According to statistics, there are more than half a million new businesses going live in the U.S. in any given year. How do you stand out in the crowd? Here are ten tips for helping your business make a splash.
Social media is critical, of course, but so is having an up-to-date website and blog. You'll also want fresh newsletters and RSS feeds to keep your customers abreast of any new developments within your company. In short, make sure you're in ads, timelines and inboxes all across the web. Keep your company in people's minds by updating as much as possible.
Know Thy Enemy
Who are your biggest competitors? Do they offer anything you don't? Visit their site and pretend that you're a potential customer. What immediately stands out? Ask yourself these questions and decide what may be a good option for your company, and come up with a plan to compete.
Customers love when you engage them personally, especially if you add a humorous touch. Using funny commercials, advertisements and banners will gain more attention and publicity for your company. These are the kinds of interactions that go viral, so don't be afraid to respond to comments and complaints directly.
Apologize for Mistakes
Speaking of complaints, a lot of companies like to pretend that they never receive any, which does nothing for their image. Try apologizing for any goofs in an open, honest way, and see what that humility does for the customer's perception of your business.
Learn to Navigate SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the way you'll put your business on the virtual map. Get comfortable with software from Google Analytics and SEO Book, which will help you track and analyze how traffic is coming to your website.
Make Every Conversation Personal
Has any customer in history ever expressed admiration for a lengthy customer service script? Ditch the lines and focus on creative, tailor-made service instead. Again, this is how companies go viral and get people talking.
Imitate Your Betters
If you're a fan of a particular business or blog, don't be afraid to copy their example. Many actively encourage it, like the Domo Blog, which offers business analytic and intelligence to help new brands grow.
Everyone likes swag, and there's actually a psychological basis to the success of intermittent reinforcement, where rewards are random and unpredictable. It's easy to use this on customers by holding contests, raffles and sweepstakes where the winner is a surprise every time. Your customers will go crazy for it!
Keep Up With The Trends
Gangnam Style, the bizarre video of a South Korean pop star, was one of the best things to happen to the business world. Everyone from Intel, to the U.S. Naval Academy got in on the endless parodies it inspired, and it brought huge attention to anyone who jumped in the fray. Future fads can do the same for you.
Love Your Product or Service
Why should anyone care if you don't? Don't be one of those CEOs caught red-handed using another brand. Stay loyal to your business and your customers will, too. Advertise your endorsements of your company and explain what it offers in an easy to understand way.
These are just a few tips for making your company stand out in an overcrowded market, especially in the online world. Ultimately, your passion and perseverance will mean more than your marketing, so stay true to your company and you'll be fine.