This is a guest post courtesy of Hannah, with some timely tips for launching a new business or product successfully. Ya’ll make her feel welcome now. 😉
Those who have ever tried will understand the difficulty in launching a new business.
You might have a range of fantastic and original products to offer, but unless people know you exist, your business doesn’t stand a chance.
Smaller businesses rarely have enough funding behind them to really generate a business launch that will make an immediate impact.
Therefore focus, determination, persistence, and consistency are required in order to build your company profile and customer base.
We have all seen those products out there which are manufactured with poor quality and design and serve little function, yet they seem to be in high demand.
These products are a success largely due to their carefully orchestrated marketing campaigns. Now if they can become a success, take heart, because you can make your business a success too, and excel with a superior product range.
When launching your business, ideally you will want to aim for press exposure, increasing your website traffic, getting active on social media, “possibly” gaining a celebrity endorsement, and introducing your business to the public, AKA your future customers.
Below we will look into some useful tools and methods to go about doing just that, and getting your business the exposure it deserves (without having to invest thousands in a marketing agency).
HARO (Help a Reported Out)
HARO originated as a Facebook page, and it’s now an extremely popular online platform where you can sign up for free to search for opportunities to feature in top publications such as the New York Times and ABC News.
You can also invest in a standard, advanced, or premium account which of course allows you more access to the best opportunities within HARO by providing you with alerts.
If you have the budget, it’s worth investing in a paid membership if possible, rates start from $19. This will give you a better chance at reaching out.
HARO gives you the opportunity to pitch your business or story to journalists from a wide range of publications. Make your story or pitch unique and find an interesting spin, and most importantly avoid spamming reporters which can lead you to be banned from HARO.
Journalists are in constant need of new stories to fill their publication; they often turn to HARO to aid them (of course alongside other methods of research). The journalists log in and search through different stories and respond to interesting pitches.
Hopefully one of these pitches will be you!
As a source you can sign up to receive alerts for the different categories such as business, fashion or I.T. etc. It is easy to use and can be a more viable option for small businesses than hiring a PR agency.
There are many sites under the News4media.com umbrella, like kids4media, fashion4media, motoring4meida, sports4media, etc.
It is similar to HARO but provides an outlet for your specific industry. For example, if your business is an accessories business, you would sign up to fashion4media.com.
The fee to join is more of an investment than HARO, however here you can submit press releases which can be easily picked up by multiple blogs and magazines, gain email alerts throughout the day, gather press contact details, and really target journalists which specialize in your industry and your industry alone.
The rates start at around $100 per month, so again, it really is an investment. You would really need to be a dedicated user to make it worthwhile.
Social media is of course considered to be one of the kings of marketing these days. It’s essentially free; unless of course you invest in advertisements, which many small businesses find to be affordable and advantageous.
The main benefit of social media is it is a way to connect to your customers and humanize your brand. If you haven’t yet set up social media pages for your business, it may be worth investing the time in doing so.
Build a buzz around your brand, introduce your business, and use it as a networking tool. Just be careful, as it can be time consuming and it’s easy to get swept away with it.
Use your time wisely and make sure your actions are gaining your business exposure, not just providing for your entertainment.
Twitter is particularly good for allowing you to follow journalists and magazines. It gives you the option to connect with them and get to know them and find opportunities you may not find otherwise.
Again this does make a demand on your time; it’s not possible for you to do everything so dedicate your time to marketing your business using the most effective methods for you. Most effective methods will often be different for everyone.
Banatag is a free tool allows you to track your emails. If you are spending a lot of time outreaching journalists, blogs, or potential stockists for your product you can use this tool to assess what happens to your emails – if they are opened, if the links included within your email are clicked, and the rate percentages of each.
Banantag informs you of your contacts reaction to your emails so you can then tailor your email campaigns to gain a better response rate.
Your Bananatag account will provide you with a dashboard showing you graphs and metrics so you can track which email campaigns were a success and which weren’t and why.
Overall this is a very useful networking tool for small businesses.
Growing a business is certainly one of the hardest tasks you’ll probably embark upon; if it were easy everyone would be doing it!
However, by utilizing some (or all) of these recommended tools, marketing your business becomes much more manageable and can save you from investing hard earned resources in professional PR services.
Over to You
Do you have tips or tools that have helped you in the launch of a new business venture or product? What about the launch of a service instead? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.