Too often, when we look for the secrets to successful marketing, we look at companies that have been doing this for years. With all respect that is due to our elders in place, Henry Ford couldn't have taught Bill Gates how to sell Microsoft, and Bill Gates would need to relearn marketing if he were rolling out his operating system today.
Instead of looking at what great advice we can get from our forebearers, with the rapid pace of change in the Internet and the modern marketing world, we need to focus on our contemporaries.
Here are three key pieces of marketing tips for startups based on the practices of the most successful companies:
Broaden the customers you appeal to
When you look at customer profile, marketing advice suggests that you push yourself to the most specific definition possible. When you look at what sections of the market you can appeal to, however, the broader you can go, the better. Many businesses start their business plans only appealing to either B2C companies or B2B clients, and focusing on one sector to start is usually a good idea. But as your business grows and stabilizes, consider whether or not the service you offer could cross that boundary.
Get everything ready before launch day
While many business planners will advise you to educate yourself about business taxes and plan for hiring employees at key intervals, not all business planners will remember to talk to you about domain names, hosting or the ins and outs of modern social media and marketing. These are crucial steps that need to be addressed before things can move forward. HostGator put up a very informative tutorial for the beginners to get started with which covers the three main components for every website: domain names, hosting and web design. Starting a blog and building a social media presence are definitely two ways that a modern entrepreneur can begin to build their business, but how do you actually do those things? Connect with other professionals, online and in your area, to get great tips on how to successful create a blog in your niche, bring in views, and convert to sales.
Learn from the experts, and teach in your turn
When it comes to time management, stress management, and business strategies, it's always worth listening to those who have created successful businesses. There are always articles being written that list the ways that successful CEOs get more done, for example. Whether you're taking color coding tips or trying out other entrepreneur's suggestions will rarely harm you, and you may find a great new strategy that transforms your business.
In trade, when someone ten years your senior asks for an explanation of the newest social media network, swallow your snark and help them figure it out. No business succeeds in a vacuum, after all, and entrepreneurs learn through sharing tips and connecting with colleagues.
One of the downsides of our Western “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” culture is that it gives us the fictitious idea that we can somehow succeed all on our own. The truth of the matter is that by looking to other businesses, startups, entrepreneurs, and professionals, we can avoid some of the common pitfalls in our business.
Not sure where to go to connect with other business owners who can help you understand the current state of marketing online? Get in touch with a company that's going about their marketing in a way you admire, and ask if they'd be willing to give you some pointers. Connect with your local chamber of commerce and see if they have someone who could mentor you in a marketing program. Or focus on reading industry blogs and articles to learn from the ground up.
What's the best piece of advice you ever got from another entrepreneur? Share it in the comments!