Starting a business is one of the most rewarding endeavors any individual can undertake. It can provide life experience not achievable in any other way. It has an open ceiling while also not having a floor either. You can make your business whatever you want it to be and, with a lot of hard work, can turn it into something that people believe in.
Businesses around the world do incredible work within their communities and for the larger global population. While all of this is great, and certainly possible, the beginning of the business is not always a dream. Case in point: Marketing.
What you need to know about marketing your start-up
When starting a business, you probably have your idea mapped out in exquisite detail and have every possible contingency planned. Even when your product is down pat, and you believe your plan is impeccable, there are still a number of things that require a different level of patience and expertise.
Marketing your business can be an existential endeavor as you fine tune exactly what your business stands for and who your audience is.
In this article we hope to expound on how to make marketing work for you when you are just starting out. Startups are tasked with doing an incredible amount of work upon their inception. They have to test and refine their product while also carving out their own path within a crowded industry.
The last thing that startups need to be focused on is marketing. Luckily, thanks to the innovation and advancement of automation and artificial intelligence, marketing has become a much simpler task through the services of online applications.
Who can help you set-up a marketing campaign?
Companies like HubSpot and MailChimp make digital marketing easier than ever before. These tools can automate email blasts and generate visits to your website.
Speaking of which, websites are now easier than ever to make thanks to companies like WordPress and Squarespace that make creating websites easy and entertaining. Using automation and artificial intelligence will help to make marketing much easier as most startups do not have the resources to hire professional marketing teams.
Though advisable when they can be hired, marketing teams are often too expensive for most startups. The same goes for web designers who are typically too expensive for brand new companies. Going online and starting marketing campaigns for your business has never been easier thanks to these wonderful resources and the people who keep them running.
Is you marketing message clear?
When coming up with a brand, make sure that your message is embedded and can be deduced easily. Do not be afraid to create a message that your company stands for and don’t hesitate to proclaim it loudly for everyone to hear. If your company is based in organics, for instance, then have a logo with earth tones and naturalistic graphics.
This will send the message that you are interested in the environment and care for it deeply. At the same time, this will help to develop an audience that you can target and interact with honestly. The same goes for any industry you want to get into.
Make sure that your logo and brand message represents the audience you want to attract and the industries you are interested in entering.
Showcase any charities you are invested in and all of the causes your company supports.
This will continue to carve out your audience and refine your message so that people know exactly what you are about. The goal of any company is to ultimately provide a service to the audience that would benefit the most from it.
Network your company’s message through every avenue
Truly, it is diligence and hard work that will eventually attract customers to your product.
Start a social media campaign focused on relaying your message to the online community.
Contact other companies that share your goals and missions so that you may support each other publicly. Join charities and other causes that will both give you exposure and develop an audience. Use automation services and artificial intelligence to make marketing easier.
Be steadfast and confident in your idea and your company’s mission. This will be the ultimate selling point for your business. Your startup is only as good as you are. Going out into the general public and spreading your message is the best way to draw attention and market your product.
Draw a crowd whenever you can and insert yourself into the public conscious.
Confidence, with reality thrown in, is the ultimate selling feature of any business. Teaming up with investors and other businesses will give you the exposure you need to draw the audience you want.
In the end, a startup business that is successful benefits us all and is worth pouring your heart into. Treat your startup as an extension of yourself and take pride in working for it to succeed.
Consumers Don’t Have An Attention Problem. It’s Just That Your Advertising Isn’t Very Good
With so much media available to consume, quality matters more than ever for ads.
If a brand releases an ad and no one sees it, is it still called “advertising”?
People have more tools than ever before to skip out on ads entirely. More than three-fourths of the people in North America engage in automated ad-blocking, and 10 percent of them block ads across four kinds of media or more, according to Deloitte. Much like the question of trees falling in forests, what good is a brand’s message at a time when people generally don’t want to hear its sound?
Ad units are shrinking in the wake of ad-blocking technology, but human attention span remains unchanged. Today’s consumers are surely more distracted than any previous generation, so they guard their attention spans more mercilessly. When advertisers can successfully command that attention for a minute or two, it means the consumer is watching an ad for the same reason he or she binge-watches Stranger Things on Netflix: The ad has managed to present itself as relevant or vital to the viewer. It wins every time.
