Let's face it, this scene in The Wolf Of Wall Street really got us thinking about how much we envied old mate Belfort. You're lying if you say you don't wish that was you dancing at your workplace like that...
(Also I hate to think I have to say this but if you haven't seen this film, go watch it right after this guide!)
This guide is here to show you that without business exposure, the idea of business growth is a mere dream. Think about the exposure that celebrities get when they do PR. Now imagine that same exposure but for your business. This is what business exposure is all about. It’s the amount of attention your business gets in front of potential customers.
Every business, regardless of size (but particularly small businesses) should embrace the necessity of brand exposure as a form of life for their business. Business exposure can be seen as the fuel that a thriving business needs and which without your business will simply….die 😟
Business exposure and business identity go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other so it’s absolutely crucial that as you expose your business to your niche:
🔸 Your identity is as fully fledged as you can make it;
🔸 You are specific and hold the values that align with your niche and,
🔸 Your beliefs, mission, and purpose are clearly conveyed.
For now, what you need to know is that for successful business exposure, which does not only showcase your business but converts consumers into customers, your business identity needs to be carefully designed and conveyed because this is the precise thing that consumers will either love and later promote or hate.
Remember, strong business exposure is the product of high-level marketing, solid public-relations, and quality advertising. Within each of these three avenues, there are multiple areas, platforms, and techniques to leverage which you will get to experiment with as you progress.
I know this is you behind the screen....I'm about to show you with these 3 key steps:
Step 1: Sell while you build 🖇
While building your product, set up the homepage of your website.
Plan: Give visitors a preview of what your business is about and offer them the ability to sign up for early access to the beta version. This process can take weeks or months to build and perfect so involve users early on to get feedback and spread the word about your company.
Lesson: Waiting to finish the product and then releasing is a bad idea as collecting feedback so late would lead to big changes at a given time or potentially spending a long time moving in the completely wrong direction.
Challenge: Make it easier for visitors to share your platform with their friends by adding links to automatically share on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, or simply send their link via email. This generates demand and a fun and competitive environment for early adopters who are eager to gain early access.
Use polls to discover where your visitors heard about you and to uncover new channels to promote your platform. You can use heatmaps to see how your site is being used. Lastly, collect feedback from users while they are still waiting in the free access queue and to tweak the functionality of your product by addressing any user experience issues.
Tip: Control the rate at which new users join/sign up to your platform by creating a waiting list. Check out our Waitlisting Experiment and put it to work!
Step 2: Get the word out 📣
Validate your idea by reaching out to your personal networks to gauge response. Don't target your friends and family as they will only be kind. Instead, approach sites and communities focused around testing betas. Take a look at our Brand Awareness Experiment to put this to action.
We know how daunting this stage can be. Questions like how and where do you get the word about your business out? Which places are the most suitable for my niche? Here are some ideas:
🔸 Networking Events
Networking events or conferences offer huge opportunities to rub elbows with the right crowd. You’ve probably heard that the best opportunities start with conversations...networking events are evidence of this. From the hallways of your workplace to happy hours at a bar or restaurant, there’s always an opportunity to have a conversation. This can also offer valuable referral opportunities (we got you covered with your referral program by the way 😋).
🔸 Local Events
It’s always who you know. Try to go to as many relevant local events as possible. Attending several events each month will turn you and your brand into a recognisable local fixture.
🔸 Press Releases
Press releases offer additional reach that budding startups need. But don’t just send your release over the wire and call it a day. Submit your release directly to news sites that accept press release submissions and earn additional links and exposure.
🔸 Guest Posts
Guest posts are a great way to share your expertise and get your brand in front of new audiences while earning valuable inbound links. Submitting guest posts should be an important part of your content marketing strategy. Write for sites which have audiences that match your target market. Also, try to post at least two new guest posts per month. Every post that gets published gives you essentially free advertising allowing your brand to receive more exposure and earn recognition and authority.
This is your opportunity to think outside the box and get creative. Well-researched infographics that present data in interesting ways are highly shareable so utilise them where and as much as you can. Videos are very powerful too. The Dollar Shave Club created one video which put the company’s brand on the map and generated more traffic than their website could handle. They also received more business than they could handle after the video went viral. If we’re going to experience problems, let's aim for these problems!
🔸 Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Paid search ads are a fast way to send targeted traffic to your website. The trick to paid search is to track and measure everything to ensure your investment is money well spent. Channels like Google AdWords can be great tools to generate leads and sales quickly with an attractive ROI. However, if not managed properly, it can also be a fast way to blow a bunch of money with little to show. If you don’t know what you’re doing, this is where it would benefit you to hire a professional.
