One of the toughest challenges an entrepreneur faces is marketing. You can have a great idea and you can have a great product; but if you can’t effectively market your idea, you’ll never be as successful as you were meant to be. With so many other competing entrepreneurs and ideas, marketing can be a tough nut to crack. We asked some successful business owners and entrepreneurs for their tips on marketing, and how their strategies led them to success. Here’s what they had to say:
#1- Answer to your startup marketing article
My #1 marketing tip is to stop trying to constantly find easy shortcuts that will somehow create massive gains, with minimal effort. In 15 years of founding, scaling, and selling startups the only thing that has worked consistently for me is to focus on creating high quality content, working hard to spread and share that content, and then driving those people into a carefully built and well thought out conversion funnel. All of that takes time, a ton of effort, and continual improvement through testing. I've tried to find shortcuts. I've tried to find clever hacks that would allow me to skip the hard work and see results regardless. While I've been able to automate more and more of my marketing workflows over the years, that's only because I've built out small teams of freelancers that I've personally spent countless hours training. You will only get great results when you put in a great amount of effort and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.
Thanks to Seth Kravitz, PHLEARN!
#2- Create a dedicated landing page
My best marketing tip is to create a dedicated landing page to increase your email subscriber list. Offer subscribers a free gift for signing up. Maybe a free lead in a masterclass, tutorial or best practices guide. Use this as the reward for signing up at your easy to remember landing page. This type of marketing tool works great for your closing message during radio, podcasts or TV appearances where your mission is to impress the listener enough to want more!
Thanks to Shaunda Necole
Large and even small marketing firms can sometimes leave you ranked at the bottom of their very large client list and ultimately not give you the time you need to ensure your following is active and growing. I suggest hiring freelancers to make regular post on your social media accounts and maintain engagement. They're not as costly and can devote the valuable time to keeping consistent and current content on your platforms.
Thanks to Kevin J. Moore, Kevin J. Moore & Associates!
#4- Add storytelling to your brand strategy
Each story is unique and therefore it's the perfect place to start when we reveal the passion and purpose of your company. After crafting the story of your brand, it's important to define the brand message: the way for your brand to be memorable in 1 single sentence. And what good is a message without a plan to deliver it to the people? Your brand strategy is the key element in your business plan. It identifies your core values, financial goals, and the 4 essential brand pillars below: 1. Passion – What’s the emotional connection your brand provides? 2. Purpose – What is the big WHY? 3. Position – What makes your company different than your competitors? 4. Performance – How does your brand help others?Your brand strategy is the road map for creating an inspiring and profitable business.The brand strategy will drive the creation of all your assets including: logo, website, business cards, presentations, videos, posts, speeches, etc. You’ll know exactly where you’re going and have a clear map to get there in a unique way!
Thanks to Flavia Lemos, Group Rio Media!
#5- Optimize your site for search engine visibility
You’ve spent the time and money investing in creating an amazing website, but if your site isn't visible in the search engine results pages for key terms your customers are searching – they won’t be able to find you.. SEO is the marketing practice of optimizing your website for search engines, like Google, to increase search engine result visibility and drive relevant traffic and potential customers to your site. Focus on optimizing 3 factors to increase the possibility of ranking higher: Technical SEO, On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
Thanks to Scott Crumrine, Guava Family, Inc.!
#6- Leverage voice search facts
Specifically, I recommend brands large and small leverage voice search facts to build brand and generate revenue. I've written and spoken about the topic of voice search for over a year now. According to ComScore, 40 percent of adults use voice search once per day. Twenty percent of searches are currently voice-related, which means they are likely to trigger a position 0 result (particularly on devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa). Owing position 0 means you've doubled your real estate in select organic searches. Not only that, but on voice-enabled devices like Google Home, position 0 is the ONLY answer/result. That means you are more likely to get a new customer now or in the future, if you can own position 0. We are taking a few steps to increase the odds Anvil and our clients rank for voice search and position 0. The first step is analyzing which searches are triggering position 0 results, or are likely to in the near future. The second step is analyzing the current website to identify existing content and pages that are most likely to rank for position 0, then rebuilding and reoptimizing those pages to meet Google's guidelines, including an inverted page structure, 65 character paragraphs that answer the questions at the top of the page and provide supporting information lower in the page. We then monitor and tweak until the position 0 ranking goal is achieved. It's a slow and steady process, but we've seen success with a few clients thus far.
