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Questions & Answers

Posted by Shannen Standish Lewis on 2015-08-17 21:34:00
Title: New Entrepreneur wearing all hats in a business
Category: Marketing

What are some low-cost ways to market a new service-based business (outside of word of mouth)? What social media outlets would be most effective and inexpensive to build a brand?

Answer:

Kenneth Maclean
2015-09-10 16:38:00

Before choosing channels to market your new business it is important to gain a deeper understanding of your target customer.  Start by creating one or more customer profiles that map some of their demographics and psychographic behaviours as well as the most effective channels to reach them with your brand message.  

Conducting informal interview with prospects that fit this profile could prove extremely useful in answer your questions.  Some questions to ask:

What websites do they visit when looking for information on the services you sell?   

What networks and professional associations are they members of? 

How do they decide on which services to choose?

 

Get Social and Stay Social

Setting up profile pages for your business on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin is a good way to launch your social media efforts.  Depending on the services you offer, one of these channels may be a better option to reach your target audience.

If you offer accounting services you may want to use Linkedin as your primary social channel and target Controllers or Finance managers who are members.  Consider becoming a member of a Linkedin Group made up of this audience and offer useful content/advice that showcases your knowledge.

Remember once you join the social conversation customers will expect you to stay in it so recognize the required investment in the form of your own time or money to hire someone else to do it.

 

Reputation Management

Depending on your service offering you may want to monitor consumer review sites such as Homestars or Yelp where customer can review your business.  This is a conversation you want to be part of.  Respond with a gratitude to those customers who say positive things about your business and seek to address concerns from those who do not.  

 

Search Marketing Delivers Leads

Consider using paid and organic search tactics on search engines like Google and Bing.  By purchasing paid ads will ensure your brand ranks high in search results when customers are searching for the services that you sell.   Bidding on keywords can get expensive but should also yield qualified leads.

 

Build a Customer Database

You may also want to consider building a customer opt-in e-mail list by providing prospects with something of value. Offering a downloadable whitepaper or case study in exchange for their email address will allow you to email them with service offers and information in the future.

 

Channel Optimization

The great thing about emerging marketing channels is that they do not require you to make a huge investment immediately.  Test, measure and optimize channels to see what works best and re-invest only in those that deliver an acceptable ROI.

Good luck!