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How to market your new business: The best thing you can do to get it off the ground

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Let’s talk about how to market your new business. You made it official, you have the product or service ready, but now you need the clients! Today I’m sharing what I think is the best way to market your new business. And here’s the best part – it’s free!

I was recently surprised to learn how difficult it can be for people to talk about their business, especially when it’s new.

But then I was reminded of that exact feeling. 

When I started my photography business, it felt like a natural transition. Although starting a business was scary, I had been taking photos for fun for a while, and since everything on social media is so centered around imagery, it didn’t feel hard to post, “Hey! Let me take some pictures for you!”

But when I started designing websites for small businesses, that felt a little different. I felt the imposter syndrome creeping in.

Who am I to say I can go around telling people I’m a website designer?

That I can help them grow their business?

It felt less concrete than putting a photo in front of someone’s face and saying, “Here, see this pretty picture!?” 

But see, growing my photography business took way more than posting a few pretty pictures. The business, relationship and marketing practices I implemented allowed me to grow my business into a full-time, 6-figure one. And I am so passionate that literally anyone can do this, that I can effortlessly talk to other business owners about these strategies. 

Defeating imposter syndrome

And the more I talk to people about it, the more I realize that I’m no imposter. That I have strategies, ideas and knowledge to pass on to other business owners. And they know I’m good for it because they can tell how excited I am about it. That I mean it. Just how our wedding couples can tell how much Ryan and I love them, their weddings, and taking their photos. 

Notice a common thread here? TALK.

The number one thing you can do for your new business is talk about it!

Maybe this seems obvious to some of you. Or maybe it feels intimidating because you don’t want to feel like you’re bragging, or just talking about yourself. Or maybe it seems like it couldn’t possibly bring you business. 

Let me give you a few examples. 

How to market your new business by tapping into your SOI (Sphere of Influence)

When I announced my photography business to my family and friends, it was easy to get people in front of my camera. Everyone has family, friends and even random Facebook friends who will let you take their pictures for free! That’s a great start to a portfolio, but it’s not a business.

I knew I wanted to do weddings, but getting that first wedding felt like an impossible task. (Side note – before I did my first wedding, it was non-negotiable to me that I would have wedding experience. I was not going to waltz into someone’s wedding day without experience). I shadowed another wedding photographer, and got a few photos I could use for a portfolio.

Your “SMSOI” (Social Media Sphere of Influence)…I made that up

How did I get that first one? Facebook. But not in the way you might think. Not with ads. Not even from my business page. But from my personal Facebook page. Because I had been posting updates about starting a photography business, a lot of people in my Facebook circle were following what I was doing.

Another major side note here – just because they don’t like or comment, doesn’t  mean they’re not watching! They are!

I posted an offer – $150 for an engagement session. No strings attached. If they ended up wanting to use me for their wedding, the $150 would go towards their wedding package (which at that time, was only $1000). From that offer, I booked two engagement sessions. One where the bride saw it directly, and one from a bride’s mom I knew through an old job. 

From those two engagement sessions, I booked my first weddings. 

Building Relationships

Example number two: Last winter, Ryan and I went to a bridal show. We didn’t have a booth, and we weren’t there to market to couples. We were simply there to check out other local wedding vendors, and make a quick introduction.

It didn’t cost us a thing, and we didn’t even bring business cards. We made so many great connections with people who we are more than excited to refer to our clients. And within two weeks, we booked a wedding through a planner we met there. If we continue growing these relationships, there is no doubt they will continue to impact our business, and we will continue to impact theirs! 

Launching a new business…again

The first place I announced my web design business? My personal Facebook page.

I have booked weddings, family sessions and now even website clients, simply by telling people I meet about what I do.

Yes, it feels scary. You may ask, “How do I bring this up without just sounding conceited?” 

Here’s the thing. All this, your business, your marketing. It’s all about relationships.

The old fashioned way of selling is not about relationships. Why do you think it has such a bad reputation?

Marketing is all about relationships

If you can genuinely form relationships with new people you meet, maintain them with people you already know, and create the feeling of a relationship within your online community, you will grow your business. I don’t walk up to someone new, and say “Hey! Let me design your website!” Or “Hey! Do you know anyone looking for a wedding photographer?” I just meet them. I ask about what they do, where they’re from, what they like to do. And then it naturally flows from there.

Because my business is such a huge part of my life, and because I am so passionate about it, it’s easy to bring up. I’m not selling anything. I tell them I design websites and create marketing strategies for small business owners because I am so passionate about people creating the life they want for themselves. 

These conversations happen with owners of boutiques while I’m shopping. I join networking groups. I prioritize posting updates on my personal social media pages. Those people know me! They’re more invested, even if from a distance. And they’re way more likely to send someone my way than someone they don’t know. 

Stay Top of Mind

You probably hear it all the time – stay top of mind. You want to be the first person someone thinks about when someone they know needs your type of service or product. Stay top of mind by showing up, talking about what you do. Consistently. 

And you don’t have to do it in an annoying way. The best way to demonstrate what you do? Tell the story of your client, or how your product helps someone. Post on your personal social media, “I’m so proud of my client because we transformed her ____ from this to this!” Tell a story.

Show them behind-the-scenes of your business. Don’t just say “Hey! I’m a realtor! If you know anyone buying a house, send them my way” over and over again. 

Show why you care, and if you can do one thing for your growth – keep talking! 

How to market your new business: Action Steps

If talking about your business doesn’t come naturally to you, here are some simple action items you can take to prepare for your next conversation!

  1. Come up with 2-3 stories about your business or clients that you could bring up easily in conversation. It could literally could be about the weather. “It’s so cold out! I did a photo shoot last week and we were freezing!” Make sure one of those stories focuses on a client, and how you helped them. (If you need a framework for this, visit storybrand.com)
  2. Make two personal social media posts about your business this week (share one of the stories from above, or share a behind the scenes look into what you’re doing this week).
  3. Make it your goal to talk about your business to three people you talk to in the next week (preferably, people who don’t already know about your business!). Introduce yourself to someone, bring it up in conversation, tell someone a story. Brainstorm questions that you can ask them too – to make it a conversation, not a sales pitch. Use your stories from #1!
  4. Search for a local networking group you can join – small business owners, something in your industry, or something more broad. This is the best way to meet people from various types of industries. This will not only get you referrals, but it will give you lots of practice talking about your business.

Questions about how to market your new business? I’d love to chat! Set up your free consultation here.

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