The first Monday of each month, I dust off a favorite post from the Bennis Inc Blog archives and give you another chance to enjoy the wit and wisdom that’s been shared. Enjoy this month’s treasure – and if it inspires you – be sure to share it with family and friends!
So you’ve put in the hard work to establish the countless details of your new business or brand. Maybe you’re expanding your existing business into new territory and needed to create a new brand to represent this. Or maybe your existing brand was long overdue for a fresh new look. No matter the reason that got you to this point, you now have arguably the most important task ahead of you. And that’s to make sure the world hears about your new business or brand – and remembers it!
It sounds straightforward enough. Spread the word. Got it. But it’s never quite that simple. This is because many businesses don’t know the tools and technology available to them to effectively launch their new business or brand. What I want to share with you are my 5 most valuable pieces of advice when it comes to gaining publicity for your business, and my go-to tools that help take things to the next level.
1. Host an official launch party.
Hosting a launch party is an obvious first step for making the opening of your new business or unveiling of your new brand feel official. Plus who doesn’t love a good party? While this is nice in theory, many businesses get overwhelmed by the event planning aspect that they put off doing it entirely. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a professional event planner to throw a fantastic launch party. Using tools like Paperless Post, you can put together a professional-looking digital invitation, send it out to your contact list, and track their replies all in one location.
The reason it’s so important to host an official launch party is that this gives you the reason to talk (brag) about your new business, invite people into your store or workspace, and give people all the information they need to spread the word to their networks. Plus it ties nicely into my next point.
2. Gain media coverage.
Your launch party is a great opportunity to invite local media out to your business. Ribbon cutting ceremonies and grand opening celebrations for area businesses are prime material for reporters to publish. If you don’t want media at your event, or maybe you invited them but no one showed (it happens!), be sure to take ample photos. These photos, combined with a professional press release announcing your new business or brand, can then be sent out to media outlets for additional publicity.
One common question I receive from clients is, “How do I know whom to send my press release to?” It’s a very important question and one that fortunately has a fairly simple answer thanks to (you guessed it) technology. Software like Cision and Meltwater allows subscribers to search and compile extensive media lists based on nearly any type of criteria you can imagine. Pulling this same data by searching for it on the internet would require so much more time, and yield a far lower quality of results. For most businesses, you don’t need to have your own subscription to this software, rather you just need to link up and work with a public relations firm that does.
3. Announce it to your full contact list.
Next, you want to be sure that you announce your news to everyone in your virtual Rolodex. I recommend using a low-cost or no-cost email platform, like Mail Chimp, to put together a professional-looking announcement that will also allow you to track the opens and click-throughs from your contacts. This data can tell you a lot about who is engaged with your news and even who may have forwarded your announcement to someone else. Plus it makes it convenient for you to reach out to this same list of people again in the future, should you need to.
4. Take it to social media.
All bases would not be covered if we failed to include social media as part of your launch strategy. Certainly, you will want to post about your new brand or business on all of your social media accounts. However, given you’re a new brand or business, you may not have that much of a following yet. If this is the case, consider carving out even just a few hundred dollars for a sponsored social media campaign. Sponsoring a post allows you to reach your target demographic beyond who is already following your accounts. Most importantly, get creative with your messaging! Think thought-provoking or humorous content, interesting and eye-catching graphics, and of course a strong call to action.
5. Establish your long-term marketing strategy.
Finally and most importantly, you want to establish your long-term marketing strategy. Let’s say you put a great deal of effort into planning and executing a stellar launch strategy, all goes well and you now have your target audience’s attention. But you didn’t think through your long-term strategy to keep their attention and move them to a point of sale. Now you’ve lost their attention and the sale as a result. The launch of your new business or brand is just that, it’s the starting point.
A strong launch needs to be immediately met with an equally strong long-term strategy to keep people engaged and to be continually staying in front of your target audience. It may seem like a lot to tackle at once but aim for mapping out your strategy even just for the next 12-18 months. Then as time goes on, you will collect data and analytics and can update and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
Are you working to launch a new business or brand, but haven’t a clue where to begin? Ask a question by leaving a comment below and I’ll personally answer you with my best advice. Cheers!