You’ve opened your business but now you need marketing ideas that generate a loyal following.

The purpose of this blog (and #smarketeering) is to provide easy, quick-to-implement marketing ideas for your new business to attract the very first customers.

These ideas have worked for us, our friends, and other readers that have put them to good use. (a BIG thanks to all who have shared their experience with us)

Let’s dig right in, shall we?

Don’t forget to share your results with us as well!

Marketing Ideas

Build Your Website: Quick & Easy Method

We’ve had the pleasure of working with design agencies that charged well over the 6 figure mark to build websites.

Crazy? Yes!

Crazier! Companies paid for it.

Why? You NEED a website!

Here’s how you can launch your website for next to nothing without a website design degree:

Buy a domain

Our preferred choice is GoDaddy, simply for the ease of use. Not to mention they have a built-in website builder that can get you to your end-result quickly.

Type in the domain you want, look at the different options and pick the one that makes the most sense to you.

We encourage you to stick with .com options since it’s the most popular and represents ‘commercial’ entities.

TIP: Try their website builder. It’s built right into the UI and offers plenty of how-to videos to teach you a thing or two. Very easy, quite affordable, and you’ll be up in no time.

Once you’ve decided on a domain name, and made a purchase, and don’t want to use GoDaddy’s website builder, there are a few other routes you can take as far as website design is concerned.

Website Builders: Our Top Picks

1. WordPress.com

Don’t confuse it with WordPress.org (quite common). The .com version offers an easy to use website builder with premium features and nice-looking themes that cover most small business needs.

2. Wix.com

Wix started as a competitor to GoDaddy. Now it’s pretty much the top dog for website building done the easy way.

Why did we put it in second place? Speed + Ease of use.

It’s easy to use, it’s quite fast, but once you get comfortable with WordPress, it doesn’t compete. Plus the code that Wix uses to build your website is on another level of confusing. It matters when you are ready to migrate your website to another website builder or service. It’s close to impossible.

3. SquareSpace.com

A third and safe option to use in case you can’t find themes that speak to you across the other two.

Pick Website Templates & Themes that Convert

Don’t pick templates that you think are aesthetically pleasing. At the end of the day, you’re selling to your ideal customers, not yourself.

The must-have checklist for any website:
  • Page speed
  • Easy navigation
  • Easy to read text
  • Forms
  • Contact info
  • Designed with Buyer’s Journey in mind

In paragraph form: Your website needs to load fast! It must render an easy path towards legible content which answers the visitor’s inquiries. Forms provide an avenue to contact you directly without leaving the page while the contact info shares alternatives to connect with your brand.

Collect e-mails to build relationships, not for automation

When someone gives you their email address, treat it with respect and assign the same value to it as you would to a phone number.

Notice, we said gives. Don’t purchase email lists UNLESS you want to take a first solid step towards flagging your entire domain as spam.

Once you have that email, please don’t let your first outreach be an automated email. Yes, we’re also talking generalized email templates. No matter how good you think they are.

This goes way beyond using tools, this will force you (and your team) to think about human interaction first, then marketing automation when it makes more sense.

Time and time again companies lose a customer before they ever have a chance by thinking they are being savvy in using marketing tools first.

First email impressions last forever. Make it count!

Your first email needs to be about the contact and not about the sale.

Our C2O Formula

Care: Show that you care about making a connection by thanking, asking questions to get to know the person (not the business), and providing help if you know where they may need it.

Compassion: Relate to the contact in every way possible and ask for clarification if you don’t have it so that you can relate. This will force you to care on a much deeper level.

Originality: This is where automation lacks and you shine. Don’t use a template, use your personality instead. Nobody can copy who you are successfully and all of the time, make sure that energy is within your email.

How to find the real you:

If you are struggling to write the second email in the same style as your first, then you’re not being your true self. Being you comes naturally and without much reflection.

The questions you ask determine the flow of the conversation

It’s a different mindset when you start caring about the individual and not the sale. Don’t assign a monetary value to contacts, nobody wants to be just a number.

Here are some of our personal favorites:

  • What attracted you to join our email list?
  • What do you do at your company?
  • How long have you been at your company?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?
  • Any fun weekend plans?

The point is not to provide you with an exact list. Lists force you to automate the process. The point is to care enough to want to know more about the individual so that they end up being interested in you as well.

This will organically guide the conversation towards business. Maybe not on the first try, but eventually your business and what you do will come up. It’s much easier to talk business with a friend than a complete stranger. Why?

With strangers the connection comes to an abrupt and uncomfortable stop once business talk halts but a friend still expects to hear from you even if they don’t become your client.

Never forget the connections you make

Friends expect you to remember them in the good, the bad, and the ugly. Same goes with your contacts.

Now you should understand why flooding your database with trash contacts is not only a nuisance to the recipients but also to your business.

Once you start building out your contacts list, it becomes more difficult with each addition to stay on top of things. The trick to avoiding this inevitable pitfall?

Projects, Tasks, and Priorities

Use project management software or tools to help you keep track of your projects, each individual task within those projects, and set priorities to address the most pressing ones first.

We prefer to use Asana. It’s very simple to use, quite affordable, and it’s intuitive with new features added on a regular basis that just makes it easier and easier to use than the competition.

Just so we don’t come across as biased, here are a couple of other great options to use:

If you have Excel or any Word Processing program, you can use that as well. Heck, even sticky notes work wonders as long as you set yourself a reminder to review it daily.

Another phenomenal tool: your phone!

It’s always with you for starters. Just create reminders and prioritize. We like to use iOS reminders and put the priority into the Reminder title like so:

This way, we wont forget about our most important asset: our contacts. You shouldn’t either.

Conclusion

As a small business owner, it’s your job to find customers and to keep the company profitable. In today’s digital world, it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out but with the right tools and attitude, it can be done.

Your digital storefront needs to be geared to your target audience, not to you. It needs to be easy to find the desired piece of information in the least amount of time. Contacting your should be even a better experience than that.

The moment you interact with an individual with a potential interest in what you have to offer, make it count. Answer it with care, compassion, and originality – don’t automate this very vital step.

Find out as much as you can about the person to make a much deeper, more meaningful connection. Aim for friendship before you fight for the relationship.

Once you’ve established rapport, remember to always stay in touch on a personal level. Don’t risk losing the relationship by forgetting the basics, no matter how big your database gets.

Set tasks and reminders and prioritize accordingly. This may not set you apart but it will build a loyal following and ensure longevity.

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