Since launching our free business consultation service in January 2013, we have assisted a significant number of entrepreneurs in Africa, Asia, Australia and the U.S. Not only has it been a pleasure for my whole team and I, but also an eye opener.
Does this sound familiar?
A person comes up with a business idea, makes flyers and begins posting ads in buy and sell Facebook groups. This is pretty much the path that most entrepreneurs take. Sadly, this is a lot like blindly throwing a spear into a river and hoping to strike a fish. There are much more efficient and productive ways to do this.
More than 80% of the business people we have assisted since 2013 used their personal Facebook profiles and non-professional looking free email addresses (like firstname.lastname@example.org) to promote their businesses until we had a chat with them.
Importance of a business page and a professional email address
Before you advertise your business, make sure you have a logo, a slogan and a professional way in which people can contact you. As much as possible, avoid using free email services like yahoo, mail, lycos and the like. To your target market, if you cannot invest in a professional domain and email address (some as cheap as $1), then you may be a little risky to deal with. To put it into perspective, would you buy an insurance plan from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?
After you have addressed the above, to get people to visit your business page you will have to reach out and connect with them. You do this by establishing rapport with them – answering questions in discussions then mentioning your business at the bottom of your post. Write about the problems your business solves and if you can, cite examples and reviews.
One of the worst mistakes many businesses make is to start bombarding groups and threads with 'for sale' ads.
People see so many of these that they ignore them by default without giving it any thought. It's a lot like spam. How often do you pay attention to every spam email you get?
Choosing to engage with your audience conveys a sense of expertise in what your business specializes in. It also portrays confidence in your business and confidence captures interest. Interest can then be converted into a sale or a hot lead.
This doesn’t mean they will buy immediately; they may need some further convincing. Others may just need a bit of time, however the fact that you now have an established relationship means they are very likely to buy from your business or refer people they know when the need arises. These are your potential customers or warm leads. You have to work on increasing this number on a daily basis.
Remember to nurture your list of potential customers by occasionally doing something to remind them of your existence and what you provide. Run a promotion if possible. All this helps in keeping you on their mind, which is where you want to be as often as possible.
Another reason why looking professional is important is because people want to be associated with professional looking products and brands. If you run a shady looking business, it is hard to get referrals as people won’t be keen to publicly mention that they got some goods from your business.
A business page on Zimbuddy is free, and you can make one now. Remember to design it in a manner that makes you and your brand look professional.
Why Use a Professional Email Address
Professional looking email addresses are a must these days. They make you look legitimate, established and serious. However, if this is not an expense you feel you want to take on, we suggest you get a free email with your business name, i.e. email@example.com