10 Tips for Better Startup Marketing
Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated columnist and TV host, and the founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council. He is also an active angel investor and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs foolishly believe that all they need to do is sign up for a Twitter account, blog about special offers, and hand out a flashy looking brochure, whereupon leads will come pouring in. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
These are unfortunate social media fantasies and free marketing delusions. The mere existence of a market for your product or service does not guarantee anyone will listen to or care about your brand. People are bombarded with thousands of messages every day, which makes it difficult for business owners to garner attention and convert that attention into income.
In order for your business to avoid getting lost among the glut of content already clogging direct marketing channels, your promotions and tactics must be highly creative, contain a quality message and fit the audience you are targeting.
I asked a panel of successful young entrepreneurs about the types of promotions they have used to build their companies’ buzz and sales.
1. Partner with Others in Your Space
At Blank Label, since we make custom dress shirts, we’ve done promotions with other custom product makers, everything from chocolate bars to jewelry, mattresses and even women’s shoes. We create promotional campaigns to spread the word about the industry and shed some light on cool companies in the space.
2. What (Else) Does Your Customer Need?
With Career Coaching for Word Nerds, I provide one-on-one coaching to freelance writers and other publishing professionals. But I knew that my clients would also love the chance to connect with experts within the industry, so I organized a speed networking event that attracted 75 people. Now I host monthly virtual events and have plans for additional in-person events.
3. Take Advantage of Currently Trending Topics
One of the best ways to build buzz for your business is to ride the coattails of a currently trending “hot topic.” For example, when GAP unveiled a logo designed by Laird & Partners to much criticism on the web, 99designs took advantage of the opportunity with a crowdsourcing competition [to show] that our community can deliver a much better design.
4. The Power of Video
People tend to forget the power of video. I have learned that when talking pound-for-pound on engagement rates, YouTube stars have it on lockdown. Sevenly.org launched with a video drip campaign of 10 YouTube stars (100,000+ subscribers each) and it ended up generating a staggering 40,000 unique visitors in less than 30 days. When you need power, turn to video.
5. Start Your Own “Top 10” List
At GiftCardRescue.com, we realized we had unique information about which gift cards are most popular among our customers. We therefore started an annual “Top 20 Gift Cards” list. Last year’s list was picked up by numerous news outlets and blogs, including Mashable. Walmart, which was number-one on the list, issued a press release bragging about it, which only legitimized the list even more.
The marketing team at HootSuite is good at creating online buzz. Our crowdsourced international translation project has done an amazing job creating awareness. We try to work with our users as much as possible, and this was a great way for us to reach out to our global fans and engage them online.
7. Contests and Competitions
Use social media (especially Twitter) to hold a contest for your business. Ask trivia questions, play hangman or offer a phrase to unscramble. The winner gets a prize or discount off your services. This way, you have hundreds of people talking about your brand publicly, but you only need to reward one winner. Holding a contest weekly and/or monthly is a great way to build consistent buzz and conversation.
8. Personalized Outreach
Find influencers in your market and reach out to them individually. Make your initial contact with them creative and jaw-dropping. For example, instead of an email, sit down and record a video addressing them directly. It speaks volumes when you show that you took the time to personalize all of your messages.
9. Take it Offline
You’d be surprised what things you can do offline to create online buzz, such as sending simple but creative thank you cards or gifts to your current clients that get them talking about you online and shouting your praise. Or, send your product to clients or brands you want to get in front of, but add a twist. For example, if you sell kitchen goods, send along a bread maker with a fresh hot loaf in it!
10. Be Your Own Advertising
Think about how much you drive during the week and how many people see your vehicle while out and about or at a stop light. Put something on your car that others can see, and makes them take a second look. Even if it’s just your web address, people will immediately have it in their mind.
Image courtesy of http://assets.portfolio.com
- 10 Tips for Better Startup Marketing (mashable.com)
- 10 marketing tips for startups (holykaw.alltop.com)
- 8 Ways To Recruit Startup Talent Using Social Media (blogoholic.in)
- Is Sevenly the Next TOMS Shoes? (mashable.com)
- HootSuite Announces Japan Representation plus Keitai app, Mixi Integration and Language Localization (prweb.com)
- What Is Marketing in a Startup? (scalableintimacy.com)