So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to branch out on your own. Congratulations! Whether it’s custom pottery or financial consulting, creating a digital presence should be your first marketing step. Creating easy to access touchpoints where customers can find your phone number, address, and services helps legitimize your company, and makes it easy for your customers to start hiring you!
It All Starts With A Logo
Before you can create your killer website or beautifully curated social feed, a logo is a must. There are tons of different options available depending on your timeline, budget, and goals. Your logo symbolizes your company, and will easily be the most utilized piece of creative you ever have. So take the time to create something you LOVE because you are going to be seeing it all the time, and changing out everything down the road is an expensive decision.
The DIY Approach
If you have a clear idea of your aesthetic and know what you want to convey to your audience, there are tons of online tools that allow entrepreneurs to create their own logo. Just be sure that whatever tool you use allows you to create a vector format (an image made up of numerous individual, scalable objects, each defined by a mathematical equation). This is usually achieved by having the option to save your file as a PDF.
You pay in your own time
You are in control of your own time
Many entrepreneurs end up creating a raster only logo and end up paying a designer later to vectorize their logo so it can be used for signs and color variations
Your Skills May Not Pay The Bills:
Your logo may not end up the way you envisioned it, leaving customers with a “homespun” impression of your business.
There are lots of websites that offer cost-effective freelance design services that are able to create your logo in all professional formats. This is a great option for a company looking for a fast, usable logo.
These websites thrive on cost-effective hourly rates and set packages, which is great if you are on a budget
Most online freelancers work fast or may have templated options making it extremely time-efficient
You Get What You Pay For:
With time and budget so efficient, this often means that your design ends up generic and templated.
Communication Can Be A Challenge:
For many online freelancers, English (or your first language) may be their second language, or they may never actually talk to you in person. This can make it challenging to get the results you want
Hire A Professional
For those looking for a professionally designed logo, hiring a local designer or agency is a great option. Hiring locally means you have the opportunity to sit down with your designer and communicate your needs in person. A professional will also create your logo in all of the formats you need, saving you time and money in the future.
Hiring a professional designer means that you will receive a logo that is formatted properly, uses typography and images that are owned by your company, and designed with you in mind.
Working with a local designer means you can discuss your designs in person, and providing feedback can be as simple as a coffee and a pen marking what you like and don’t like.
Depending on the designer, and your budget, the price point for your logo may be higher than you are currently able to afford.
Sometimes You Might Not “Connect”
This is a con with any working relationship, but sometimes you just don’t click with your designer. It is important to review their portfolio, ask lots of questions, and have a clear plan in place for timelines, deliverables, and final product.
While each company may have different markets they are trying to reach, there is truly a social platform for every audience. Now that you have your logo, it is time to create your accounts and fill in your profile information.
Our tip for Facebook is to give your customers all of the information they need. It sounds simple, but filling out your “About” section including your phone number, website, address, and services is a must.
Having a professional profile picture and cover image provides your customers with a positive first impression, and shows that you mean business.
When creating an Instagram profile, it is important to consider your handle, and Bio section. Create a handle that is easily identifiable, and be sure to actually explain what you do in your bio! Providing potential customers with a link to your website, and quick snapshot of who you are can be the difference between a follow or a new lead.
Another important thing to consider with your Instagram is your first 9 pictures. First impressions matter and many Instagram users don’t scroll down when reviewing a potential account to follow, so ensure that your grid reflects your business in its best light.
Depending on your market, LinkedIn can be a great tool for attracting new leads. Much like your personal profile, it is important to keep it professional and informative. Creating a properly sized cover image and profile will showcase your business and leave potential followers with a lasting impression.
Claim Your Google My Business Account
This tip is a MUST for any business. Whether you have your website complete or not, start your digital journey by claiming and verifying your Google My Business account. Head to the Google My Business website, and enter in your information and go through the verification process.
Claiming or Creating a Profile
Depending on how long you have been in business, Google may have already created an account for you. If this is the case, click the “Claim Your Profile” option at the bottom and complete the verification process. (They will usually mail a postcard to your physical address).
Don’t see an account for your business yet? No problem, just create your own.
Be as thorough as possible when filling out your profile information. Ensure that you have your address, phone number, website, hours, and services listed. You can always edit this information in the future, but having these key contact points publicly available is super important.
Google prioritizes your Google My Business profile, so when people search for your company it will show up first, regardless of your website or social accounts. When you add your address to this account it also makes you findable when customers use Google Maps.
Another huge benefit to utilizing your Google My Business account is that customers can start leaving you reviews. For any startup, positive reviews are GOLD as they help legitimize your company, and provide social proof that your product or service is worth trying to other potential customers.
This may feel like a no-brainer, but our big tip is to create a landing page with your contact information, address, and a contact form. Many startups and smaller companies will leave their website development for a later date as they may not have a clear idea of what they want to say, or the time to properly develop a full site.
This is totally understandable! Budgets are tight, timelines are busy, and your company may not have its service offering completely fleshed out. Providing your customers with a landing page is a good way to start indexing your domain, and give customers a tool to reach you.
Why Digital Matters
Our closing thoughts on this blog are about the importance of digital marketing in 2020. As we all know, the pandemic has changed the game, but taking advantage of these cost-effective digital tools will help you reach customers, even if they can’t meet you physically.
Digital marketing for startups is a cost-effective way for you to create multiple touchpoints for your prospective customers. The buyer journey has evolved over the years, and research has become a critical part of most major purchases. Offering more information to your customers, and providing greater opportunities for them to feel like they know you before they commit can be the difference between a sale, and another lost lead.