Starting A Small Business? Here Are Your Marketing & Branding Must-Haves

Forgive us, but we need to start this post by stating the obvious: after over two years since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that life will never be the same. Despite the many challenges Americans have faced in the last two years, it is becoming clear that not everything about this time has been negative.

Although the District Maven team will maintain that it has always been the cool thing to do, the fact that the entrepreneurial spirit is spreading excites us most. According to newly released data from the Census Bureau's Business Formation Statistics, almost 5.4 million applications were filed to start new business entities in 2021 alone – more than any year to date. (You can view the complete study here.)

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Just because entrepreneurship is suddenly becoming the on-trend, sexy thing to do doesn't mean most know what steps to take afterward. The to-do list of a new business owner is definitely a long one, which can be overwhelming, especially in the marketing department. Here is a comprehensive list of things your brand must have to hit the ground running for those just getting started.

Defined Audiences, Service Offerings & Transactional Processes

Before you begin anything marketing or branding-related, the audience, service offerings, and transaction processes must be clearly defined for your new business. This is true from an operational perspective and from a marketing one. This insight is crucial to creating a brand concept and creative collateral that attracts your target demographic, demonstrates expertise, and prompts them to ROI-producing action.

Brand Guidelines (Color Palette, Logo & Typography)

Establishing brand guidelines for a new business is important for several reasons, but primarily because these elements will be used over and over again in nearly every aspect of your business. From signage to websites and social media accounts, having branding materials that can visually speak for your business is key. Color palettes, font pairings and logo design can go a long way in attracting your desired audience and creating a connection with them.

Domain & Hosting Registrars

As far as the web is concerned, your domain name (and eventually, your website) serves as the digital representation of your business or brand. Immediately after incorporating your company, it is wise to reserve a domain name even if you don't use it right away. Doing this early will prevent anyone else from snatching the URL up before you. Providers like GoDaddy or Google Domains are typically the easiest, most cost-effective options. (District Maven registers our domain with GoDaddy for reference.)

You'll also need hosting for those interested in getting started on a website immediately. (This is technically considered a different thing than your domain registrar in the "Internet of things.”) For WordPress websites (which is all we develop in), we recommend using Flywheel as their customer service is top-notch, but their product is stellar.

Mapped Email Addresses

After reserving your domain name, you will be ready to set up your business email address. Sure, you can just create a generic "@gmail.com" account… but it will look super unprofessional to both humans and search engines. (It will also increase the likelihood that your messages end up in the recipients' spam folder instead of their inbox.)

We recommend setting up a "mapped" email address (i.e., one that has your company name at the end) for owners and one for general information inquiries. Google Workspace offers an excellent option for new business owners that won't break the bank (and is far less complicated than Office365). Plans start at $6 per user per month and offer many cloud-based collaboration tools any entrepreneur would find beneficial.

Social Media Handles

Like your domain name, reserving your social media handles is essential to do right away – especially if you're worried about getting the exact username you want. When setting up your Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media accounts, it is always wise to ensure each has the same username. (Even better if it is the same as your website URL!) This makes the brand more recognizable to a human audience. It makes it easier for the search engines to crawl as well.

Claim Your Google Business Profile

Let's not beat around the bush here – there may be other search engines out there, but Google is actually the only one that matters. As such, setting up and claiming your company's profile on their platform is something you definitely want to do before you start actively marketing. This gives you a voice to Google as far as your business details are concerned; it indexes on their vertical search engines. (Think YouTube and Google Maps.) This expands your company's overall reach while also reinforcing to Google that these entities are legit resources for your brand.

Data Analytics Tracking

Even the most stellar marketing campaigns mean nothing if you cannot track their results. Before you spin your wheels conceptualizing your next great promotion, make sure you have data tracking platforms enabled for your business. At a bare minimum, one should start with Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. (For those looking to get really advanced, call tracking adds more analytical information than either of the platforms mentioned above ever could on their own.)

No matter what marketing move you make first, the most important is the first one! Getting started can often be the most challenging for new business owners, but it doesn't have to be. The savvy, experienced experts at District Maven are here to provide assistance. Our marketing agency will help develop and create a strategic roadmap for your brand that gets your business started and propels it into the future.

