Planning your business

How to gain awareness for a new business

The doors are officially open. You’re ready for your first customer, and your first sale, but how do you grow awareness for your business? Our tips help you make sure people know you’re in business.

Reading time: 3 minutes

In this article

Look for opportunities at your launch

The most exciting part of starting a business is the actual launch. You’re telling the world that you’re now open for business – and as you usually only have one launch, it’s important to take advantage of the possible free press, or coverage you might get, to show what your business has to offer at your grand opening.

Encourage referrals and word-of-mouth

Getting a customer to refer your business to others is your easiest and cheapest way to acquire new sales leads, gain new customers, and grow sales. 

The more customer referrals, the better – so make sure you capitalise on the momentum that comes from opening your doors for the first time. People will often talk about a new business that’s started up, so this is your chance to build word-of-mouth from day one.

Customer referrals are effective because:

  • Satisfied customers become your marketing agents – people tend to trust friends and business colleagues to direct them to suppliers that offer great value
  • A referral costs very little compared with the expense of advertising for new customers
  • Prospects are already half-sold – a recommendation from an existing customer carries more weight than any claims you might make in your advertising. 

Campaigns and activations may be the ‘flashy’ side of marketing your business, but don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth.

Be active 

Customer referrals won’t necessarily happen automatically, so it’s important to actively encourage the process. You don’t have to go all-out with an expensive event – you can get people talking with these simple, cost-effective steps:

  • Give customers flyers or business cards to pass on to friends or colleagues.
  • Include a ‘send to a friend’ button or message on your emails, newsletters, and on your website.
  • Develop some incentives (such as discounts) that will encourage referrals. 
  • Train staff to actively ask customers for referrals and new leads.

At every touchpoint, ask ‘how did you find out about us’ so that you can track referrals and invest in the channels or methods that are performing best for you. Set a budget for implementing referral tactics and stick to this carefully so that you’re getting the most out of your investment.

Create a marketing plan 

Develop a marketing plan to identify, locate, and sell to your customer groups. For each campaign, it’s important to:

  • Allocate a budget and calculate what sales you need to recover the cost of the campaign and make a profit
  • Match effective advertising tactics to each customer target
  • Roll out the campaign and measure the results, adjusting as you go based on what works and what doesn’t. 

It’s a good idea to start with a relatively small sample and see what works before rolling out a wider campaign. The mantra of ‘fail fast, fail often’ can help you identify what gets results (and what doesn’t) before committing to an approach – especially if you could be spending serious money.

Plan your approach

If you sell to other businesses, start investigating how you can get ‘in the door’ to pitch your product or service. Learn as much as possible about your target’s structure, organisational chart, and its focus and plans – then plan your approach accordingly.

For example, you may decide to: 

  • Search the organisation’s website for relevant contact information
  • Contact your business association or ask a colleague for leads
  • Call the organisation directly to identify the decision maker.

Starting a business

There is a lot to think about when starting a business, this video runs you through some of the things you can start checking off to get yourself open for business.

Contact an ANZ Business Specialist

Our specialists understand your kind of business and the challenges you face as a business owner. We can help you figure out how to make your business grow and succeed.

Popular planning your business articles

Important information

We’ve provided this material as a complimentary service. It is prepared based on information and sources ANZ believes to be reliable. ANZ cannot warrant its accuracy, completeness or suitability for your intended use. The content is information only, is subject to change, and isn’t a substitute for commercial judgement or professional advice, which you should seek before relying on it. To the extent the law allows, ANZ doesn’t accept any responsibility or liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage arising from any act or omissions by any person relying on this material.

Please talk to us if you need financial advice about a product or service. See our financial advice provider disclosure at

Was this content helpful?