Start-Up Marketing (aka Bootstrapping!)
The one reason why you’re bothering to read this article is this – you don’t have the marketing expertise to know how to build your business successfully. Whether you have tried to start up a business or two (unsuccessfully) or if you are new to the marketing game, it’s important to understand just how much marketing can empower your business and make you some real cash – and fast.
Before you start anything, you have to remember that you do not need to create a product that people necessarily need right now. Effective marketing is really all about telling people that they do need your product to solve a problem they are either completely aware of, or completely oblivious to. To start this whole process off, you have to ask yourself one question:
Who wants my stuff?
Whether it’s a product or service, you have to buckle down and think about who really wants to bother with whatever it is that you’re offering. Who needs this product or service that you’re offering? Who can afford your fees? Where are these people who need your product or service – are they local or are they overseas?
Starting off with a small target market or “niche” demographic may not have you immediately “seeing the money”, but you will be capitalizing on your marketing resources and you will be starting to build up an immediate customer base. You can also test out your marketing campaign on a small group of people without blowing your bank on a larger campaign that may be a complete flop.
Once you have figured out who actually wants your stuff, then you have to come up with a reason why they should want yours more than anyone else’s. If you have flipped through the phone book recently, chances are that you have found a number of other businesses who are offering the same thing that you are. Don’t make the same mistake as other businesses and try to compete on price alone. You need something that makes you stand out, something that makes you rise above the rest of the pack. This means that you have to come up with something unique that your product, service or company offers that no one else’s can. Not doing this will mean that you will ultimately not only be missing out on a ton of cash, but your business is likely to fold and go under.
When you have come up with what makes you unique, you need to have a compelling and interesting headline that will grab the attention of your potential customer base. Without a great headline, you’ve lost your customers. There’s a very slim chance they will read your brochure, your ad, your letter, or whatever other piece of marketing material you have sent their way.
A headline will make people read your piece of advertisement, but creating an irresistible offer is what can really cement the entire deal. Offers such as 5 books for $5 or “Buy one get one free” are great for attracting customers as they are clearly getting a good deal. A lot of businesses avoid such offers since there is an obvious loss in profits for making this initial offer, but think about it this way: making this offer will give you a new customer, a new customer who is likely to use your product or service again next time around. Don’t be short sighted and focus on your long term earning potential. That’s how you will be a successful business.
ABOUT: Simon Dutta has 20+ years’ executive marketing and business development experience spanning 18 countries and 24 industry sectors within start-ups, SMEs and multi-£billion blue-chips. His particular expertise lies in driving revenue growth by: (1) developing products that the market actually wants; and (2) executing customer acquisition and retention strategies that actually work. Simon is a Certified Internet Marketer, Chartered Marketer, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He also sits on the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Regional Board (West Midlands).