As you can probably tell, marketing in the start-up age is a bit different than it used to be. The Internet has opened up new pathways for businesses to thrive in, as well as levelling the field for the entrepreneurs who have great ideas and the courage and wisdom to execute them properly. The trick, of course, is to do enough good things to stand out from the crowd. Having a great product is necessary, but so is getting the word out so that people can find out about it. Here are six essential tips to keep in mind that will give your start-up the boost it needs in order to get off the ground:
1. Get customer input early in the process
Every start-up on the market is there to fulfill a specific need. Social media apps bring people together, while rating aggregator sites help you pick out the best movie currently playing in theaters. If you’ve got an idea that you think will help people, don’t be afraid to put some feelers out there and see what problems it might actually solve. Products that were designed in a vacuum might crumble when faced with the realities of the market, which is why getting some early feedback is a must in today’s landscape.
2. Give out freebies
The best way to get people to talk about your company is by giving them a sample of the product or service you provide. This is a great way to generate some goodwill for your start-up, especially since you’ll often find yourself in competition with established brands. Making something available for free is bound to engender some customer loyalty, as people will find it much easier to invest in something they already trust.
3. Integrate cloud-based solutions
While having a dedicated server is still necessary for administrative and back-up purposes, it is no longer efficient to use it as storage for items that can easily get misplaced. Today there are plenty of software programs that operate in the cloud, keeping your data accessible and secure at the same time. Tools like LockedOn, a virtual personal assistant that specializes in real estate tasks and procedures, can be a great aid to professionals in their respective industries.
4. Promote your brand’s visibility through corporate gifts
It can be tough to imprint your name in the minds of consumers who are already being bombarded with information from so many existing brands. In addition to spending big on advertisements that have to be shown time and time again in order to be effective, you should also consider inscribing your brand name and/or logo on everyday objects that are commonly used in the areas where you’d want your business to be promoted. Say your startup offers travel opportunities for students. Sending a box of branded pencils and ballpoint pens to local universities can thus provide an immense boon to your business by increasing your visibility in places where it matters the most. Thus, gift giving would hit the nail right in the head. An object once branded stays branded for life, so this is an investment that will keep on paying dividends over time.
5. Hire a growth hacker
Most start-ups rely on achieving quick growth in order to stay afloat in the very beginning. While general marketers usually set growth targets in addition to handling a multitude of other aspects, growth hackers are single-mindedly focused on growing and expanding the company. This means more customers, more outreach, more profit. Growth hackers facilitate this expansion by thinking outside the box, which is why having a dedicated one on board can help your start-up get past its growing pains.
6. Be creative
It sounds like a no-brainer, but too many start-ups get caught up in recreating what has already worked in the past instead of figuring out new ways to package and promote their product. People are attracted to innovation and newness in general, so being original can often generate great buzz for your fledgeling start-up. A few smartly realized ads, for example, can be considerably more effective than constantly carpet-bombing our audience with banalities.
All in all, this list, while by no means exhaustive, should be a good primer for those of you who are still biding their time on the way to creating a sustainable start-up. Following them doesn’t necessarily guarantee you success, but it does offer a blueprint towards building something valuable and then making it last.
This guest post was written by Bob Gorman. Bob is a freelance writer and a passionate blogger. He likes writing articles that cover small business and corporate business topics. He has written numerous articles and contributed to several other blogs. When he is not writing, he spends his time with his four year old son and his wife Lana. If you would also like to submit a guest post click here.