At AdviCoach, we often hear from clients about how it had always been their dream to own their own business and call the shots – whether that meant opening a bakery, a yoga studio, a landscaping business, a consulting firm, or a retail store. And like most entrepreneurs, our clients’ goal is to escape the grind and make a living doing something they love.

However, many aspiring business owners let fear of failure hold them back. They’re afraid of doing something wrong and not being able to successfully manage their business, which is one very good reason to hire a business coach during the startup phase. No doubt, a startup requires passion, but also a leap of faith and business savvy to ultimately succeed.

One of the biggest challenges faced by new business owners is building brand awareness, getting the word out. Or, if the doors have been open for more than a year, attracting new customers and growing that business. In either scenario, there’s no point in having a business if nobody knows it exists. Poor marketing is akin to having a giant, flashy billboard in the middle of the desert and nobody to see it.

What drives sales in the door? Marketing. And if you’re a business owner who doesn’t have a marketing background, it can be overwhelming. You might not even have a clue as to where to start, but we have good news. There’s a lot a business coach can do to help you market your small business to build brand awareness locally and nationally.

Here are four steps to roll out your marketing efforts:

1. Research the Competition

In today’s online world, there’s inevitably going to be competition, even if it’s in a different time zone. In many industries, competition no longer has to be across the street or in your back yard. So, the first step to developing a marketing plan is to become fully aware of your competition and figure out how you’re going to fill a void that your competition isn’t filling.

What sets your company apart from its competitors? To become fully informed, we recommend staying on top of industry trends. To do this, read the leading industry newsletters and books. Subscribe to the relevant trade publications and stay current on the latest news. This allows you to stay ahead of the curve and identify problems and solutions for your customers. It also helps you stay on top of your competitors and what they’re doing to advertise to potential customers. 

2. Establish Your Online Presence

Once you have a clear grasp of your industry, it’s time to maximize your online presence. This is where your potential customers are going to find you. While there are a variety of marketing channels, your primary focus should be online. This means to start off with the best website you can afford. Once it’s up and running, we highly recommend adding a blog to your website that you post to one to four times a month. 

3. Be Active on Social Media

These days, a lot of businesses benefit by having an active presence on social media. Depending on your business, this could mean Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. Since each platform is different, your business may not be suitable for each one, though most businesses benefit by having a Facebook and Twitter account. If your business is on social media but you’re a ghost and don’t interact with your online community (your customers), your business runs the risk of appearing “behind the times.” 

4. Consider Paid Social Media

Social media is constantly evolving; if you want a blog or video to get in front of thousands of potential customers, you need to “boost” your posts, which means you’ll have to pay the social media sites directly to get them in front of a larger audience. Not only is it easy, but through platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, you can advertise directly to specific customers, based on information in their profiles.

If you can afford to boost your blogs and videos, it’s a great way to supplement your free social media posts, which are equally important for engaging with your audience. A small social media campaign that you work at a little every day can make all the difference.

Businesses large and small need to cultivate their marketing efforts in order to build a successful brand, and a business coach can assist in this endeavor. If you’re running a small business, a coach can help you develop a powerful marketing campaign, even if you’re just getting started. What we’re saying is you can turn to AdviCoach to acquire a keen awareness of your industry and cultivate your brand’s online identity.