When it comes to starting a new business, there are many things that need your thought and attention, one being your brand. People who use consistent, engaging content and captivating aesthetics have a higher chance of running a successful business. Five key areas of equal importance are: your clients, your finances, your competition, your team or resources and finally, PR and marketing. This blog will focus on the marketing aspect of your business. Whether you’re a new venture or an established business just jumping on the social media wagon, this article will be a useful guide to get you started. First things first – always remember that less is more. You don’t want to go overboard and start using too many resources or platforms. When it comes to design and marketing, work on strengthening your key areas equally. By maintaining a steady approach you will come out with something that works for you and your busy entrepreneur lifestyle! Your business is personal, especially when you’re offering services to do with something you love.
Design trends are always changing, but regardless of the trends, there are some things that are simply a necessity. For example, does your logo have a clean look and feel? Does it reflect the nature of your business? Simplicity is often the best way forward with most logos. However if you are a hairdresser or therapist, for example, you have a creative personality, so you may want to add in some quirks here and there. But nevertheless, keep it light, clean and memorable so your brand can build up recognition. There are a few different ways to create a logo. Find a freelance graphic designer; maybe you have a friend who is good at graphic design. Or there are some great free online sites and apps you can use to create your logo if you want to do it yourself, such as:
You could also have a search for some paid websites, some can design it for you or others can help you create it with their online tools. Need inspiration? You can have a look on pinterest, Instagram or find websites that share ideas. Of course you don’t want to copy a design, so you should adapt it to your business style and make it personal to you. But with apps like Canva, they have designs that are there to be used, so if you see something you really like and don’t want to edit it much, that’s fine! Just make sure you don’t create something too similar to your competitors!
Aim for a simple, lightweight, easy to navigate website. You may want to do some research on search engine optimisation (SEO). This will help google understand what your website is about so your site will show up under relevant search terms. For example, a full body massage treatment information page’s SEO box may include terms like, massage, massage therapy or beauty massage treatment. You may want to research what the top search terms are in your field of work. Also, if you build up an email database, you will be able to contact clients, send them offers, appointment confirmations or even a monthly newsletter.
Wix is a great place to start. Resources like these have everything you need. Premium plans are available at reasonable prices if you are looking to use any of these features. Keep your eye out for their discounts too; sometimes you can get a year’s plan for half price! WordPress is another fantastic resource you can use to build your website for free. The only cost you may have to consider is a domain name. Domain names are best to set up early on as google will rank your domain name over time and if you change it, you’ll lose the benefit of any SEO work you have done. You can set up a paid mail sender/client with them or you can have a look at companies like MailChimp, Benchmark Email or Mailer Lite. Look at the pricing plans and compare as some offer more under the free plans than others.
It’s worth doing a bit of research to find out what platforms and devices your audience uses the most, so that you can optimise your site for the best possible user experience. For example, this chart below from Google Analytics shows that the number of our clients who use a mobile device is more than double those using a desktop device, so we make sure that our website works smoothly for mobile as well as desktop. This kind of information can be found in your website analytics.
Some website creation sites, like Wix, will give you free apps to gather analytics, or you can link your site to Google Analytics which gives you a great in-depth look at your website traffic. If you use Instagram or Facebook, both these apps have their own built-in analytics which is rather handy! Getting familiar with your stats will help you tailor your content efficiently to your customers.
In this digital age we now live in, technology is galloping on and people tend to expect instant results. Make sure you stay on top of your online messages and comments. As a business, you want to be seen as reliable and efficient. If you can’t respond during out of working hours you can set up an automated response system on Facebook messenger. There are AI tools like ChatBot where you can create your own bot. You don’t need coding skills and it supports your sales by generating new leads and turning your visitors into new customers. However, if you’re just starting up your business it may be a good idea to consider responding personally. You may not have too many messages to start with so you’ll want to secure every lead asap rather than risk losing potential clients who may go elsewhere if you don’t respond quickly. So once you have built up enough brand recognition and customers, it will be more effective to start to use things like ChatBot. Mastering one or two major platforms is the best approach, rather than spreading yourself over too many platforms when you’re just starting out. Build up a following on one or two platforms. Facebook is more formal whereas Instagram can be a bit more fun, but both are equally effective at gaining a reliable following. Here are some stats from an article in August 2019:
“1 Billion is a big number, and it positions Instagram behind Facebook (1.4 billion) but ahead of most other social network sites, including Twitter (who has 68 million) and Pinterest (250 million).”
