Marketing advice for startups

Marketing is almost overlooked by startups because owners of such businesses are too busy focusing on production, finance, and regulatory compliance, when in fact, they should be trying to find a foothold in the market. To make the matters worse, the competition is overwhelming. The startup has to compete for attention of a prospective customer. Such competitors include businesses selling the same or similar products, as well as businesses selling other products and services. Any person surfing the net can only read some of those marketing ads each day, and take note of them. The rest are either ignored, or read and forgotten. Luckily, there are ways to get the attention of prospective clients, even in such competitive environment.

Here are a few marketing tips for startups.

1. Remain focused on what you want to sell

This means you need to:

a. Identify what your product is good for; b. why your product is unique and emphasize that, time and again in your marketing initiatives; c. Do not try to capture the entire market. Instead, let your marketing endeavor be confined to a smaller set for now;

2. Opt for symbiotic relationship with established brands

The goodwill such branded products enjoy will obviously rub off on the startup and its products as well, i.e., if such partnership is forged. Effectively partnering with any established brand owner that has the required infrastructure for selling and marketing the startup's products without being adversely affected is definitely worth consideration. While entering into such relationship, it would be prudent to consider whether the product being sold by such business can have negative impact on the sales of the startup's products. Usually, products that serve functions that are similar in nature but different from those that the startup's products serve is selected. For example, an established shampoo company can offer startup's hair dye, or hair straightener. But it is not unusual for startups to join hands with any other established brand of products.

3. Try a referral system

This costs less, and is a result oriented system. Effectively, the startup incurs marketing costs in proportion to sales. Such referral systemx can also work both ways, i.e., you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours type.

4. Create awareness about product through local news papers and other media

This is one time investment but has better results than advertising regularly. People tend to ignore commercials, but often read articles and interviews. If the products that the startup manufactures are described and discussed, or even if the entrepreneur spent time explaining long term objectives, the number of employees the startup employs, the nature of products, etc., people will become aware about the product. Depending upon the target market, the product could also be introduced in schools and colleges. Sponsoring some events that have social causes also leaves a good impression about the startup and its products.

5. Contemporary marketing methods

Using contemporary marketing methods such as blogging as well as sharing, and liking on popular social media websites helps to create and expand the market for the startup's products.

Source: Australian small business commissioner