Marketing is arguably what makes or break any startup, aside from the product or service itself. Sales, on the other hand, is extremely important early on to gain that valuable revenue because let’s face it: not every startup has the privilege of a massive funding.
Yet. with so many available marketing and sales strategies out there, how should you begin as a startup? Below, we will share 7 of the most effective tips for startup sales and marketing you can try.
Let us begin with the first one.
1. Listen To Your Customers
Hey, but Steve Jobs said that customers don’t know what they want. Isn’t the term ‘listen to your customers’ proven wrong already?
Here’s the harsh truth: unless your product is a true game-changer like the Mac, iPod, or iPhone in their respective time, you should listen to your (potential) customers. Well, most of us think that our product is indeed THE product. Yet, if that’s truly the case, that product won’t need any marketing at all since everyone will want them, so you see the paradox here.
Social media and digital age made it easier to listen to your customers than ever before, so make full use of it. What kind of content to they need? Which videos attracted them? If you can truly understand your audience, your job as a marketer is halfway done.
Indeed, the internet can be really noisy nowadays, making it harder to listen. This is where various analytics tools can help you. Start with the handy and free Google Analytics, it can take you further than you thought.
The mindset you will need to build is that the customer is always right, especially for startup. Sometimes, what they want might be surprising, even defying logic, but they are the ones that will pay, and they are always right.
2. Market Your Product Before It’s Perfect
Because it never will. Period.
A lot of startups make the really costly mistake of helding back unveiling their product until it is absolutely perfect. Some do this in fear that the customers won’t perceive the real value of their product, and some hold back in fear a competitor will steal their idea and perfect it. Remember that (rather) old Chris Sacca quote: “ideas are cheap, execution is everything”? He is absolutely right in most cases.
If no one knows about your product, the demand for it will stay at zero.
If you still think your product or idea is too valuable, at least do an awareness campaign, letting people know that something amazing is coming. How you do it is up to your creativity, but most of the time, highlighting the benefits of your product and answering real problems of your potential customers will work best.
Also Read : Top 10 Small Business Ideas in 2018
When your product is finally ready, there is the very valuable existing awareness. Also, don’t keep them waiting too long, release the product at the very maximum, 6 months after the awareness campaign.
3. Highlight Your Uniqueness
Even if you think your product is so unique, there’re always competitors lurking around the corner. The main idea of marketing is how you can highlight what truly makes you different than your competitors, even indirect competitors.
While there can be hundreds of unique features or thousands of how your product is different than the rest, in the end your uniqueness will boil down to just one of these three:
- Your product is more affordable than your competitors (without being cheap)
- Your product is simply better in quality
- A combination of the two: we often say you offer better value with your price tag
The better you can highlight and convince your customers about that unique value, the better you are doing your job as a marketer.
In this transparent digital age, one of the best ways is arguably to acknowledge your customer with a comparison table. Look at how Hubspot compared itself with its competitor Marketo.
4. Put More Emphasis on PR
In this era of digital marketing, the term ‘public relations’ is often diluted, or even dismissed by many.
PR in the form of third-party validation and mentions by the press (and in modern cases, influencers), are still really important, especially with how saturated and noisy the internet is nowadays.The right PR can help build credibility, a very expensive asset for any startup especially at the beginning.
Too many startups and tech companies focus on advertising, SEO strategies, content creation, and forgot to reach the right third-party sites or press to help promote their product. So, create a press release, reach the right media and influencers according to your niche and industry, and build relationships whenever you can.
Even small PR like a small mention in a blog can be really valuable. Remember that the concept of PR is far older than advertising, and how it still survive should say something.
5. Measure Everything, Act Fast
Marketing can be an expensive business, so it is absolutely vital to be able to measure everything, and adjust your strategy when you see something amiss.
With the advancements of technology and especially analytic tools, every marketing tactic can be measured in great detail. If you can’t measure your marketing, you already fail.
If you run ad campaigns like AdWords or Facebook advertising, they provide the necessary tools to track your progress. For content marketing, there are also various tools to help you. So, set up a tracking system for each of your marketing campaign.
Also, it is important to run multiple, small marketing campaigns across various channels in the beginning, so you can understand which channel(s) will perform best for your business.
6. Reward Interest and Loyalty
Find ways to reward customers and potential customers with their loyalty and interest, because they are valuable for your business. Remember that customers, and even potential customers and unqualified leads, can turn into valuable advocates. Testimonials and recommendations can be even more effective than the most expensive advertising campaign.
It doesn’t have to be really complicated, as you can show appreciation by simply giving excellent support service. If you are an SAAS business, automatic, regular updates can always show how you appreciate your customers and want to do better. The old-school tactic of giving discounts to returning customers or those who show interest is always effective.
7. Give Customers A Space To Talk
Related to our very first point about listening to customers, it is important to give your customers a place to send their feedback, and also to talk ABOUT you. It can be a (well-managed) comment section of your blog, or even a simple email address or live chat app where they can give feedback and ask questions.
Even if it’s bad, it is important to know what your customers are saying about your product and your business. Also, tackle bad reviews and feedbacks well. Remember, they are always right.