Forgive us, but we need to start this post by stating the obvious: after over two years since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that life will never be the same. Despite the many challenges Americans have faced in the last two years, it is becoming clear that not everything about this time has been negative.

Although the District Maven team will maintain that it has always been the cool thing to do, the fact that the entrepreneurial spirit is spreading excites us most. According to newly released data from the Census Bureau's Business Formation Statistics, almost 5.4 million applications were filed to start new business entities in 2021 alone – more than any year to date. (You can view the complete study here.)

Image
Just because entrepreneurship is suddenly becoming the on-trend, sexy thing to do doesn't mean most know what steps to take afterward. The to-do list of a new business owner is definitely a long one, which can be overwhelming, especially in the marketing department. Here is a comprehensive list of things your brand must have to hit the ground running for those just getting started.

Defined Audiences, Service Offerings & Transactional Processes

Before you begin anything marketing or branding-related, the audience, service offerings, and transaction processes must be clearly defined for your new business. This is true from an operational perspective and from a marketing one. This insight is crucial to creating a brand concept and creative collateral that attracts your target demographic, demonstrates expertise, and prompts them to ROI-producing action.

Brand Guidelines (Color Palette, Logo & Typography)

Establishing brand guidelines for a new business is important for several reasons, but primarily because these elements will be used over and over again in nearly every aspect of your business. From signage to websites and social media accounts, having branding materials that can visually speak for your business is key. Color palettes, font pairings and logo design can go a long way in attracting your desired audience and creating a connection with them.

Domain & Hosting Registrars

As far as the web is concerned, your domain name (and eventually, your website) serves as the digital representation of your business or brand. Immediately after incorporating your company, it is wise to reserve a domain name even if you don't use it right away. Doing this early will prevent anyone else from snatching the URL up before you. Providers like GoDaddy or Google Domains are typically the easiest, most cost-effective options. (District Maven registers our domain with GoDaddy for reference.)

You'll also need hosting for those interested in getting started on a website immediately. (This is technically considered a different thing than your domain registrar in the "Internet of things.”) For WordPress websites (which is all we develop in), we recommend using Flywheel as their customer service is top-notch, but their product is stellar.

Mapped Email Addresses

After reserving your domain name, you will be ready to set up your business email address. Sure, you can just create a generic "@gmail.com" account… but it will look super unprofessional to both humans and search engines. (It will also increase the likelihood that your messages end up in the recipients' spam folder instead of their inbox.)

We recommend setting up a "mapped" email address (i.e., one that has your company name at the end) for owners and one for general information inquiries. Google Workspace offers an excellent option for new business owners that won't break the bank (and is far less complicated than Office365). Plans start at $6 per user per month and offer many cloud-based collaboration tools any entrepreneur would find beneficial.

Social Media Handles

Like your domain name, reserving your social media handles is essential to do right away – especially if you're worried about getting the exact username you want. When setting up your Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media accounts, it is always wise to ensure each has the same username. (Even better if it is the same as your website URL!) This makes the brand more recognizable to a human audience. It makes it easier for the search engines to crawl as well.

Claim Your Google Business Profile

Let's not beat around the bush here – there may be other search engines out there, but Google is actually the only one that matters. As such, setting up and claiming your company's profile on their platform is something you definitely want to do before you start actively marketing. This gives you a voice to Google as far as your business details are concerned; it indexes on their vertical search engines. (Think YouTube and Google Maps.) This expands your company's overall reach while also reinforcing to Google that these entities are legit resources for your brand.

Data Analytics Tracking

Even the most stellar marketing campaigns mean nothing if you cannot track their results. Before you spin your wheels conceptualizing your next great promotion, make sure you have data tracking platforms enabled for your business. At a bare minimum, one should start with Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. (For those looking to get really advanced, call tracking adds more analytical information than either of the platforms mentioned above ever could on their own.)

No matter what marketing move you make first, the most important is the first one! Getting started can often be the most challenging for new business owners, but it doesn't have to be. The savvy, experienced experts at District Maven are here to provide assistance. Our marketing agency will help develop and create a strategic roadmap for your brand that gets your business started and propels it into the future.