While all of the above can send traffic to your website, you won’t convert all those visitors to leads and sales from their first visits. Start a re-marketing campaign for visitors who visit your website and do not convert. Re-marketing allows you to 'follow' those visitors across the web with your ads. Display ads are a great way for doing this since they allow you to display your logo and message. You’re only charged for the click which means all the branding impressions are free. The clicks you do pay for are worth it as you’re bringing visitors back to your website for additional chances to convert.
The takeaway message: Startups face many challenges, but there are opportunities to gain more exposure. Be creative with your marketing and work smarter, not harder. Take these marketing ideas to grow your brand’s audience and take your startup to the next level.
Recap: Leverage as many platforms and events as you can to get the word out to your niche. Networking is your best friend here and it will be the thing that elevates your growth and exposure exponentially.
Step 3: Communicate Updates and Build Demand 🔨
To achieve this step optimally, you need to be able to gain user feedback. Sure, you can make updates to your business as you see fit but you are not your niche so you won’t truly optimise these updates when you lack user feedback. Your product's success and users’ engagement is the product of data, timing, and communication. Your product should progress in tandem with your users’ needs and without losing their interest along the way.
A huge part of this initial stage is communicating product changes to users. You want to keep them coming back knowing that your team is listening to what they want and actively working to make changes. Without communicating your product changes, they may see your product as stagnant and look for alternatives. Don’t let your team’s hard work building a great product go to waste and lose users.
I know you're probably thinking "yeah, okay but how do we do this?"... I got you! Read on.
🔸 Give specific calls to action (CTAs) in your announcement.
It doesn’t actually mean a lot to simply announce that you have a new feature or update and hope that your users will actively seek a way to check it out. The product change could be something really useful to your users but it's likely they won't figure that out right away and put it to use if you only announce it. Give your users suggestions on how to use new features and what they can do with the updates that are relevant and helpful to them. At the bottom, add a CTA to simplify and catalyse the process from announcing the update to the user utilising it.
🔸 Be as visual as possible in your message
According to Webdam, roughly 80% of users will skim read online content with only 20% actually reading the content and of that 20%, they only read about 28% of the content before bouncing. Check out more stats on the impact of visual content here. If you just send an email or push notification, it’s really hard for users to visualise and understand what changes they should look out for. You want to visually explain to users what to expect and what they can do with your product. They are much more likely to interact, use a new feature and check out changes when they are visually prompted. Use actual screenshots, videos, and GIFS to show users changes and updates rather than just explaining it to them. This will better convey to them how to take advantage of the update(s) directly within the user interface.
🔸 Be personal in your communication with users
Personalisation is 🔑. 78% of people prefer personalised communication. Seemingly generic updates and messages are much more likely to be ignored. There are simple ways to do this automatically. Using platforms like Beamer you can segment which updates are sent to which users visiting your website. By segmenting who you send which updates to, you can ensure that your updates have a better open and engagement rate.
🔸 Show that you and your team are listening to what your users want
A great strategy for showing users that you are taking their feedback seriously and are working to make your product better for them is to specifically mention their feedback and requests in your product change updates. If your users offer requests, thank them for their suggestion and implement it even while you’re working on new features and updates. Showing, on every small scale, that your team is listening to users and are continually working to improve the product gives your company an overall progressive and evolving image in the face of your users. They will be more likely to stay loyal to your product if they know that what they want is on the way and their opinion is taken seriously.
🔸 Use data and feedback to make future product changes
Never assume what your users wants to see and hear from you. Make those decisions based on data. Gathering user feedback is important for both your overall strategy, direction and building a good relationship with your users. Aim to gather, analyse and implement their opinion on every outward decision you and your team want to pursue. Ask for their feedback at every opportunity, not just through rarely-answered surveys after you’ve made several changes.
Takeaway message: If you’re not communicating your product changes to your users effectively you are missing out on a huge opportunity to build loyalty and keep engagement high as you continue to improve your product. Your customers don't know how hard your team is working to build a product that meets their needs unless you improve how you communicate with them.
Recap: Send updates to your users as well as those waiting for access explaining what you are up to and what you have achieved over a period of time (weekly, fortnightly, or monthly). Put yourself in a position where you can take the time to reach out to each user personally when an update, bug, or change they had reported or requested was addressed and fixed. Use an overall personal approach to communicate with your users and create an active and loyal community and fan base.
Well, that's all folks 🤗. These are three key steps to maximising business exposure and later growth. Remember to experiment with, learn from, and implement all of these things and more. There is no uniform approach with business exposure but these are some of the ways that you can get there. Experiment with them and learn what is optimal with your niche and industry.
'Till next time...