Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
How and why working on your product and creating something too good to ignore should be the base of your marketing strategy.
Statistics show that by the fifth year of operation more than 95% of all newly created businesses will fail. And it’s true.
That’s because running a successful business is hard and requires you to have marketing chops most folks don’t. But being a savvy marketer and a savvy business person often are two extremely different things.
No wonder why some of the first hires at new companies are marketing experts. It’s important to get the product or service that you’re selling in front of more people. Or is it?
That’s why we decided to go over four different things that you can do to market your product and get more people talking about what you’re doing. Ultimately, this will lead to more sales and growth for your startup.
Focus your time and money in improving your service or product.
What many new businesses don’t understand is the power of a great product. Some of the all-time greats in marketing know, however, that if the product is good enough, it will sell itself.
That’s why before even thinking about how you can market your product you should focus on building something truly outstanding.
For example, if you’re shipping out your product, you’ll need to build a relationship with reliable couriers that won’t ruin the experience for your customers, find a suitable storage place, and overall create a healthy relationship with everyone you’re working with. (Yes, working on your product also includes working on everything surrounding your product.)
All this requires you to go in-depth and spend a lot of time on whatever you’re creating. Take for example the Chief Marketing Officer at AhRefs. For the past five years, AhRefs managed to develop a product that doesn’t only help SEO and online marketers, but make them better at their job.
And they did that by spending a whole year tweaking their product, finding what’s not working and fixing it. Then, the product marketed itself. Professionals that started using it found that they could drop three other tools and work with just AhRefs’ software.
Marketers recommended it to colleagues and other companies. That’s how the most vital part of their marketing plan was to create something that’s hard to ignore and not talk about.
Create and produce content that is specifically tailored to your customers.
While people are still rambling that blogging is dead, it can’t be further from the truth. Investing time and money in developing content that’s tailored specifically to your customers -- and helps them -- is a powerful way to market your business and the products or services you’re selling.
Think of this approach as “top of the funnel” first. It’s the first thing that people see from your business, and if done correctly, it should lead to them becoming your customers.
When FIAT decided to go into the United States market after a 28-year long-absent with a car that’s tiny, they focused on creating content that captured two different types of audiences. Ones were the car enthusiasts, those that loved the bangs and loud exhausts. So they made content and advertisement that appealed to people looking for “FIAT 500 Abarth” -- the sporty variant of the car.
But a small car is also the choice of eco-conscious individuals that want to make sure they’re doing their part in saving the planet. So, FIAT targeted people looking for “small cars” online with ads that were specifically crafted towards them -- “Bigger isn’t better. It’s just harder to park.” was one of the headlines.
Double down on personalization and make every customer feel unique.
One of the things a small business can do way better than any large corporation is to get that personal touch on everything they do.
While this is something that’s very dependent on the type of business that you’re running, there are successful examples in both SaaS companies and the ones that sell physical products. Where SaaS companies can use other software to help them better connect with their audiences, product businesses can really double down on making their business all about their clients.
Take for example the Indie make-up brand Jeffree Star. Cosmetics is all about the personal touch, great quality products, and client love that the creator of the brand has full creative and production control in every product they put out.
Their products are a tad bit more expensive than the competition, but that doesn’t seem to bother buyers at all. Every product launch the company does results in “Sold Out” in a matter of hours after release.
Cut down the spend and try to get creative!
What most new businesses don’t understand is that quality doesn’t equal money spent on advertising.
You can still spend a couple of hundred bucks on a marketing campaign and have something witty, catchy, and memorable for anyone that passes your office down the street. Try cutting the budget and see what you can come up with when you don’t throw money at a problem.
Do you really need to spend $3,000 on office space for your ten employees? Maybe you can share a co-working space with another business, or even better, result in working from home.
Do you need to invest in a PR company to generate some buzz for your new business, or maybe you can spend that money in making your product better and generating the buzz that way?
New and old businesses need to understand that the way we’re working and building businesses is changing and just because you have some extra bucks to spend to market your startup business it doesn’t mean that you should spend them on marketing.
After all, great products market themselves and maybe focusing your time, money, and energy on creating a product that’s so good it can’t be ignored should be the thing to spend on.
And a final example would be how Nike started out. Runners on track just needed better shoes to help them run faster without ruining their feet after a training day. So one day Phil Knight decided to make shoes for the kids he was training and that way Nike was born. Of course, it took some time in testing and working on the product until they got it right. This is still a philosophy they follow with every pair of shoes they make.
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