First impressions count. Make sure your startup takes center stage from the very beginning. By Sarah Landrum (Founder, Punched Clocks)
More than half a million new businesses are started each month and out of those, only one-third survive for 10 years or more, according to Forbes.
With those statistics, you can see why it’s important to reach as many people as possible in your initial days of launching a new business startup. In addition to traditional marketing efforts, such as sending out press releases and planning a grand opening, you should also look at ways to get in front of as many eyes as possible in your early days.
Build an Online Presence Well in Advance
Months before the launch of your startup, you should build an online following. There are several important factors in building an online community that will follow you and even cheer you on as you start your business.
- Start a website Potential customers need to be able to get information quickly and easily.
- Have a social media presence The more followers you can get and engage with before your big day, the better your launch will go.
- Join groups related to your niche Look at groups on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But don’t just join the list and then spam everyone with private messages. Instead, reach out and interact with those in the group. Add something of value. If you develop relationships, when you need a shout-out for your launch, people will be there.
Add Your Biz to Databases
Add your business to directories and databases, both locally and around the globe. A few to consider include:
- YP.com – Go with the free listing at first. If you want to reach more local customers, you can always upgrade your account later.
- Killer Startups – This site will send out news about your startup to media and also list info on the startup online.
- Local directories – Contact small-town newspapers and city newspapers to find out how to get your business listed.
- Product Hunt – Product Hunt shares the best new products every day. Submit your product to the site for exposure the site’s daily readers.
Host a Launch Event
It’s pretty much a given that a startup should host a grand opening party and invite local media and influencers. You can get even more eyes on your event by co-ordinating your grand opening with online launch events.
- Create a hashtag to coordinate with your event and tweet about key happenings.
- Record the event and post clips on YouTube.
- Repeat the event on Facebook and invite special clients and media only.
Call on Contacts
If you’ve prepared for your launch, then you’ve already done a few things beforehand, such as connecting with influencers in your industry and building some networking relationships. Now, it’s time to ask those contacts for help.
- Ask your connections to help you spread the word about your launch event.
- Create opportunities for shared exposure. For example: they interview you for their blog and you return the favor.
- Invite your connections to your launch party. If you’ve prepared ahead of time, then you’ve connected with like-minded business owners that are not competition to you, but have complementary businesses.
Don’t Overlook the Power of Print Advertising
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get your business in front of more eyes.
- Post flyers on community bulletin boards.
- Use targeted door hangers or direct mail to contact people in the area and let them know about your grand opening.
- Use smaller newspapers for advertising, whose rates are often much lower than larger newspapers and magazines.
- Try to get your event mentioned on radio and online.
There are many factors that go into a successful launch, but getting the grand opening of your business in front of more people will certainly pay off in both word-of-mouth and positive buzz. With just a little pre-planning, your startup launch will be a success.
What's your advice to founders about to launch?
Photo credit: Skylines via Shutterstock.
About the guest blogger: Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and Digital Marketing Specialist. She is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to sharing advice on navigating the work world. Passionate about helping others find happiness and success in their careers, she shares advice on everything from the job search and entrepreneurship to professional development, and more! Follow her for more great tips @SarahLandrum.