I have never met an entrepreneur who said that starting a business was easy for them. Even if you already have the equity capital, a large number of challenges still lie ahead of you. In a world where small businesses tend to collapse due to the power of worldwide brands and corporates, it’s easy to be pessimistic, and maybe give up hope in advance, even if you have a great product, idea, or service to offer.

I am Ofir Bar, a real estate investor with over two decades of experience in the field. I also have a special interest in innovators and young startups and entrepreneurs. I noticed that young businesses tend to fail due to bad promotion and lack of public awareness. For this reason, I felt the need to give some tips for promoting a business taking its first steps. I hope you will find my advice useful.

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It’s not a secret that advertising and marketing are shifting towards the digital world. In this world, if you wish for your business to be recognized, there is no escape from establishing a digital foothold. However, that’s not all. I assume most of you won’t be able to take care of all the tasks listed below at the same time, yet note that it’s better to make at least some of the efforts simultaneously. Otherwise, they won’t have a real effect.

Stop the scrolling

Let’s make it clear: Nowadays, social media presence for your business isn’t a plus - it’s a necessity. When people search for a business online, they usually do it first with Instagram or Facebook. Social media allows you to inform, attract and engage with your followers. Luckily, this type of advertising is generally free, though there are some features that are available only for paying customers. Note that since these platforms are saturated with brands, attractive visuals are key in making potential customers focus on your ad and not just keep scrolling.

Though it might not be affordable for small businesses, I would like to mention the option of paid advertising, which can help you expand your reach faster. This includes promoted social media ads, and PPC ads (pay per click) - meaning you pay a fee anytime someone clicks your ad. Search engines such as Google offer to place your ad at the top of the results page when a potential customer types specific search words.

Direct emails are a good way of reaching your target audience. I advise you to send these only to relevant recipients, tailor the ads, and include a time-limited offer in them. If done right, this method of advertising can be a very beneficial ‘return on investment’. An interested customer might even share the email with others - which means free advertising for your brand.

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Don’t forget to check the results of email marketing and social media. How many people received the ad? How many of them opened it? How many clicked the link inside? Getting the answers to these questions can clarify how well your marketing and advertising efforts are doing. It will give you insights into what types of content and offers attract the most attention.

Shout, let it out

Setting a digital foothold starts with being reachable: Google My Business (GMB), the ‘Yellow Pages’ of 2022, allows customers to easily find your business’ location and operation hours, and also read and write reviews. This is the most basic and essential online signature your business needs. Don’t forget, just like social media, Google is also flooded with brands and ads. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website appear higher in a Google search. Doing SEO well requires quite a lot of work and understanding, so consider hiring an SEO agency to do it for you.

Nevertheless, recognition has meaning only if your product can give value to your customers. Consider starting a blog\vlog for your brand, or host a webinar about a topic on which you have valuable knowledge. Maybe you can even join an industry-specific online community where you’ll comment in conversations and build connections. Attend events where your target audience is likely to be. Meet fellow business owners and prospective customers while promoting your business. These actions are a great way to network, raise brand awareness, build trust, and position yourself as an authority in your field.

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Moreover, it’s a good idea to use press releases anytime your business does something notable. Publications are constantly looking for new and interesting stories and often use press releases to create articles - allowing you to reach a broader audience without paying another dime.

Yes, you’ll be surprised to find that giving away ‘for free’ might benefit you in the long run. This leads me to my next tip: Offer a discounted or free product\service to draw new customers. Free samples and trials give your potential customer a chance to try your product without a financial commitment.

Don’t forget human contact

I can’t state it enough: One of the hardest challenges for brands these days is being remembered and perceived as unique and different. The public is flooded with brands from all directions, making the competition for customers’ attention fierce. The last tip I want to give you, my fellow entrepreneurs, is to maintain human contact. In this digital, mechanized world, customers are tired of automated emails and answering machines. They crave to hear a human voice and even read a message or email written by a real person. Doing so will make your brand be perceived as approachable and human. Don’t we all wish for a little personal attention?