If you have recently launched a new business venture, congratulations as this take a great deal of courage. While you might be exhausted with just getting your idea off the ground, now comes the real hard work. From managing employees or freelancers and keeping them productive, to handling your accounting and operations, you are going to need to learn how to effectively run your business so that you do not repeat the same mistakes other businesses have made. Here are 11 important tips you should keep in mind, especially if you want to have a lean startup.
1. Focus on marketing right away
If you’re working on product development for your startup, you should already be doing marketing (that’s the idea of lean marketing ). This will help you tailor your product to market expectations, know if the market is responding positively, and even better, create a base of potential prospects before you even have your product in hand. As the saying goes: Fail forward fast.
2. Build your personal brand
You as the CEO must build your personal brand because people love supporting companies where they know, like, and trust the CEO. Two great strategies for doing this is by publishing a book and delivering keynote speeches at industry conferences and events.
If you study some of the most popular keynote speakers, you will see that they all started as young entrepreneurs and built their career through public speaking. Not only does it get your face out there, but is also a great way to build your confidence and network with your peers.
3. Set clear goals you will stick to
Many go into marketing without a battle plan. This is a big mistake and it is very likely that it will get you nowhere. Building a real marketing strategy with tangible goals is the first step on your path to success. This strategy should be clear, documented, and communicated to your team.
Avoid choosing overly generic goals like “increase sales” or “improve growth”. Instead, opt for several small goals to accomplish each month that will lead your startup in the right direction and one big annual goal.
4. Identify your market and customer avatar
If you read many of the popular marketing blogs, you will quickly notice the fact that they often repeat that you have to define your audience. So you must spend a lot of time on this step as it is so important for the good development of your marketing strategy. You need to know everything about your target audience in order to establish a typical profile.
Don’t assume your product doesn’t have a typical customer. All products or services have a typical group of people (psychographics) that would buy it.
So finding out what your customers like, what they don’t like and what their issues are will help you develop a suitable strategy.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What are their areas of interest?
- What food do they like?
- What social networks do they use?
- What kind of music do they listen to?
- Where do they live ?
- What problems can you help them solve?
Here are examples of things you should know about your customers so that you can talk about what matters to them. You can normally get these answers by doing a little research on Google and elsewhere. Another solution is to simply chat with your current customers.
5. Create clear marketing pages
Landing pages are the pages on your website where you send your traffic.
It is difficult to persuade someone to visit your website, so we want to make the most of their attention to explain what and how we can do for them.
6. Identify your marketing channels
There are many ways to reach your audience, online or through more traditional media. Always choose your communication channels based on the results you can get out of them with the smallest investment. Never let your emotions get involved in your decision like, “I don’t like Snapchat so I won’t use it,”. Every sales guru will tell you to go where your audience is!
Several channels are available to start a conversation with your customers:
- Social networks
- Paid ads
- Press releases
- Influencers / sponsorship
- Events (conferences, exhibitions, meetups, etc.)
- Joint ventures
- Word of mouth
7. Create a marketing strategy
Try to create your marketing plan for at least 1 year to integrate all your event activities, press relations, editorial calendar and other campaigns.
Consider developing a plan for at least one year ahead. Integrate your marketing activities, PR activities and some of the most important communication channels that you are going to use.
8. Build strong relationships with your customers
It is cheaper to keep customers than to acquire new ones. Putting the customer at the center of your strategy is the best thing you can do.
Hear what they have to say: involve them in a satisfaction survey, or even if you’re into a fairly expensive product, contact them directly.
Send emails regularly: avoid commercial messages and focus on content that brings value.
Segment your customers based on their interests to send personalized content
Create a loyalty program
Send them a handwritten note (show them you’re not a robot!)
9. Create good content
Creating content takes a huge amount of time, but if you are patient, genuine, and thorough, you will have a definite advantage over your competition.
In a startup, dozens of interesting things happen every day. Document your days rather than creating your articles from scratch.
Interview your employees, your clients, your entrepreneur friends. This will allow you to quickly gain popularity and allow you to easily create content that will feed your blog but also your social networks.
10. Get your name out there
The Holy Grail for a startup is to make the front page of an important site through PR outreach. If your product is interesting there is a good chance that one of these sites will grant you an article. But let’s be honest, it’s not that easy to stand out among the thousands of startups jostling the web.
Here are some tips to increase your chances of getting published:
- Build a list of sites your target audience reads
- Establish relationships with specialized journalists on Twitter, LinkedIn and if possible collected their email addresses
- Create a great press kit: tell your story, explain what you do, why you created this product and consider including visuals
Journalists love startups so don’t be shy. Contact them, tell them your story, they will normally be very happy to share it with their readers.
11. Be patient and consistent
A lot of startups try a strategy for a few months then give up and disperse. Marketing is a discipline that requires rigor and patience. Publicizing your startup will not happen in a week. Many obstacles will be in your path, but the most important thing is to continue the strategy put in place. Tactics can change, and it’s a good idea to experiment with several to find what works best for you.
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