Marketing is an art, very few can understand. While it works seamlessly for some, it is a nightmare to others. To survive the tough battle of attention from would be clients/customers, a startup entrepreneur needs to be king of this aspect of his business or at most, get someone to take charge on his behalf.
The success of a startup will often depend on its approach to marketing. Unfortunately the vast majority of startup founders have little to no experience or marketing or managing a marketing budget. Well it's in the planning! Make sure that you have got your marketing strategy in line
Many times the failure of many entrepreneurs is anchored on the fact that they pay too much attention to their products/services without much thoughts about how these would get to the end user(s). There are a huge number of private professional outfits (law, accounting and real estate firms) on the streets of Lagos who are struggling to survive. They may be loaded with the technical know-how but how these would impact their target audiences and in turn bring in the needed financial gains is always an uphill task for them.
For a startup entrepreneur not to fall into the trap of self-denial, he needs to know what he does not know, and take time how to study them. There are a million articles out there on brand development, launch marketing, PR, viral videos and more. Reading them all would be a start.
Often times, most startup firm fail to understand that everybody can't be your client /customer. You need to know the basic difference between advertising and marketing. While the former is an aspect of the latter, advertising your products only gets you awareness about it. This is what some startups do on social media. They create the awareness that is not financially of benefit to the firm. Marketing your products and services offers both awareness and sales. Reaching out to the target audience/users and selling the products to them. That is what a startup needs - Sales!
Once you choose a social platform, you need to commit to it. Having an inactive presence on any of the platforms creates a bad impression. Having the last tweet date as two years back is worse than not having a Twitter handle. You need to show activity on the social platforms and website, and need to have consistency. The opposite is also true – you just cannot do too much. Don’t bombard your LinkedIn company page followers with 10 updates a day just because that will give you more number of impressions!
Some tech savvy entrepreneurs tend to forget businesses need roots to stand. They invest so much energy and resources into SEO, social media publicity, paid ads etc. Notwithstanding the gains these may bring, the failure to identify the key people that matters - the community you reside, the friends, colleagues, family and social club members who needs to be convinced by the word of mouth about what the outfit is about, may spell doom for the enterprise when the storms start to rage. These are your unpaid brand ambassadors and they would go to any length to convince other would-be clients/customers about your services. They bring in the referrals! They are the roots of any solid business. Mark Zuckerberg started out Facebook with his college friends while in Harvard University. He had a root!
People relate to other people – and this is especially true for startups, where people are
buying services from founders more than from the company. So it is important that startups include the personal branding of their founders in their social media planning and strategy. You need a face for your company.
As a startup, you don't have to copy the big brands in the industry that has the financial muscle to be on every platform, and adopt any type of marketing and awareness. You have to find out what suits your organization and your target audience. You don't want to be tweeting and posting on LinkedIn when your target clients are mostly the uneducated and aged. Be yourself. Find the right rhythm and don't expend unnecessary energy on wrong platforms.
Get on the street. Get the feedbacks about your products/services never be stiff necked about it. Accept constructive criticisms. Use it to sharpen your outputs. Meet real people and not internet reviews. Meet your early clients and talk to them!
Never make the mistake of underestimating the power of compounded growth. Try as much as possible to focus on growth rate rather than absolute numbers. Then you won’t be dismayed if the absolute numbers are small at first. If you have 30 users of your products, you only need three (3) more in a week to grow 10%. And while three users is a small number for most products, 10% a week is a great growth rate. If you keep growing at 10% a week, the absolute numbers will eventually become impressive. Grow slowly, but purposefully!