Thanks to Kent Lewis, Anvil!
#7- One thing at a time
My best productivity hack for marketers: Do one thing at a time. Even though all marketers have a million balls in the air, there are high switching costs to going back and forth. Once I start something, I try to finish before I move on. – Consistency matters. You don’t get to be a successful brand without a constant drumbeat that says who you are, why you matter, and what you’ll do next.
Thanks to Tim Chaves, ZipBooks!
#8- Always think like a customer
I always tell our team when they are creating new campaigns or updating existing campaigns is think like the customer. Ask yourself, is the process you're putting someone through based on value? Will they feel important through the entire cycle? Will they remember how easy it was to work with you? Thinking like a customer may seem easy, but if it was, there wouldn't be so many failing products and services. The ones that win are the ones that consistently think like a customer.
Thanks to Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors!
#9-Pay attention to the numbers!
When you implement your marketing strategy it's extremely important to pay attention to the numbers. Be sure to have tracking pixels and conversion tracking in place and start looking at the results of your campaign daily and make adjustments to your approach as needed. This may be changing the age of your target audience, setting a frequency limit on ads, changing an image that isn't working, or shifting your money from one strategy to another if it's just not working. Over time you will really be able to hone in on your exact demographic and the best method to reach those people.
Thanks to Tracy Iseminger, Crimson Vine Marketing!
#10- Use bucket brigades..
Getting traffic for a new site and competing with establishing incumbents can be daunting, however with Google's new tweak to their algorithm highly targeted new sites with quality copy can get a leg up on the established high authority players. This is because Google is rewarding and ranking sites higher that have a higher time spent on page metric. So if your average time spent on site is 3 or 4 minutes versus your competitors that may have less than 1 minute, Google will reward your page by pushing you higher up in the search engine results page. The way new site owners can accomplish this is with highly targeted landing pages with engaging copy broken up with what are known as Bucket Brigades. With the bucket brigade tactic, you can keep your visitors on page longer bye breaking up the copy every two or three sentences or subhead phrases such as these; Here's the deal, Why does this matter, What's the catch, How can this help you. The best part That will captivate your readers' attention and psychologically drive them down the page reading more of your copy and keeping them on your site longer. This will increase your chances of conversion while pushing you up higher in the search engine results page, it's a win-win.
Thanks to Zach Hendrix, GreenPal!
#11- Find a plan that works for you
Marketing is an ever-changing entity in the business world today. There is no one size fits all. The key is to create a marketing strategy that works for your particular business. Once you find a plan that is working, the most important factor is being consistent with it. Showing up every day and working your plan is what will help you grow your business. I use a combination of Social Media and email marketing. At the start of each week, I write out my plan for what I will post and email about and then create some interesting graphics to help make my products stand out. Using a bit of creativity to help you stand out from competitors is important but I cant stress enough how important it is to be consistent in your marketing to engage your audience and target market.
Thanks to Gina Fagnani, Fabulous Creations!
#12- Be authentic
Too many business owners presume marketing is about gimmicks and trickery to gain attention and raise profile. I want to go viral, is something we hear surprisingly often. What business owners should really demand is effective communications. Marketing that brings in qualified leads that fit well with the profile of user or customer, or investor if they are in fundraising mode. That means a brand should focus on being itself and avoid trying to imitate some other company perceived to have found the silver bullet. If a business has the triple play of a market-product fit, a unique selling proposition and a keen understanding of its customers, then the narrative of the marketing campaign writes itself. The trickery is in learning to focus on the real, authentic identity of the company — and telling that story.
Thanks to Saul Hudson, Angle42!
#13- Well thought out business card
You really only have a few seconds to make a great first impression. Take that opportunity to stand out! A sharp and well thought out business card can go a long way. Done right… these can become your most valuable marketing tool. Nice cards can help you establish a better perception of value and they give you the opportunity to stand out from the rest of the card deck. I like extremely heavy, unique, double-sided, full-color cards that feel and look as though a large chunk of my marketing budget was spent on them. You can add a picture, a testimonial or even a fun-fact related to your business but be careful not to clutter it up. Great cards have always been a solid investment for me because they usually get a comment or two from the person I'm handing them to. This is my opportunity to really engage… which gives me and the brand a chance to shine.
Thanks to David Robertson, GrassFire Industries LLC!
