4 Basic Marketing Blunders For New Businesses and How to Avoid Them
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Whether you’re just starting a new business venture or you’re a little more established, there’s a short list of things you definitely should not do. I like to call these, basic business blunders. They’re basic in that they’re the ABCs of starting out and marketing your business. They’re blunders because they’re bad business decisions. It could be because I’m involved with marketing that I notice these types of things a little more, but my guess is that a percentage of your potential customers or clients may notice them too.
Your Business Name
We’ve previously written about the importance of your business name in, “Naming Your Business Is No Joke”. I encourage you to read that one if you haven’t already because it perfectly sums up the pitfalls of a bad business name.
I’ll also add that you should do the following simple steps after you’ve come up with a name and BEFORE you’ve done anything else:
- Go to google and search that exact name. What comes up? More often than not, you’re going to discover quite a few things come up and you’re going to have to decide whether what comes up is going to conflict with your business at all.
- Go to the U.S. Patent & Trademark search website here. Use the basic word mark search tool and type in your business name. If nothing comes up, that’s a good indicator that you’ll probably be okay with the name you chose. If something does come up, you may want to rethink that name.
- Check social media such as Twitter and Facebook and see if anyone else is using the name you’ve selected.
- Go to whois.com and type in your business name as a URL. If it’s already taken, you could run into problems with confusing people on the web (especially if you buy a .net or any of the other esoteric domains now being offered when the .com is owned by someone else).
- If everything checks out with your new name, register it properly so that you’re a legal business.
If you’re starting a new business and you haven’t done all 5 of those things above, that’s a basic business blunder. If you’re already established and you never did any of those or only some of them, I’d recommend you look over that list again and check into the ones you didn’t do. Another business using your name could be more problematic than just competition, especially if they were using the name first. It also creates a real headache for your online as well as your offline marketing. Once you’re in the clear with the name (no one’s coming after you for infringement or you had been using the name first) you’re going to always have to work harder to differentiate your business from the similarly named one.
Your Email Address
If you’ve set up a “business” email on any service other than with your website host for your own website (you do have your own website, right?), then this is a basic business blunder. I also have to admit that every time I see an email address like email@example.com (or yahoo, or even old dinosaurs like aol or hotmail) it’s like nails on a chalkboard for me. This one is like, beyond basic. Your own URL is the only professional email address you should ever use. I don’t care if you’ve been using your gmail account for 5 years, that needs to become your personal account and your business one should be firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Phone Number
Sure, you want to save costs with your business anywhere you can, but skipping out on a dedicated business phone number shouldn’t be one of them. Especially now with all the inexpensive voip options and “family plan” cell phone contracts out there. You’ve got zero excuse for still using a personal phone number for your business because doing so is a basic business blunder. And by all means, when you get that new phone number exclusively for your business, answer it in a professional manner, not just with, “Hello” or, “This is Jill”. Say your business name.
Your Business Card
Please don’t make the basic business blunder of trying to print these out on your home printer. Unless you’re a talented artist with a penchant for hand-crafting your own cards and the skill to perfectly use an exacto knife or paper cutter (and don’t mind doing them in small batches at a time), this will turn out poorly. The impression that handing out a home printed business card typically creates is that you’re too cheap to afford actual business cards, your business must not be doing that well if you had to print those yourself, or you really don’t care about the appearance of your business. Do you want that? I should hope not. Your very best option here is to work with a professional designer to create your cards. A designer will usually have contact with a good printer. You will make a great first impression when you hand out your custom crafted, professionally printed cards.
The Next Step
If you’re starting a new business, you’ll definitely be starting off on the right foot by avoiding these 4 basic business blunders. If you’re already in business, it still might not be too late to get on the right path. Enlisting some help from professionals can get you moving in the right direction.
When you’ve got the basics down and you’re ready to start on your marketing, give us call. JV Media Design helps businesses like yours by providing custom and strategic website design, graphic design, printing, and marketing solutions targeted to your goals.
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