Just 10 years ago, Gillette dominated the razor blade market. Its ads were comfortable, predictable 30-second units that reminded everyone of something they already knew: You need razor blades on the regular, so you might as well buy Gillette.
Related: Advertising Consulting Business Plan
But, the market had to reorganise itself with the appearance of Dollar Shave Club and its distinctly off-the-wall messaging. The notorious startup used quirky 90-second ads to spread its word online, presenting itself as unignorable by comparison to the competition. Even though we live in a time when people can skip ads, block ads and avoid ads, Dollar Shave Club’s marketing won major viral attention. It didn’t exactly kill Gillette’s Goliath, but it sure made Goliath sweat.
The lesson here is that people don’t hate all ads, they just hate the crappy ones. The bar for perceived quality in advertising is so low these days that many choose not to engage with anything on principle alone. People even close web pages they want to visit when the page auto-plays a video ad. When job number one of the advertiser is to interest consumers, it’s never been easier to annoy them.
Far from the rise of the six-second ad unit, there’s strong evidence that people generally want long-form content.
Ooyala reports that long-form video content consumption is up 30 percent from last year. Instagram used to be all about sharing individual photos and short videos, but now with the launch of IGTV supports 60-minute videos. The most widely subscribed YouTuber, PewDiePie, regularly posts 20-minute-long videos to a community of millions of fans. Joe Rogan’s podcast blends comedy, politics and philosophy for two to three hours at a stretch, and is one of the most popular podcasts on the internet.
People can, of course, handle stories and follow them over time. It’s one of the defining characteristics of humanity. But, there are so many stories competing for our attention nowadays that we are extremely selective about which ones we let into our lives. If any of these opt-in narratives will come from advertising, those ads must first run the ad-blocking gauntlet, then be immediately relevant and spectacular to the consumer upon arrival. The bar for perceived quality in advertising these days is actually quite high.
But, there is meaningful assistance on your way to clearing it. Social listening tools trawl the internet to learn what’s being said about and around different brands. With help from a company specialising in consumer insights and some Nielsen data, brands can better learn who their customers are, what they love and what they don’t love. This is key information in designing a vital, relevant message. In simplest terms, a brand must know its audience. The marketing needs to reflect what the audience is interested in, not what company leadership is interested in.
From there it’s only a matter of iterating and optimising. The great thing about digital advertising is that you get feedback instantly. You can iterate a campaign to make it better. Simple tweaks in copy, reframing key ideas and A/B testing can help make your campaign truly great.
Otherwise you run the risk of a mediocre campaign and a wasted media spend. No one wants to hear that sound.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
6 False Advertising Scandals You Can Learn From
Don’t stretch the truth the way Volkswagen, New Balance, Airborne, Splenda, Rice Krispies and Red Bull did.
New entrepreneurs are often tempted to exaggerate what new products or services are capable of. No wonder: Presented to a powerful investor, a stretch of the truth just might help land that series A funding.
And, less seriously, a bit of marketing flair or showmanship, in many cases, will help an entrepreneur accomplish his or her without many repercussions.
But, in other cases, if you’re that entrepreneur who is caught deliberately misleading investors or consumers, you could face false advertising charges – and the ruin of your brand’s reputation. Consider these six examples:
Forget Everything You’ve Heard — Fear Doesn’t Sell
If consumers associate your product with fear, they may not have a strong connection to your brand.
Sixty percent of Subaru owners have dogs. So in 2008, when the company decided to sponsor Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, it made a major break from previous advertising campaigns — ones that showed drivers with other cars getting stuck in the snow, for example. Alongside a pledge to donate $250 to charity for every car sold, the company began to understand how to appeal to its core audience through their own interests — and how those tied together in a Subaru.
Since 2008, the company has been running a campaign called “Love,” one that brings together all the attributes that Subaru is known for — including safety and reliability. Instead of talking to customers by telling them all the bad things that will happen if they don’t drive a Subaru (e.g., getting stuck in the snow), the company began speaking in a more positive language — including bringing furry friends along on drives.
For many, the instinctive approach toward marketing is to tell an audience why they have to buy your product. Bad things will happen otherwise, and yours is the best in market. The others won’t help you reach your goal. The problem with that logic is that it doesn’t take into account the impact of brand image on product marketing. Sure, you might skid in the snow without a Subaru, but you need to think positively of the company as a whole if you’re going to be drawn to its products in the first place.
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