Creative Director at Houston based web marketing company, inPhocus Media. Author of the book Freelance Jumpstart. University of Houston MBA. Everything business and web related from freelancing to free enterprise. Learn more at http://nathanallotey.com
1) Take advantage of free advertising through social media
Since you are working with food, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram would be best to work with. You should share health tips and have amazing food photography.
Please note: if you are using a certain social media platform you have to stay active. Nothing is worse than a dormant social media account.
2) Setup a mailing list
Since you mentioned you have zero marketing budget you can setup an account with MailChimp.com. The key here is 2 things.
- Stay in touch with your audience on a regular basis
- Every email cannot be common; it must provide value of some sort.
- Create a landing page on your website that speaks about the benefits of joining the mailing list. Make it seem like people are missing out on premium FREE information that will change their life, and did I say the mailing list is FREE.
- Your website should have some sort of lead magnet, meaning an incentive you give away for someone joining the free mailing list. Perhaps you give them a free trial in exchange for their email address.
Please note: the free mailing list is only a taste of what people would get of the paid subscription service.
3) Similar to the mailing list you should most definitely have a blog that is open and free to the public where you share health and food tips, stories of people changed by healthy snacks and more. Having a blog where you publish content on the regular will help with SEO.
4) Use a service like buzzsumo.com or seorush.com. At the least you can use their trail services to find out where foodies, and healthy eaters hang out online. If you can become a part of the conversion you’ll be able to tell them about your service after you build trust with them.
On a small scale your ability to sell the value of your idea ultimately must be validated by someone’s willingness to pay you. That is the first thing to work on, does your idea cause people to pull out their wallets and pay for the product?
But what if the product/service doesn't exist yet?
When you are going through the process of validating if an idea works you must create some type of prototype. This does not need to be the finished product or even something that is tangible. For example you can act as if the service/product already exist and create a website around it. On the website you can inform people to submit their email to be notified about the product/service.
Many email subscribers is an indicator that there is interest and you are building an audience to market to in the future.
Also asks yourself these questions:
What problem does this idea solve?
Who is my ideal customer?
Who are my competitors?
Is my idea scalable?
What are the benefits of the idea? (How does this make people better?)
What are the features of the product/service?
Everyone you mentioned is in the medical or personal healthcare profession. The first step is to try and setup a meeting with each type of client you would like. In this case that would mean meeting with a dentist, counselor, chiropractor, massage therapist. See if you can meet with them for at least 20 minutes or so. Ask them their onboarding process for new patients, difficulties in their business, how they market to get customers and anything you can think of study them. You mentioned you have existing client, interview them and get testimonials on how you solved their business problem. Once you fully understand the needs to each business market your service as a solution to those specific needs and use the wording you learned from your interviews.
Think about it, your client is really your client’s client even speaking with potential patients and asking them what their likes and dislikes are about going to a dentist, counselor, chiropractor, or massage therapist can help in marketing to healthcare professionals. Personal contact definitely works when it comes to marketing, send a personal letter to the healthcare professional introduce yourself, follow up with a phone call and point them to your website. If you performed your interviews well and tailored a landing page to that market.
I have worked with a client with a similar issue. Their competitor was bidding on the brand name of my client. You will have to donate some Adwords spent and create “branded campaign” where you focus on bidding on your client’s business name. Your client should have a high quality score for their brand keywords since their website should but an authority on the brand name.
As far as stopping a competitor from bidding on the name the most you can do is send a cease and desist letter and I would only recommend this if the brand name has a registered trademark.
You mentioned that you wanted to launch a new website and content. With the new year coming many will want to launch “new” items and websites as well. If you are not already I would recommend building as much anticipation as you can prior to launching your website. If you were to launch the website in the beginning of February then you can use Nov, Dec, Jan informing people about the website, building a mailing list and priming your target audience for the arrival of your new website and content.