It is very common for new business owners to think that
marketing is too expensive to even be considered during the first stages of a
start-up. People often think that only large and successful companies can
afford to implement a marketing strategy. Nevertheless, our BLAM partners
well aware that this perspective is a recipe for failure.
In reality, marketing is even more crucial during the start of a business. Even if your product is the best in the market, nobody will know anything about it without effective marketing. Today, I am going to talk about ways to build that marketing mentality which is going to get you to start thinking like a marketer. Getting into the right mindset early on is key for the success of a start-up.
1. Think about your value proposition. Instead of focusing on how your product differentiates from others in the market, think about the problems it solves instead. People are looking for solutions to their problems, not innovative products they don’t know how to use. Make sure that the solutions you offer are relevant to your target audience – if not, redefine your audience.
2. Defining your audience. To extend the previous point, after you’ve established your value proposition, it is time to start targeting the right people. Discussing with friends, family and business partners can help you shape a better understanding of the type of person who would be willing to become a customer. Think about demographics, lifestyle, hobbies, personality, attitudes, products they are likely to be using, brands they are expected to follow, etc. The more you define your audience the better. Having a clear image of who you are talking to, can lead to more effective communication and better-tailored messages.
3. Build a great brand. Your brand is your identity. Creating a strong brand from the beginning can act as a great guide for your communications, product lines and everything else as it gives personality to your new business. Your brand’s personality should be aligned with that of your target audience as people are more likely to buy from brands to whom they associate with.
4. Leverage PR early. Even if you don’t think your product is pioneering enough to be featured anywhere, it is worth the try. It is possible that your local media will respond to a nicely worded press release. PR can provide you with local brand awareness and save you a lot of money since it is free. Even if you don’t get published right away, it is always a good idea to start building relationships with your local media. You will probably need those in the future.
5. Monitor your competition. Often start-up owners are tricked into believing there are no direct competitors to their unique offering, but that is usually wrong. Think about the general product category and how people usually choose to satisfy those needs that you are offering to fulfil. Now that you’ve found your competitors, research them. Read their websites, social media platforms, engage in active listening by reading customers’ comments and reviews and gain valuable insight that will help you reshape your offering and brand image.
After you have successfully completed all the following, it is time to start investing in marketing. The truth is that waiting too long without marketing your business actually causes more damage than good. The sooner you start implementing your strategy, the quicker the ROI.
There are plenty of budget-friendly marketing solutions for small businesses that do not require a massive investment. We have talked about inbound marketing techniques for small businesses before that are effective and won't cost you a fortune. The one thing you need to be prepared to devote in abundance, however, is your time and undivided attention to your new venture.
I would love to hear your personal thoughts with regards to marketing your own business. Please comment below and share your experience.
This weekend my wife and I have left the kids with nana and grandpa and we've travelled to Buxton in the Peak District, apparently England's leading Spa Town, nice. The weekend escape in February is an annual event that we commit to every year, visiting a different destination each time, we love it.
I do all of the planning. The research usually starts in November, and the challenge for me is to find an interesting town or city where Abby and I can spend a whole weekend not tied to the usual demands of a busy family and work life.
"I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood."
The break away from it all, is a very important event in our calendar and one that plays a significant role in my business life too. Don't worry, I don't spend the whole weekend working, quite the opposite in fact (except for this blog). But, as a certified, got the t-shirt entrepreneur, I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood.
When I'm away from the businesses (my staff and business partners know this) the constant contact that we get so used to is intentionally policed. That combined with the removal of family commitments (my weekend role is usually taxi driver, tutor and punchbag) my brain unwinds very quickly and I often have some inspired ideas that are implemented on my return with much enthusiasm.
The idea of taking a break away from it all to unwind is nothing new, but these days how much of a break do we really take when we have our phones in our pocket? Part of the ethos of our annual break is being disconnected from texts, LinkedIn, Facebook, What's app, phone calls and all the other distractions in our connected world. Here in Buxton for example, I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts. It was following one of my “thoughts", I felt compelled to write this blog as testimony to the power of the disconnected weekend break in Feb!
'I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts."
However, "embrace the beauty of technology" is one of BLAM's, and therefore my, core values and detaching myself from that technology in order to think creatively is something of an irony. The key thing for me is having the discipline to connect and disconnect to get the best results, something that doesn't always come easy to me.
I am writing this blog on my disconnected mobile, with relaxing music playing, in a clothes shop that has given me free coffee whilst Abby tries on several outfits. There's no signal so no interruptions, heaven :)
It's a well documented subject, the idea of intentionally unplugging and getting away from it all. My advice to our BLAM Partners is to make sure you diarise the breaks the same way you do with the work behaviours and consider the amount of connected time you allow yourself whilst you are there. Like me, I'm sure you will find hidden inspiration in your unconnected escape.
Next week, I will be refreshed and technology will be fully embraced once more and I'll be loving it! Now, where's that awesome little bar with craft beer on tap I spotted earlier, that looked really inspiring...
Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the quickest ways to attract traffic to your website. Everyone knows that building your following organically can take quite a while - and for start-ups in particular time is gold!
Most people who attempt to set up a PPC campaign, however, tend to feel overwhelmed and often give up. There is such a wealth of possibilities when it comes to PPC advertising and so many different factors that need to be taken into consideration – not to mention the industry jargon which confuses people – that most beginners feel lost before even starting.
Despite these difficulties, we have identified a few simple steps that can lead any start-up to create a successful PPC campaign quickly and easily.
I would love to know what your thoughts are with regards to PPC. Are you planning to use PPC as part of your marketing?
Perhaps you’ve just had this crazy idea. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about it for ages. Whatever your situation, this article aims to help you realise why now is the best time for you to start your own business.
First, let’s define the term social media ‘strategist’, ‘expert’,
‘specialist’ or whichever title you prefer to use to describe that particular
marketing specialisation because I understand it
often causes confusion. I have picked the
term ‘social media strategist’ for this post’s title as for me it is the most
accurate to describe the role. A professional in this industry will never
proceed to manage anyone’s social media platforms without properly planning a
detailed strategy first, and that is usually the main difference between those who are qualified to do the job and those who
A social media strategist, therefore, is the professional behind any successful social media business page. That person is responsible for aligning a company’s social media activities with the overall marketing direction of the business. For some, this might still seem generic and difficult to understand, but hopefully, the rest of this post will shed some light into this role’s specifics while answering some common queries I often hear from clients.
Having said all that, and even though social media are a powerful tool, people should never make the mistake of thinking that a solid social presence is all it takes to ensure a good level of sales. The purpose of your social media strategy is to complement and augment your overall marketing and sales strategy. One cannot do well without the other, and anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn’t be trusted.