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For the majority of new business owners, the startup process is a strong learning curve. They have to figure things out and learn new skills quickly and in-depth. And one of the more important to-learn things would be a marketing campaign. Not just advertising, but branding, linking communities, and social media. Marketing isn’t something that can be overlooked or left to the last minute, nor can it be done half-heartedly.

When planning your marketing strategy, you might be trying to work out what aspects deserve your attention more. Which sub-headings should sit above the rest and should be prioritized. Make sure that you are hiring the right people to progress your marketing campaign – employ the best proofreading service, the best graphic designers, the best copywriters. You need this to be flawless, so the investment is worth it.

1| Reputation

We all (unfortunately) studied The Scarlet Letter at school – it’s the story of a girl who ruined her reputation by having intercourse before marriage. And where we have definitely moved on from the reactions in the book, the lesson is still valid; once a reputation has been lost, it’s nearly impossible to get it back. As you go through the startup process, set a mission statement or motto to live by – and actually live by it. It should be something that shows who you are as person as well as a company.

A good reputation can make up for the size of your company, being a newbie, and can justify your product having a slightly higher price than your competitors.

2| Branding

A brand is so much more than a colour scheme and a fancy logo. Although those things are essential parts of the branding process. Branding is about establishing yourself as a company and being able to spread your name across your audience so that you become easily recognised and, hopefully, one of the first companies that come to mind. You achieve this through a mix of new and traditional means; merchandise and packaging are obvious, but also look into sponsoring local charities and events.

A small company should always strive to become involved in the local community. Your reputation will tie in with your brand here – your name will be promoted through word of mouth, and your reputation determines whether those promotions are positive or not.

3| Reach

As your brand and reputation grow, as will your audience reach. It’s a natural process for successful businesses. However, don’t just leave it up to time to grow. You can progress your reach through research. Have a  look at the areas and demographics around you – what area isn’t being tapped into by your company, or competitors, that you should be? A coffee shop might see the need for a late night opening for students. A truck company might think about expanding into smaller courier services.

There are always new areas to explore, a new audience to invite. You can always count on a truck company to deliver huge quantities of goods, but what if one of your clients needs a quick influx of a certain product? This is where a smaller, quicker courier service would come in handy, and be a unique service you can provide. A coffee shop will always attract students, so what about moms? Is there a mom and baby class nearby? If so why not reach out and offer half-price drinks to each mom after their class? That way you’re sure to get a new, regular group each week, who will spend hours chatting and drinking coffee.

4| Advertising

We’ve placed advertising at the bottom of our list, but that doesn’t make it less important. It is something that every business needs to do, but if you do the three previous points correctly, you don’t have to lean on it as a crutch.

When getting started with your advertising, don’t favour digital over physical marketing – and the same when switched. Both are vital. There is an entire world of tried and tested physical advertising techniques out there, and so many new ones to explore in the digital world. The two should compliment each other, with the same images, colors, and slogans. Your branding comes into focus here as people will, hopefully, recognize who you are and what you do. Look at successful companies like Nike and Starbucks; you know exactly what that little tick, and who that siren is, and what each company offers.