Promoting a new business in Northern Ireland
So – you have decided that you want to start you own business. You have done your research – you know what you want to do, you have found somewhere to work from and you have written your business plan. How do you let people know that you exist?
Traditional advertising methods such as leaflet drops, advertisements and word of mouth are no longer enough on their own. New businesses need a combination approach to use all the available tools – especially when money is tight at the beginning. Here are a few things to think about –
Leave plenty of time to create your online presence before you open:
- Advertising and promotional work is often one of the last things to be considered – but it takes time to register your domain name, create a website that matches your brand, register your site with relevant search engines such as google and create your social media profiles. Your website design might even affect your choice of colours, graphics or font for your signage, posters, leaflets or business cards.
- Creating the content for your site will help you to think through what you are advertising. What are your key selling points, what is your pricing structure etc. helping you to have a well thought through approach to your business.
- Modern businesses interact with their clients and allow people to find out about their business 24-7. Feedback forms, online booking systems which work 24-7, interactive chat to respond to questions in real time, responding to Facebook comments and tweets – these are all ways to interact and share information more widely.
- It is no longer enough to just set up your website and accounts and leave them. They need updated regularly to keep your customers interested and to help google to see that you business is current. This will take time to establish initially and then to maintain – so you need to take time to consider what the optimal combination is for your type of business and build this in to your plans for how your business will promote on an ongoing basis.
- Unless you are starting a business with very little competition, your business will not suddenly appear at the top of google on day one. It takes time to be registered, to allow your site content to be found and to drive visits to your site which assists your google placing to improve. Use your online presence to raise awareness that your business is coming well before the day you open your doors.
What do you call your business?
- It might sound like a stupid question – but if you want your domain name to match your business name – or be something similar you need to make sure someone else isn’t already using it. Having a domain name which is similar to your business name helps people to find you more easily. If you are planning a business to be found in a competitive market or if you are planning a local business you may want to build your town/city/type of business into your business name and domain name.
- Remember that a few weeks before opening is too late to realise that your domain name is already gone! Better to do your research and invest now that spend money on your brand and then discover your online presence can’t match it.
- Social media is a new tool which needs to be part of your business promtion. If you have never used it, you need time to become familiar with it and to identify how you can use it to share information about your business and respond to your customer’s questions. Different businesses will benefit from different types of social media – so you need something tailored to work for you.
Website design and search engine optimisation:
- Firstly you need to be found – so once you have picked your name, you need to think about keywords which people will search for and ensure these are embedded in your website content and design.
- Most people access websites using mobile devices – so your website must work on mobile devices such as phones and tablets. The layout and content of your site is therefore critical to make sure that your key messages are visible and easily found when the site loads.
If you are starting a new business and would like to chat to us about how BCS can help you to promote it, please give us a call on 02890452618 or fill in our online contact form.