Before we start, have you done the following?
- Articulated your vision: why does your company exist?
- Nailed your offering – what does your product or service do? Who are you taking to? Why should they care? Why should they buy it?
- Researched the competition: what makes you different, better, special?
- Named your company: including trademark and ownership checks?
Here’s what to do next:
1. Chose a web domain
Start here https://uk.godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search to check availability. 99 times out of 100, the perfect domain you wanted has already gone. Assuming you don’t want to spend megabucks buying it, it’s time to get creative.
- Suffixes and prefixes
Adding a word at the start of the end is a good way around this problem, for example ‘world’ for suffixes and ‘hello’ or ‘get’ for prefixes.
- Dot com or co uk?
If you’re selling into the US make sure you have a .com address. If you’re selling in the UK a co.uk address is fine. Ideally buy both.
- Short & sweet
Try to keep your URL to around 15 characters or less. No hyphens, no underscores, no punctuation, no complicated words.
A keyword in your domain will also help your SEO (I know we broke that rule!)
- Think about what you really need
You probably don’t need to buy all the domain names (e.g. .com. .co.uk. .eu. io). It depends on your attitude to risk and how much you want to protect what you’re doing.
2. Create an identity
A good logo should encompass an idea that conveys your product/ service. It has to be executed brilliantly, simply and beautifully. Look at your logo in positive and negative form and also in situ as this really helps it bring it to life. Make sure the logo will work well in landscape and portrait spaces. Make sure you have a suite of logos including RGB versions for digital use, CMYK for print, an EPS version so it can be scaled to any size, PNG versions and the logo reversed out on a transparent background.
- Identity is more than a logo
Logos are very important, but your identity is a combination of colour, typeface and an overall look and feel. For example, do you use illustrations or photos? Every element makes the brand.
When you’ve got your logo, brand fonts and colours agreed, create a one page set of guidelines covering the basics to ensure brand consistency from day one. Make sure the RGB breakdowns are in the guidelines.
- Tone of voice
You know how your brand looks but how does it speak? You don’t need Vision/ Mission statements etc. on day one (unless you already have them honed to perfection?) but you do need some copy to set the tone:
- A short, unique headline
- About 100-300 words covering who you are, what you do, what makes you different/better/ special. This copy can then be repurposed across all the early launch touchpoints: social, website, press releases etc.
3. Build your website
- Holding page
As soon as possible, get a holding/ landing page up. Just one page is fine to help you start ranking in search engines. It’s also an opportunity to capture email address of visitors. The holding page ensures that people can check you out in the early stages and you can start to build credibility.
- Design/ communication tips
- Keep it simple and direct
- Give a preview – however brief – of what’s coming
- Grab attention with the design (try thinking of it as a giant billboard)
- Make sure you’re 100% happy with your logo, typeface and colour scheme – this is their first exposure to the world.
- Tips before you go live
- Sign up for Google MyBusiness and Bing Places for Business
- Design a favicon (the icon in the browser for your website)
- Add Google Analytics (GA) to your website
- Remember – developers tend to block Google from staging sites. Make sure these have been removed on your live site.
4. Get social
From day one you’ll need a social media presence. But only set up on the social media where your customers can be found. You’ll also need profile descriptions for each platform (use the copy you’ve already written as the starting point). Start following others and posting content.
Make sure you optimise your images and text length for each platform. For example, here are the main image sizes for LinkedIn (great for B2B connections):
- Logo image: 300 (w) x 300 (h) pixels.
- Cover image: 1536 (w) x 768 (h) pixels.
- Company photos: 900 (w) c 600 (h) pixels.
5. Set up email
Sign up to Mailchimp and create an auto-responder so people get an email back when they subscribe to your list.
6. Create a brochure and a pitch deck
Two things you need to start telling your story:
This doesn’t need to be ‘War and Peace’. First impressions count. Tell a story to make that emotional connection with your audience with a clear call to action. What should they do next? Call? Email?
- Pitch deck
Limit each slide to one idea/message. Create a ‘Do or die’ slide nailing your pitch that you can skip to if your meeting gets cut short to 10 minutes or the CEO walks in.
7. Pull together a media pack
- Write press releases and team bios.
- Put together photos, media assets and content for press/ influencers.
8. Other things you’ll need to look professional:
- Business cards
- Word/ Docs template
- PowerPoint/ Slides template
- Email signature
9. Build your arsenal
- Start keeping copy snippets: beautifully crafted sentences and paragraphs you can use time and again. Keep refining them.
- Start keeping a list of FAQs
- Write killer email templates that help sell
- Start testing Google Adwords
10. Talk to Epik
At Epik we’re experts in building brands and getting new ventures off the ground. For more advice or hands-on help, call us on +44 207 459 4433.