What are the 7 key things every start-up company should be doing to market their business?
- Build a website
- Get traffic to that website
- Build a list of prospects
- Build relationships with prospects
- Get feedback
- Sell product
- Get feedback – the second cup
You’ll notice that all the way down in 6th is the selling, and get feedback is before and after the sale. Feedback and customer opinion is important in any business. In a startup business feedback is essential in developing the offer and product.
You may be aware that many startup businesses have a great product or service and then proceed to fail in taking it to market. One of the main problems is that as an entrepreneur or business developer you can get so involved in your amazing new product that you lose sight of what the real world will thinks of it.
I am sure that you will agree this is one of the reasons that market testing is essential before committing to a big launch. If you have ever seen Dragons Den on TV you are sure to have seen entrepreneurs that are very enthusiastic about their product. But the sum total of their testing is often just asking their friends what they think. Dragons want to see sales to the public and public feedback; not mates telling you your widget is great.
So you can see the advantage of a soft launch before committing a lot of money to a big launch: See if you can get a few early adopters. Then get feedback from them and develop your offer so that you can get to the next stage and on to the mass market.
Let’s assume that you have some product to sell or your beta system is ready to trial, then the steps are simple:
1. Build a website
You’ll probably remember that a few years ago websites were very expensive things built by geeks. Now … well actually if you go to a web developer you will be told you need the latest bits, bobs and features to make your site cutting edge. Suddenly we are back to expensive again.
But you know it doesn’t have to be like that. 99% of businesses do not need a fancy state of the art website. 90% of developers know little about making money with a website. So I suggest starting with a simple site. Don’t go mad because you will have to make changes.
If you are building an online shop, try a template, if you want an app do the same to start with. Most things have been done and unless you are in software or web development the chances are you can find something similar and have it adapted rather than pay for development from scratch.
KISS – do the KISS test – Keep It Simple Stupid! Pick a launch date and stick to it. Don’t over develop. I know of startup businesses that kept adding to or adjusting websites before launch and never launched. Just get it out there and start. Add features and usability as you go along. The early adopters will not mind if the offer is good enough.
2. Get traffic to that website
I am sure you know that this is a big subject. How do you get traffic to you website as a new business? Well one way is to employ a marketing company. The other is to do it yourself. Do you or one of your team have the time? If so you can get a book like The Results Marketing Workbook and set up multiple marketing systems yourself.
If not then you will need to spend some money: but don’t blow the budget before you have tested and got feedback from the early adopters. Far better to go in slow and see what works. A little at a time. Here you can use a service like CR4L.com offer to drive traffic to your site and move you up the rankings. Get your fist customers and learn.
The key first steps must include: SEO, great content on the site; PR, back links, a blog, guest blogging, video, social media and above all else data catchment…
3. Build a list of prospects
You will see here that data catchment is essential to success. After all, it’s hard enough getting visitors to your website in the first place, so whilst they are there you want to get their data so that you can engage with them. Data catchment is as simple as asking for visitor’s email address in return for a free product or offer.
There are several companies out there that offer data catchment on websites. Personally I use Aweber but Mail Chimp is another option. Your web developer can help you with that and install the widget on your site. If you develop yourself it couldn’t be easier. Just like adding a PayPal purchase button you get some code from the service provider and pop it on the page where you want it. Use Java script so that any changes you make to the widget later will come through to the site automatically without having to change the code.
How do you get people to share their email with you? In the old days that was easy but now people are weary of giving out their email, they wonder what they will get in return. So you need a really great offer, or fantastic news that they will want every week/month from your newsletter.
There are some great new widgets available too; such as from Rafflecopter which allows you to offer your product in a raffle. People enter through the widget and their data goes to your Aweber list (if that’s who you use).
2 negatives with this offer: $59,99 a month and the biggest one; just because someone wants something for free does not mean they will pay for it. However, because it costs you no more to service 10 people as 100 people with automated emails what does that matter?
There are lots more ways to build a list and once again, if you are doing this yourself I suggest referring to something like the Results Marketing Workbook for ideas.
Your list of potential purchasers is gold. Build the list, build relationships and build profits…
4. Build relationships with prospects
#1 Rule – give value first. There aren’t any other rules to speak of; that is the be all and end all of selling to your list. Form the free offer or product they get to join the list to every email they subsequently receive: send them value and lots of it.
That value might be useful information or it may be ideas or ways to make their life better in ways related to your offer. In my case I am a marketer so I give people help marketing their products and businesses. I give as much away as I can so that people get incredible value and can see the quality of what I offer.
The idea is that if you like what I do for free you should try being a client and then you will get amazing value!
5. Get feedback
This is also a time for you to engage with people. Get them to comment on your blog or Facebook page. Get some feedback. Answer questions that are important to your business development. There may be something stopping people from buying from you that the public can see and you can’t. It may be simple and easy to change but make all the difference to your conversions.
6. Sell product
You will know that in sales people buy from people, or more accurately; personalities. People would rather pay more and buy from someone they know and trust than pay less from a stranger. In mass retail people buy from brands that they identify with and associate themselves and their values with.
Think of Apple and Nike. People buy from Apple because that is the kind of people they are, or want to be seen to be. People put on Nike because they are the people who Just Do It!
During the relationship building phase you should have got your message out about who you are; your company’s personality. You should have built trust through giving value first. Then people will be willing to give you a try and buy from you.
Hopefully your prospects are aligned with your company’s ethos and that will make the selling stage all the easier. It will also help you to retain customers.
7. Get feedback – The Second Cup
I am sure that you can see a pattern building here. You will understand how important feedback is. However many companies just move on to the next prospect once someone has bought. Don’t do it! It cost you a lot of effort and money to get that sale. So now you will want to nurture your new customer and reinforce your relationship.
You may ask them what they think of their purchase. Get some ideas of how you can make it and the sales process better. If people buy in to the company in this way and feel involved then you will have a customer for life.
As we used to say at CR4L; Customers are for Life, not just for Christmas.
The Second Cup: There is a wonderful little book by Mark Joiner called The Irresistible Offer. In that he talks about how to build an irresistible offer; an offer so good that people will just have to buy. You get your offer before a thirsty crowd and they will buy, then you sell them the second cup. The Second Cup is where the profit is. This is the ongoing relationship and where a business makes most of its profit.
Getting customers is expensive, keep them and keep selling them more great value.
8. Do more of what works – Turn it up!
You will have seen by now that I preach a system of marketing that uses multiple systems of marketing all working in concert to maximum effect: PR, PPC, SEO, article marketing, blogs, data catchment, social media, video and many more.
You can start with a few key systems and trying a few others such as social media and video. Test and do analytics and monitor closely what results you get. Then drop what is not working and do more of what is. It’s that simple. Don’t keep on putting money in to systems that don’t work; too many people do.
You can see the benefits of continually trying new ideas out. A lot of them will not work so stop them immediately as soon as you see that. If you find one that does work then do more of that.
You probably know that most start-up companies lack marketing skills in their team. As someone once said; having a great product but bad marketing is like making love in the dark: you know what you are doing but no one else does.
So you now have the key 7 Marketing Essentials For Startup Business. You will have seen how important testing is. You know that value first is the best way to build relationships. And you also know that is how I work. So if you need more exposure and clients, call or email me for help and advice; you know that I love giving value to people and if you like what I do for your business maybe you will become my customer for life.
PS. October sees the launch of my Irresistible offer – see what it is at http://www.cr4l.com/special-offer.html