1. Add Listing to Google My Business
This is by far one of the most important marketing tips for beginners with a small business. Ensure you add your business to Google Maps, which is known as Google My Business. This is a free listing.
By adding your small business listing to Google My Business local people who are searching for your type of business should see your listing.
Most importantly people like to deal with local people when possible.
Furthermore, you don’t need to have a website to add your small business details.
This is one of the first things I did when I set up my Virtual Assistant business as well as add my business to directories such as Yell.com.
Check out this video on how to add your Google My Business Listing.
2. Launch a website
This is not a necessity these days. Although, I believe people have a better perception of a business that has a website. Hence you could initially set up a Facebook page until you decide you are ready to invest in a website.
Websites don’t have to cost a lot of money. You do, however, need to understand is that there are annual costs involved. You have to purchase your domain name i.e. the company name. In addition you need to host your website. I recommend siteground for hosting your website.
Once you have a domain name and hosting then you need to decide on what platform to use. I always use WordPress which is an easy to use Content Management System. You can then perform any changes yourself and not rely on a busy Web Designer.
Check out other options for a blog/website in this post.
3. Understand your customers
This is a difficult marketing tip for beginners to grasp. First of all, you need to really think who your customers are.
Additionally, you need to think what their pain points are e.g. are they stressed with admin etc.
Understanding the pain points can help you in your marketing message.
You want to ease their pain and let them know how you could do it.
4. Business Card Marketing Tips
Almost certainly you will want to have some business cards created.
This can be done extremely easily online with the likes of Vistaprint.
A great marketing tip for beginners is not to purchase too many business cards at the start.
In addition, I utilised the back of the business cards and put my services on there.
You may decide to change your services or you may need to add a website to it. Therefore, I suggest just purchasing 100 to start off with.
Another tip is to ensure the writing is big enough to read – another mistake I made!
5. Word of mouth Marketing Tips
Tell everyone you meet that you have a new business and what you do.
Alternatively, give them one of your newly created business cards.
It is important that you take the business cards out with you everywhere. You never know when an opportunity to market your business will arise. People don’t do this enough!
6. Networking – face to face
Face to face networking has resulted in me getting work at each event I attended regularly.
Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy standing up in front of a crowd and selling myself!
But there are some people who enjoy this and they will see great rewards.
It is definitely worth it to get your name out there though.
7. Social Media Marketing Tips
The most popular social media networks are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
A marketing tip for beginners would be to start out using one or 2 networks.
Find out what your business leaders are using and having success using.
For a Virtual Assistant business you should definitely have a LinkedIn profile at the very least.
It can be very difficult juggling a business and social media. Therefore, this might be something that you look at outsourcing.
However, if you are particularly good at social media this could be something that you offer as a service.
Check out how to become a Social Media Manager.
8. Content Marketing Tips
Search Engine Optimisation in simple terms for beginners is the keywords people use to find a service or business or product or information on the internet. It is the words they use that will hopefully come across your business.
You need to optimise your content on your website so that it contains these keywords.
It is important, however, not to stuff the content with these keywords. The content must still make sense.
9. Add a blog to your website
The websites that I notice do well in the search engines have a blog.
Furthermore, the blog is regularly updated with articles. Obviously this helps to bring more traffic to their website.
The articles are useful for customers. And customers reading the articles know that you are knowledgeable in that area.
However, you don’t have to be a great writer as you can always outsource it to sites such as peopleperhour.
10. Email Marketing
Once you have customers it is important to keep in touch with them.
To do this you will need some email marketing software. MailChimp is a free email marketing software that you can use effectively.
Although this is simple to do not a lot of people do it.
11. Be consistent
Always be consistent with your work and provide a great service.
Additionally, don’t stretch yourself too much. On numerous occasions I have turned work down as I was too busy. This has meant I have been able to maintain a high quality service and have thus retained customers for over 7 years.
I have used people who start out great but then they take on too much work. This results in a dramatic loss of quality. I no longer use these people. However, I would still use them if the quality was consistent.
12. Run a competition
Why not run a competition on social media?
Ask for a Faceboook like or a sign up to your email list.
It doesn’t have to be a big prize.
Maybe offer free use of some of your services e.g. win one week of social media management from an expert.
This could potentially lead to a customer.
13. Write a guest post
Firstly, write a post that you think would enhance another website’s content.
But ensure it’s not a sales post and that it would be helpful to the readers.
Then contact website owners whose content would fit the post and ask if they would be interested in it.
Repeat until you receive a positive response. This could take some time to do.
14. Publish a book
Show you have knowledge about the subject by writing a book.
Then you can self-publish your book on Amazon which is easier than you think.
Once it is written, either by yourself or a writer, it can be converted to a Kindle .mobi document. Amazon also accepts Word documents but it isn't the cleanest format.
While you can learn how to do it yourself there are also companies that can do the conversion for you. This is a service I provide at a reasonable price at Help on Tap or check out this book that I used to learn how to self publish from Amazon.
You can then upload it to Kindle and sell it.
Alternatively, you can leave it as a Word document and offer it as a freebie on your website.
15. Offer a Freebie
Offer some kind of freebie e.g. a book that will help your customer. Thus enticing your customer to sign up with their email address. This is valuable to keep in contact.
16. Sign up to Forums
Find forums that relate to your business.
Go ahead and join them. As a result you will be able to see what people are talking about.
Maybe you can try answering people’s questions helpfully.
Also consider creating posts that will answer the questions people are asking.
17. Join Groups
Join LinkedIn groups such as local business groups.
Above all try to be helpful in groups and don’t push your services at these groups. There's nothing more annoying than when you just link up with someone and they send you a sales email!
Also look out for Facebook groups that can help you to network.
Farewell Thoughts: Starting a business is very difficult and marketing your business is extremely important. Therefore, try to do as many of the marketing tips above as possible with number 1 being your priority. If you are overwhelmed then ask for help in forums. Alternatively, try PeoplePerHour to find experts.
Please note there are affiliate links in the above article and I may receive compensation but at no extra cost to you.
Good Luck and let me know what works best for you below.