By Richard Hartung
10 January, 2014
After registering your business and deciding where to work, it’s time to let potential clients know you’re in business. While traditional marketing may have been the key in the past, networking and e-marketing can be far more cost-effective.
Networking over Coffee
Even before starting on the electronic side, one of the most powerful tools is simply informal in-person networking with key contacts and potential clients. Informal discussions over coffee or lunch with contacts from your previous company or your social network can be a great way to begin and if you’re entering a new industry you can talk with contacts in that field. One tactic is always to get two more names to contact whenever you meet someone, so that you can keep extending your network.
Creating a Website
Along with the personal contacts, online and social media marketing are tremendously benecial. Mundane as it may sound, setting up a website is essential since potential clients will often use a website to obtain more information and make sure your company exists. Whether you set up a simple site using tools from hosting companies like GoDaddy or engage a professional website developer to create a site that shows off your company, a content management system (CMS) is an essential tool for pushing out your message on the website was well as through other channels.
Social Media Marketing
Understanding and effectively using search engine optimization (SEO) will help make sure your website stands out when people look for your service. Along with the website, social media offers wide reach at low cost. While Facebook may seem ubiquitous and Singaporeans spend more time on Facebook than any other nationality, many service professionals see LinkedIn as their top social media tool to reach their clients. The first steps to using LinkedIn are to set up your account with complete information about yourself, amass at least several hundred followers and then get the word out by posting regular updates about your company for free or use marketing tools such as “sponsored updates.” LinkedIn itself has online training available, and a variety of online course as well as independent professionals can provide even more ideas. Along with LinkedIn, you can use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and other social media to reach your target audience. Leveraging Facebook to provide product updates, encourage customer comments, share videos or photos and hold contests, for example, can promote your company well. Which media you choose to use the most depends in part on your target audience. Once you select the right one, you can use your CMS to push your message to the website, Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Joining Business Organizations
Beyond social media, a multitude of other channels enable low-cost marketing. Specialized industry associations, from the Internet Industry Association (IIAS) and the Singapore Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (SVCA) to the Restaurant Association and the Urban Land Institute can be forums for developing contacts, speaking at events or writing for their publications to increase visibility. A multitude of other business and community organizations also o er opportunities for networking and information as well as forums to market your company. AmCham, AustCham, BritCham and other nationality-based chambers of commerce o er information, networking and company listings in their publications or website. For women, organizations like PrimeTime and the Financial Women’s Association provide great networking. University alumni associations as well as umbrella group DUAL can provide links to fellow alums, and linking up with sports, community service or other groups can serendipitously lead to valuable connections. e cost of joining these organizations, ranging from tens to hundreds of dollars, can be well worth the investment.
With the multitude of free or low-cost channels available, your company can soon be highly visible to your target audience and to the broader market as well. e series is intended to be interactive, so please send comments, questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share your ideas or provide more information.
Richard Hartung is a consultant on cards and payments strategy with over 20 years of experience in nancial services, primarily in Asia. He also works as a freelance writer for Today, gtnews and other publications.