Photo: BurningQuestion

If you’re a new business owner, congratulations on taking that big and brave step into self-employment. It’s all you now. Whatever your past job description, you are now most likely the chief executive, marketer, financial officer, technology chief, and maybe even your own office coordinator – at least for the time being.

And while marketing isn’t rocket science, it is something that might seem incredibly daunting as you review your oversized “to-do” list. Take one breath. Then another. And then get marketing. Because the bottom line of marketing is being visible in to your audience in highly valuable ways. Here’s an outline of exactly what you’ll need to take those important first steps.

1. Create a Marketing Plan

Some people tend to shy away from planning. Perhaps they feel they can keep all they need to know in their heads. Or that what they’re doing doesn’t require a formal written plan. But creating a marketing plan for a new business is important on so many fronts, least of which is that it forces us to consider a more expansive view of how our business fits into the marketplace. If you don’t have a plan, now’s the time to develop your marketing approach. On the outset you need to define your market and your objectives, so the sooner you can do this the better.

No need to create a work of art….a marketing plan spells out your strategy and the path you’ll take to achieve your objectives, and it’s going to change with time.

Photo: Spencer E. Holtaway

2. Develop a Website

To realize the full potential of your business, you’re going to need a website. A website is where prospects gain familiarity with your offering. With familiarity comes comfort, and with comfort comes inquiries…you know where this is going. There’s significant value in being a known entity rather than a question mark. And with a website, prospects have the ability to find you, and if your website is done correctly, it’ll answer so many of their questions that they’ll soon become customers. What’s particularly important about a website is that it’s a place where you can conduct ongoing conversations of your choosing. That’s essential, because you want to orchestrate your own messages rather than counter those of your competition.

3. Engage in Social Media

From broadcasting great content to maintaining visibility and connection to your audiences, participating in social media has become an essential component of the marketing mix. Social media allows you not only to build networks, but provides access to tap into other networks and showcase your knowledge and savvy. With so many options available, success in the social media world is a question of picking and choosing wisely. Social media can be deceptively time consuming, and there are so many outlets that you can spread yourself and your organization way too thin.

Social Media Tags

4. Build Lists

A critical component to successful marketing is building and maintaining lists of contact and customers that you can communicate your offerings. Please don’t underestimate the necessity or importance of this component of building a successful marketing program. While it can be data-intensive and boring, there’s incredible value in the activity. Putting together a solid, well-tended list is one of the best and most important ways to advance your business.

5. Practice Outbound Marketing

Megaphone illustrationOutbound marketing is proactive outreach activities that allow you to communicate with your marketplace. Regardless of the outbound tactics used, one of the most vitally important issues is to always keep your messages relevant to your audience. It’s essential to make sure your messages are from your audiences’ perspective. Communicate what’s important to them, and avoid the urge to talk solely about your product. This one is crucial and at times difficult to achieve since we become enamored with our products or services. Makes sense, since we live and breathe them, right?

6. Network

Some folks love to network. Others find it a chore. But while networking has always been an important way to market your business, the tactics used have change significantly over the past few years. Whether your business is best suited for online or offline networking, it’s important to initiate and build the relationships necessary for people to know you, your business, and be comfortable enough with you to become a customer. And to stay a customer. The “work” of networking really is in showing your authority. The magic behind doing it well is learning to do it with subtlety.

7.  Be A Brand

Perhaps you’re a bit confused about what branding is, and how it might be relevant to your new or growing business. It makes sense if you are. Notions of branding differ across industries. I’ve noticed that even professional marketers have different views on branding, though I doubt any marketer would question its importance. A helpful way to understand branding is to think about familiar companies or products. How do you define that company, what is it known for, what are its standout attributes and benefits? What you’re describing are all related to that companies brand. While “look” is important, branding goes way beyond having a unique and impactful logo to show the world, your type design choices, or the color of the band on the top of your website. Or a fancy and expensive advertising campaign. Always at the heart of branding is communicating core beliefs. When you’re able to have those beliefs as an intrinsic part of your product or service, then you’re doing a great job with branding.

8. Product Development

It’s quite obvious that a marketing viewpoint needs to be woven into product development. A marketer will look at issues of competition, market size, market stability, economic feasibility, pricing, and all those fun things marketers think about. Product development can be very, very expensive, and significantly more so if the delivered product is flawed. It’s best to move in the right direction from the outset rather perform surgery on an ill-conceived product.


Marketing is both a challenge and an opportunity, and never more so than today. The landscape is shifting faster than ever before, and new resources are emerging before we can even track them. I recommend that you read all you can about how to market your business, and use what resonates most.

If you’d like more complete details and specific tactics on these 8 essentials of marketing for new businesses, download our complimentary 18 page eBook.