Again, it’s good to keep a theme running; your social media posts should stay in line with the look and feel of your business. Adobe Spark is an excellent social media tool. If you have a subscription, you can access premium templates to work from. My favourite part of Adobe Spark is being able to add in any font you like and use a HUGE library of icons to jazz up your Instagram posts. For example our Wisdom Wednesday post, I love the owl icon, so I use it as a weekly theme for this post. Other services you can use to create posts include:
Another great tool is the SmartHash app when it comes to hash tagging your Instagram content. If you have the time, you could also start blogging or vlogging. There are features on the websites like Wix and WordPress that let you add in blog pages easily.
Adobe Spark has a feature where you can search for free stock images, which is extremely handy to have as everything you need is all in one place! Other apps may use this feature too. Some free sites ask for a photo credit so just double check this if you’re using free imagery for commercial or promotional purposes. There is, however, a difference between free and paid stock image sites. The paid ones usually have images with better composition plus a much broader library of imagery to search through. You don’t want to end up using the same image as one of your competitors, you want to stand out! As a graphic designer, when I walk past shop fronts, I always recognise if an advert has a stock image and which site it has come from. Now your customers probably won’t notice as much as an experienced graphic designer, but if it’s something they’ve seen before, your work will lose some of its effect. So it’s worth spending some time scrolling through as many of those pages as you can! Here are some great free stock image sites:
Decide on a budget for advertising, especially if you’re just starting out. Using Instagram’s / Facebook’s ad centre, you can create promotions over a certain time on a chosen budget. It will show you tips on how long you should run the ad for. But also check your analytics to see what days are best to run your ad and most importantly, set up the ad demographics for your specific sector. You don’t have to stick to digital content only. If your budget allows, you can go for printed content to distribute. Business cards are a must once you’ve done your website and have set up your social media. You can get a great range of items from leaflets to stationery with your logo or design printed on it. Here are some examples of these services:
Around special dates on the calendar like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, you could put on offers and advertise them or you could hold competitions. Both are great ways to draw attention to your business. Then with fabulous aesthetics and engaging content all in place, your audience will stay and want to see what’s next!
Here’s a useful link to Facebooks ad checker to check your text to image ratios.
If you want to take full responsibility for your design work, promotions and social media but you don’t have much experience, you can find free online tutorials covering topics including digital design, website design and creating engaging social media content for your beauty, hairdressing, holistic therapy etc business. You could even take a one day or evening class to get a head start. Or if you already have some knowledge, think about taking some time to improve your current skills. Also, if you look around, you can find free access webinars hosted by big and small companies on relevant topics.
Adobe has a lot of useful videos and you can get inspiration from an endless amount of resources including Pinterest, Canva, Adobe Spark, YouTube. Lastly, once you’ve built up a bank of posts, you could introduce scheduling software. Some let you run up to three accounts for free. A few scheduling tools you could consider using are: •Hootsuite
So with all these different aspects to consider, marketing your business is a job in its own right! With all sorts of other things to juggle on a day to day basis, it may be an idea to assign yourself time to devote to this subject. Let your team know your plans and they may come up with some interesting ideas or ways to help in this area. Maybe a family member could give you a hand if you’re just getting started. Or you might consider external marketing help, in which case it’s important to look around and find the best deal before you invest your hard-earned money in a marketing agency. Use the online resources available; there are many free PDF guides you can download in two clicks. So get on the world wide web, do your research and go make your mark! Don’t forget once you have your Instagram set up to follow @salongolduk, you can tag us in your work and we’d love to see what you’re up to! We may even repost some of your work and share it with our community. I hope this article helps give you a kickstart in the right direction with your career and wish you well on your journey!