#14- Three tips
1) Focus on what you do better than anyone. Too many startups try to model their marketing and PR after competitors. It's good to understand what your competition is doing, but copying them makes you look like you're chasing them. What are the services and characteristics of your company that help you close sales? Focus on those things. 2) Don't just sell — educate. This is especially true for B2B companies. Your customers know what they're looking for. It's up to you to convince them why you're the best solution. You won't do that through special promotions and hard-sell techniques in your marketing. Instead, focus on educating your customer and supplying them with tools and information they need. This will build trust and credibility with your audience and create a relationship that goes beyond a one-off transaction. 3) Prepare content for every step of the customer journey: awareness, discovery, purchase, and post-sale bonding. Content marketing is a crucial element of your overall marketing strategy. Every blog, white paper, social media post, guest article, and webinar should be mapped to a particular point in the buying process. If you find that your marketing efforts are generating a lot of top-of-funnel leads that fizzle out, that's a sign that your content marketing strategy needs to be diversified.
Thanks to Michelle Barry, Mesmerize Media Consulting!
#15-Know Your Audience
As you brainstorm new marketing ideas, you should always consider your audience. You should not only be aware of their demographics but you should know their interests, values and opinions. Having this information will create effective campaigns because you will know the right topics/keywords to target and craft the right messages to your audience.
Thanks to Laura Gonzales, Audi Peoria!
#16-Own your traffic
And how you own your traffic is: all channels lead to one funnel that leads to an email list. If you own 10,000 email addresses, you can count on making $10,000 per month. If you don't own your own traffic, then you have to pay for it; i.e. Google, Facebook ads…
Thanks to Jennifer Goodwin, internetGIRLfriday.com!
#17- Handwritten letter
Being in business as a loan broker, I work with small to medium-sized businesses. I always look for creative ways to make an impression and stand out. A marketing tip that has worked for me is a handwritten letter inside an envelope that says confidential on the outside of it. The trick here is tape your envelope on the door of a given business after they close. They will see it first thing in the morning and have the urgency to open it because it says confidential on the front. If you can craft great copy in your letter, you should receive some calls. it has worked for me and been an out of the box effective lead generation tool. You can gain traction with this!
Thanks to Joe Nicolosi, Starcade Capital!
#18- Focus on your potential customer's problems
Most new business owners, who are just getting started, are so focused on themselves and how great the features of their businesses are. Certainly be passionate about your business, but in reality, it's about your customers, not you. My best marketing tip is that you need to shift your focus from how great your business, product, service are and instead focus on your potential customer's problems. When you focus on creating content or simply talking about your business in a way that explains how it solves a common problem for your niche, the more customers you will start to attract. Most people deep down are concerned about themselves and when you focus on them and their problems and how you solve them, vs you and how great you are, the more sales you will bring in.
Thanks to Mike MacDonald, CoachMikeMacDonald.co!
#19-Retargeting to capture lost sales
As far as marketing goes, digital retargeting is the best thing since sliced bread. Retargeting is the art of capturing lost sales from customers that visited your website but didn’t buy. Most people take some convincing and multiple trips to your site. It will likely be the highest return on investment of any of your marketing investments. This can be achieved in several channels including AdWords, Facebook, and YouTube.
Thanks to David Hamilton, Oppilo!
#20- Revisit your brand’s foundation
As the founder of a brand strategy agency and marketing firm where I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses on marketing, my best marketing tip is to revisit your brand’s foundation: what is your mission and what values are you founded on, why does your business exist, for whom and to solve what problem? Far too often, we see companies investing in the latest digital technology but they are not clear or narrow enough in who they are marketing to and why. The best marketing tip is to revisit your brand strategy at least once annually, to ensure that your messaging is still on-point, before investing more money in your marketing.
Thanks to Amber Swenor, Strategic Partners Marketing, LLC!
#21- Understand the different stages of awareness
It's crucial to understand the different stages of awareness your customers go through as they decide to make a purchase. Customers move from being completely unaware to being aware they need a solution, next they realise that solutions generally exist before becoming aware that specific solutions are available. Finally, customers are most aware and ready to take action. At each stage, they need different information and different types of engagement with a company. When you can customise your marketing to create the right experience at each stage, you will keep customers connected until they are most aware (and choosing you!).
Thanks to Belinda Weaver, Copywrite Matters!