by Gillian Armour, AICI CIP
For a new business to succeed you need to market, market and then market some more. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Utilize as many marketing strategies as you can. At the start of your business you will rely on networking to get the word out about your services as an image professional. That means every person you meet and each project you work on should serve as an ‘in’ for an opportunity to tell people about what you do.
Building a strong network is a huge boon to your success. As a small business owner, you have to handle everything yourself, or with a handful of people. Once you have networked with others, they can help promote your business, and you can help promote theirs — if you do it right, it becomes a win-win relationship for everyone involved.
Public speaking does not come naturally to everyone. However, now is the time to get over any fears or insecurities you have about public speaking, because it is a fantastic way to get your name, your face, and your business’s image out there.
Writing is perhaps one of the easiest ways to market. With the ease and convenience of the internet, you can post statements, blogs, essays, testimonials, reviews, and more, just about anywhere. And even though it seems print media is a dying breed, there is still a significant number of people who prefer printed materials. That means you may want to consider investing in written printed ads, flyers, or pamphlets.
Promotional events allow you to step out of the office and learn a few things. You can socialize with potential clients, investors, or partners, all while putting your name out there. Always be friendly and approachable.
The internet is unavoidable. Many people research a company, product, or service online before paying for anything. Treat your website just as you would treat a storefront — use it to grab the attention of passers-by. Encourage them to take a look around and learn more about you. An internet presence is vital to any budding business.
There is still room in our technology-driven world for traditional advertising methods. It may seem like people are on the internet all the time, but that is only half true. Plenty of folks still use newspapers when they are looking for local businesses; some communities, such as apartment complexes or housing associations, accept flyers for distribution in mailboxes or bulletin board postings.
More advertising and marketing information can be found at the Small Business Association’s website, sba.gov. I've covered some of what they mention, but the SBA goes into greater detail and provides legal information as well.