10 Lessons in Startup Marketing




So you started a business and you’ve got a product, but don’t know how to go about marketing it to your community? Let us help.


1. Marketing is about making people want you before they need you. The truth is, less than 1% of the population is in the market for what you probably sell right now. With the exception of paid search, reaching people who want what you sell right now is like playing the lottery. You’re just trying to get lucky. The right way to go about marketing is to start influencing people’s decisions long before they need to make them.

2. The best way to tell a great story is to be a great story. Creating a bar that revolves around being  a dog park is a more effective way to make people believe you’re a fun and dog-loving bar than merely telling people you allow dogs. Actions will always speak louder than words. When you make this actionable, you’ll appreciate just how much marketing influence you actually posses.

3. You’re probably talking people out of doing business with you. The main goal of any marketing endeavor is to get new customers through the proverbial door. But we can assume everyone, including already existing customers, that calls you, emails you or walks in your door is looking for a reason to do business with you. Keep old customers in mind when developing marketing strategies by generating incentive for them to return such as rewards programs while also looking ahead. Also, ask yourself the following questions: What is your closing rate? How can you improve it? This opportunity is neglected far too often.

4. Win the heart and the mind will follow. Decisions aren’t made in the left brain. With every decision you take, every judgement you make, there is a battle between intuition, logic, and emotional response.According to Simon Sinek, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. You have to establish an emotional connection. Today, it’s all about Engagement Marketing. When people are shopping, who do they shop for? Themselves. Not for you, not for me. So you need to become their friend, and as a friend, you look out for their best interest. That  in and of itself is the basis of winning over the heart of a customer.

5. Get customer input. The endgame of any business endeavor is to to generate a profit and the only way to do this is to be a company that people want to give their hard earned cash to. So, what better way to become that company that to keep your ear to the ground and listen to what people are saying when they talk about your business? Granted, it won’t always be positive, and it might make you upset, but you should treat criticism as an opportunity for growth and fine tuning.

6. Don’t stop marketing once you’ve reach your sales goals. After someone makes a decision (either to buy from you or not) your agenda with them, technically, is stripped. What you do in these moments speaks significantly louder to people than what you do while trying to get a piece of their wallet. How about going above and beyond after the fact and creating an experience they can’t help but tell people about? “Hey, you’ll never believe what happened when __________.” This is easily accomplished through generating incentive through rewards programs, discounts, great customer service, and going above and beyond expectations.

7. Blog Blog Blog! It’s one of the easiest ways to be seen as an expert in your field and lets people know that there are real people behind your business who care about them, making it easier for people to relate and reciprocate. Creating your own content, no matter the medium allows you to control the conversation and free up new marketing channels.

8. Help people without asking for anything in return. This goes along with tip number 6. Going above and beyond and being altruistic is a quality that can never be overrated. Most people need to see you as a resource – someone who has something valuable to them before they choose to buy anything. You need to be the one who starts the conversation.

9. Fine tune where you need to be present. There are more types of marketing media out there than ever before and the field is only going to get more and more crowded. Jay Walker-Smith, President of advertising firm, Yankelovich, says, “we’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day,” today. Just because a marketing tool or opportunity exists doesn’t mean you need it. It’s better to have one quality marketing campaign that to have 30 average ones. Do research on your target market and fine tune your efforts and opportunities to reach those people instead of wasting resources trying to be everywhere at once.

10. If you’re taking shortcuts, you’re bound to fail. Becoming successful only comes with hard work unless you’re born with a golden spoon in your mouth. There are no shortcuts in marketing. The less effort you put into your outreach, the less likely it is to be innovative, the more likely it will come across as artificial, and the more likely it is to be ignored. Creating things that gain and hold attention is difficult. That’s why it requires so much work to get right.