moreover, just as your business and product will define your brand, your brand directs your marketing strategy. If your business is going to be the pizza company to rival Domino's, it’s really no good targeting your marketing and PR towards health and fitness gurus.
1. Getting an early start on communicating with both media outlets and relevant industry influencers is key to actually gaining coverage at the appropriate time for your launch. Reporters aren’t going to jump when you snap your fingers, so beginning your outreach strategies at least two months before your official launch date is a great way to generate the conversation, and anticipation, well in advance.
2. Utilising on brand popular bloggers, social media stars or high-profile customers by sending out free samples of your product in exchange for honest reviews can introduce your product to a whole new potential customer base, and continue to generate excitement until the official launch. If relevant, schedule time with industry analysts with compelling briefing requests.
3. Start developing your own following across social media. Identify and research your target market so you can tailor your communication directly to their interests. If your product can reach an already established and hungry market, like the tech industry, seed their space with mysterious “leaks,” and build brand recognition and awareness.
Make your brand visible in relevant conversations and regularly interact with influencers and industry thought leaders.
4. Consider planning a product or business launch event to officially announce the launch of your new business with a bang. A unique and well tailored event can be an excellent way to top off months of solid marketing groundwork, and act as the catalyst to push your business to an even wider audience. Make sure to invite the appropriate influencers, social media mavens or industry stalwarts you’ve communicated with so far, keeping the release rolling.
5. If an event isn’t your bag, utilise the time you have in the release cycle to develop unique, though on brand, marketing materials. Creating an interesting infographic, publishing a survey that supports the value of your product, or a video that’s destined to go viral can engage a much wider audience than people who are exclusively tuned into the industry, inject your brand with some valuable personality, and drive product sales.
6. Capitalise on your popularity by making it easy for people to learn about your product, linking your wider marketing with free trials, downloads, product videos and more.
7. Ignore the elements of the launch that do not drive business. If your business doesn’t offer a product, or the service you offer doesn’t appeal to a mass consumer audience, focus your approach on targeted sources, such as specific industry magazines and trade shows, rather than accumulating follows on social media.
Instead, use the channels for consumer engagement and customer service. See who is talking about your offering online and then make contact with them. See how these folks can help you further promote your offering within their social circles.
About the author
Steve Hill is the Director of Bag Workshop , a leading UK supplier in promotional bags and custom branded bags. Having worked in marketing for over a decade, Steve stepped aside to found three separate companies under the Wurlin Promo umbrella, supplying every aspect of bespoke marketing products.