Marketing is what makes or breaks a startup. Trust me, I’ve been there as well. For those who don’t know me, I’ve spent the majority of my career working in marketing and public relations. Over the years, I’ve garnered a huge list of marketing tips for entrepreneurs that I’d love to share so as to help them avoid mistakes which could cost the life of the startup.
Marketing is so incredibly important and forms a major funnel where brands spend their money. When it comes to running a business, marketing could result in a lot of voices that it can be easy to get caught up in the literature & really forget the aim of its practice.
With that in mind, in this post, I’ll be sharing my favorite & most effective marketing tips for startups that are relevant to any entrepreneur, regardless of what service or product you sell. So, let’s start with the list of best marketing tips for entrepreneurs and startups in 2019,
Table of Contents
1. Know What You Have to Offer
There is nothing worse than not being able to offer something to your clients. Sure, you might sell exercise equipment or accounting services, but what do you actually offer? Does it serve some VALUE with it? That’s what counts in the long run.
Knowing what you offer means knowing what kind of problem you solve for your client or customer. Broadly, every product or service solves a problem. Every single one of them.
A film or book, for example, solves the problems of boredom and curiosity, and further serves the end user with his/her form of entertainment. It fulfills our need for storytelling. Your smartphone solves the problems of connectivity and accessibility, among other things.
There are times where the “problem” you solve is more abstract, but it still exists. It’s your job to know it. If you don’t know it, you’ll never be able to sell it. Not on a long-term, or on a sustainable basis anyway.
2. Never Forget Your Brand
A brand is not just a buzzword that marketers use to sound fancy and professional — your brand is your business. Beyond giving you guidance when it comes to planning out a strategy or developing content, your brand serves to help you connect better with your consumer base.
A brand helps prepare customers for what to expect.
It gives your end users something beyond a singular product or service to make their bond with. It gives them something to be passionate about, something to relate to, something to grow with.
If Apple simply sold an iPhone, no brand behind it, customers wouldn’t be as dedicated to them as they are today — but Apple sells more than pieces of technology, they sell a lifestyle, a way of living. And it’s a lifestyle people want. They’re passionate about it, they grow with it and they’re willing to stick with less-appealing products (I’m looking at you Apple Watch) because they believe in the company, it’s vision and the product.
Likewise, anyone can offer legal services or marketing consultation services, but certain service providers manage to give them a little extra which helps you to build loyalty and trust among your target audience.
Your brand matters. If you want a stronger customer or client base, perhaps you need to start looking out towards your business as your brand.
3. Don’t be Boring
Being boring is very threatening to your company or product in today’s world of social media and higher expectations. It’s 2019, boring won’t get you anywhere on your roadmap. You need to add a pinch of excitement, somewhere in between.
Not being boring doesn’t mean you have to be edgy — being edgy doesn’t work with everyone’s brand (it might work off in some cases). And if it doesn’t fit, you shouldn’t be doing it.
What it does mean though is that you need to have a personality? Do you need to portrait as something worth it? Not fictional personality, not something you give just because — but real, honest, and appealing personality. Whatever fits with what you’re trying to put out there, will make your path through.
4. Make Decisions Easier
This marketing tip comes from a recent client conversation on a Sunday morning. I will often read over client emails, specifically in the area of sales, when they’re unsure that the message they’re trying to get across is clear and would fetch sales or not.
One of my clients was informing their clients that they were raising the price of their services and the email they had prepared and it ended with:
We are raising monthly fees from $X to $X because of [enter list of reasons here].
Let me know how we can proceed…
When it comes to sales, be direct, its always helpful. Make decisions for your clients. More accurately, make your client’s decisions easier.
When it comes to making changes, drop the comparisons. Saying “from $250 to $450” gives your clients a chance to scrutinize the price of your service or product, this is something I believe you don’t want to do. Scrutinization leads to longer decision-making, which helps no one in the long run.
This is all to say that when it comes to raising prices instead of using “from $250 to $450”, you may go with:
We are raising monthly fees to $450.
And when it comes to soliciting a yes or no response, provide a close-ended question. Instead of saying them “Let me know how we can proceed…”,you may go with:
Please confirm you would like to continue…
Make decisions easier to come to on your client’s behalf. This way, you can place yourself in a WIN-WIN situation.
5. Be Consistent in Your Endeavors
Consistency is the issue that I find most budding entrepreneurs have, and honestly, it takes a bit to actually establish it, if it would be easier, I’d not be putting it down on this post.
There are a lot of things I’m personally inconsistent with that I’m determined to get better at, almost every day. Consistency is something you can always be better at by creating checkpoints & scoring improvement metrics.
Consistency can come in many forms to you, things like being consistent in answering emails (something I’d prefer to be less-great at, something I want to pursue) or posting on your blog (the one people most often cite on), to provide a continuous expected level of service or even the language you use in your copy.
Lastly, When it comes to consistency, there is always room for improvement, just focus there. So above all, be consistent about growing your level of consistency.
6. Forget All About the Joneses
This is hard to achieve but is all worth it. Don’t be afraid to be bold, do something different and carve your own path. At the end of the day, it is your company, your product, your vision.
Most of the time I find that organizations and entrepreneurs do their marketing based on what they see everyone else is doing, not by deciding what’s best for their business, their audience and their vision.
I remember this one story from my earlier marketing days where the firm I was working for was so consumed by falling in line with all their competitors that they begged us to put on a similar event to one that another firm was putting on — it was an event idea that they had stolen from us the year before… which not so-ended up well.
We often do a marketing tactic because we see someone else do that same thing and it looks like it’s working, people are liking it, it’s gonna hit the trend Twitter’s trending list. We think, hey it works for them so why not us! and move forward with it without considering that if it will actually work for us or not.
Do your own marketing & do it well. Focus less on what everyone else is doing. Do your own thing.
7. Don’t Treat Marketing as an Afterthought
I believe people understand the importance of marketing in business but rarely do I find respective budgets that reflect it.
While an exceptional product or service is the pinnacle of your operations — because no one’s going to choose something inferior — you’ll never have clients if you don’t go out and find them. This is, obviously, where marketing comes in. Treat it as the heart of your brand.
Marketing doesn’t have to be overly gaudy or cost all of your pretty pennies — especially if you’re a start-up entrepreneur, but it does have to be an important component of your practice as it’ll be the one thing which could make or break your business.
Put some thought into planning your marketing strategy, really PLAN it and treat it like it matters. Because in the end, it does.
Marketing matters and doing it well can be the only difference between simply surviving and thriving. No one becomes a marketing genius overnight, but you can start today by focusing on that one thing which could make all the difference and grow your vision from there. Hope this post on best marketing tips for entrepreneurs was helpful!
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