Marketing your start up is important in order to get your product or service listed.
Jess Ratty received a Start Up Loan to launch The Cornwall Camper Company, which featured in our first TV ad campaign. Along with co-founder Ben, she shares her seven top tips for marketing your start up business.
1. Be a “yes” person
Since The Cornwall Camper Company became one of the first businesses in the South West to receive a Start Up Loan, we’ve said yes to every single PR and marketing opportunity we’ve been offered. In doing so we have gained coverage in 12 national papers and won a Best Business Start Up award.
We’ve also agreed to become a partner of Not On The High Street and will be advertising in Newquay Airport, gearing us up for some widespread exposure as we look into our next season of business in 2016.
2. Get social
It’s important to set up social media accounts for your business, but think about which platforms will work for you. For example, LinkedIn is fantastic for the corporate side of our VW hire business. It means that clients looking to hire VW’s for events can find out about us and get in touch. Facebook – it’s an obvious one for us as that’s where our ideal customer demographic is, and Twitter is fantastic for snappy little updates. We’ve also become huge fans of Instagram as our campers are very photogenic and people love to see what inspiring images we can come up with.
Remember – having social media accounts is about providing quality over quantity. We never worry about how many “followers” we have – we worry about the content we are creating for our audiences and making sure it fits each platform and essentially, our customers.
3. Love your brand
When setting up a business decide on your brand logo, your colour palette, your language and tone and stick to it. We have a very distinctive voice at The Cornwall Camper Company and our website and branding gets as much positive attention as our beautiful campers. Customers tell us that they love the look and feel of the website, the clarity and the “voice” that goes with it. It’s important to create a consistency around your brand that your customers will come to love and trust.
4. Plan for success
Planning ahead is vital when running a marketing drive. Being a mostly seasonal business (running from late Feb through to the end of Nov) we need to know when best to target our audience for certain peak booking times. We know that bookings for the next year start in August of the year before and tail off in June – this gives us a great slot in which to really push our marketing towards our “traditional” customers. We can then use the spare time to experiment with different audiences and ideas.
5. Become an email superstar
Getting your email campaigns right (or wrong!) can have a dramatic impact on your business. It’s a fine line between informing your customers, partners and contacts what’s cool, new and fun in your business to becoming an irritating email spammer.
It is important to segment your audience and make sure you speak to these different groups with appropriate content and “calls to action”. For example, we know that if a person has joined our mailing list by entering a competition and “opting in” to receive updates, then they may not be hugely engaged or serious about following our “business journey.” Whereas those who’ve already been customers of ours are likely to be more engaged and keen to follow our journey.
6. Believe in yourself
At The Cornwall Camper Company we did a lot of market research before we launched. This means that lots of people told us that what we were doing was a great idea and that there was a market for it. Of course there have been knocks, bumps and tears along the way, but we’ve always believed in what we are doing. Our marketing reflects that – if you don’t believe in your business yourself – who will believe your marketing?
7. Be an international success
Luckily for us we’ve got some great advisors on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and marketing in Cornwall. In the early days we got some excellent advice from a company called Niddocks.
Due to great content, great Google reviews and some good social media, we rank well in search engines and this means that international explorers can find us and hire our campers. We’ve had customers from Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and in particular, Germany! We live in a hyper-connected world where email, social media, and a decent website can connect you with customers across the globe, so take advantage of this!
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
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