When you seek to carve out a niche for your business, you’re going to have a wide range of successes and failures. However, there are some very important marketing lessons you can learn the easy way. The following are just a few of those lessons.
1. Don’t be a Buzzkill
Far too many businesses start out with the best of intentions. They get a great logo design, build an awesome website, and start yapping on all the best social media platforms. Next, they try to force gimmick into their marketing plan to generate a buzz.
One or two crazy stunts may get people to talking, but it won’t get them to use your service if you don’t offer consistency. So build a plan that doesn’t hinge on trying to shock people into noticing you once or twice.
2. Wear Many Hats
The more ways your company is unique, the more ways you can mention in your marketing materials that you aren’t like the other guys. There are few better sales techniques than to let people “discover” that not only do you offer x and z, but you have a very impressive z.
This creates up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. You’ll attract multiple demographics by appealing to multiple interests.
3. Teach New Tricks
There is nothing worse than an old company that’s set in its ways and clearly made most of its decisions 50 years ago… unless it’s a company that started last year and just acts like it made its decisions 50 years ago. When you think of something new, try it out. If it works, make a big deal about how you’re getting better all the time.
Never let an innovation or a brilliant moment go unrecorded and unmentioned. Press releases are your friend, particularly when your innovation may change the entire industry in a subtle but powerful way. Don’t chain yourself in complacency.
4. Always Be Marketing
Okay, so you’re not quite Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, but you should still market your business with the same snappy attitude. The most important time to market your business is all the time.
Until your business closes for good, you need to be selling the message 24/7 to anyone who might be a good customer or know a good customer. Other than at family reunions and when you’re at home, you need to market your business like a person possessed.
5. Let the Money do the Talking
The old saying is that the best customers you have are your existing ones. But beyond being great for coming back again and again, when you treat your customers right they tend to inform others of how awesome you are. This is one of the cornerstones of marketing, and ignoring it tends to cause epic failures.
Provide your customers with a valuable forum for providing feedback. Let them know you care. The lesson is, treat your customers like they’re the most important people on earth and they will bring others.
6. Don’t be That Guy
Ultimately, you don’t want to be that guy. You know, the guy who drags himself and the whole company to hell in a briefcase. Jonathon Abrams is that guy, or at least one of them. According to Business.com, in 2002 Abrams launched the first major social media platform: Friendster.
What should have a revolutionary user experience quickly became nothing more than a website. Abrams failed to listen to the advice of his investors and gave up the opportunity to sell to Google. Just a year after Google’s interest, Friendster failed and Abrams was removed as CEO.
When you have a new business, it’s easy to fall into marketing traps or forget to market enough. But when you market properly and consistently, you can turn your startup into a world-class company.
Looking for more advice? See what Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of Virgin Group has to say about starting your own business, even during a recession:
Joseph Stark Jr. is a freelance writer by day, focusing on technology and web design. By night he is a tech junkie, gym member, and loves improving his skills in logo design. He currently resides in Santiago, Chile flexing his entrepreneurial muscles.
Image Credit: CC by Jason Lander