Chase it Happily

Because Marketing is all about what other people say about you when you are not in the room. Marketing is really about how customer values translate into aspirations, insecurities, fears, and motivations.

It can make or break your company. Do you have a product or service, but no one knows about it? Then you have nothing.

Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else knows, not even the girl.

The sole purpose of marketing for a startup is to sell more to more people, more often and at higher prices. There is no other reason to do it.

Twenty years ago, in 1997, Steve Jobs told us,

"Marketing is about values" He is the ultimate example of how it should be done. Be it his work or speeches, one can find many lessons worth living for from him.

See I adore Steve Jobs in many things. Need not to tell you but he is the pioneer in his field. I mean imagine having a Midas touch.

Why it's different for startups

Marketing is treacherous ground for startups because it makes them operate outside their comfort zones. It doesn't start with a business plan. It starts with the business itself.

Good marketing will bring people to your product or service, hopefully in sufficient numbers to keep the doors open. But marketing alone will not keep them coming back. It won't create a bond between you and them. You got to work hard ( obviously)

Ok so let's learn the importance of marketing this way!

You have a product. You might have some early signals of product-market fit. But how do you make that product and the organization you've built stand out?

You have a product you want people to adopt. Now what? Let's think about what makes people adopt products.

Emotion is about the way a product makes you feel like, for example, Gucci Perfume for me.

It's a product that capitalizes on emotional motivation for product adoption like omg I love the way this product makes me feel so I want it.

Simple.

Because People don't care about you and your business, people care about themselves

And they care about you only to the extent that you fulfill their wants and needs. This is what every startup should learn hard way.

Look, it's not cynical — it's a fact. People do not do business with you as an act of charity, or to get in on some of that sweet, sweet value set you got going on. They do business with you because they believe you are adding value to their lives — and how that sweet value set of yours aligns with their own.

Ok so for example, People don't come into the whiskey bar just because it's cool — they come in because they want to feel cool. They don't drink whiskey just because it's "manly" or "strong" — they drink it so they feel manly and strong.

People didn't buy Apple because they liked that Apple "believed people with passion can change the world" (like "oh, now isn't that nice!") No. People bought Apple because they wanted to see themselves as one of those people.

And the success of a business, and its marketing message, is partially figuring out what people want, and partially the promise of fulfilling it

Initially for a startup, making a brand it's very important. But, what's most fascinating is the minimal amount of money One needs to put behind paid advertising. Yes, Do put money behind some YouTube pre-rolls and paid for the amplification of some Facebook video or some blogs, but not to the levels of what the majority of you spend (or would spend) to see the big result. Choose your channel wisely.

This is how most early-stage startups pursue marketing: start an account on Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat, write some articles, cold-blast a bunch of journalists with a press release, and hope for the best.

The most valuable marketing strategy is word-of-mouth recommendation, which happens when a company has enough well-served customers and they have reason to communicate with potential new customers.

The company must initially acquire at least four or five customers within the same small segment to achieve the word-of-mouth advantage.

The difficulty for startups attempting to navigate this marketing world lies in how complex modern-day marketing has become. With Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Adwords, Social Media, Public Relations, and Traditional Media constantly evolving, it can be near impossible for the solo entrepreneur to get the most out of their time and money.

We're going to take a look at some tips for your startup that can help you avoid costly mistakes in the beginning and down the line.

Deliver on your promises

The most forgotten about an aspect of marketing is consistently delivering on whatever promises you are making. If you want people to talk about you in a positive light, ensure you are delivering, always.

smartly frame your marketing. Focus on the people, not the product. Don't just talk about what your product does or why it's superior, show them a compelling picture of how it's going to make their life better. That is what will get people excited.

Treat your customers fairly

The customer is not always right, but they are human. What's more important than just bending over backward to every customer demand is treating customers fairly. This means taking the time to listen to customer complaints and solve them in a way that is fair to the customer. Fair to the customer, not necessarily your business.

Treat your Employees even better

If an employee is happy, they will do a better job. If you run a startup or an enterprise, your job is to make sure you get the right employees and treating them well. Too many entrepreneurs are in a state of panic and fear. They need someone because they waited too long and they are afraid they are going to waste money on an employee that takes advantage of them.

Stop being afraid and start the hiring process before you need someone. And if a customer is being unreasonable to an employee, have your employees back

Starting Your SEO

Because you are reading this on a website, let's assume you understand that the internet is an incredibly valuable resource. So it makes sense that your business can be found by people who are using the internet. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to making this work.

SEO is a long term play. You likely won't see the results from it right away, but the earlier you adopt best practices the more likely you will see your efforts compound over time. Below are a couple of great resources for understanding SEO, but the basics are this. Search engines like google. Bing, and Yahoo! use algorithms to search the entirety of the internet, parse the information to understand what the individual websites and webpages are about, and index it.

Building Your Social Media Presence

Social media is a juggernaut. But you need to understand where your audience resides and how the channels work to truly gain any use from them. Most people assume they need to be on every channel immediately but it's incredibly time-consuming to handle social media accounts on multiple channels properly.

For example, Apple always makes a big deal about announcing new products. But before those actual announcements, their product lines are kept hidden like a great secret. And Apple will do almost anything to protect those secrets.

Another example of how Apple created suspense about a product was when the iPad was getting ready to launch. Speculation and rumors were flying around about Apple's new tablet, but no one knew anything about it. People were so hyped up about it that some even went to the effort of creating realistic 3D mockups of it, in the hope of getting more readers for their websites and blogs. By the time the iPad launched, its reputation had grown to unrivaled proportions.

Take your hottest product and deliberately release a few very carefully selected details about it. The mystery will create a huge buzz amongst your customer base.

Marketing Something Beautiful

I am again quoting Apple because it relies heavily on its image. That is an important key to its success. Consumers know and expect that Apple products will be aesthetically pleasing. If Apple were to suddenly stop launching beautiful products, they would almost certainly see a big drop in sales.

So do release a product your customers will be proud to show off. Don't underestimate the importance of the appearance of your product.

Don't be afraid to go against the norm. If your product is good enough, any doubts about it will soon be dismissed when people realize how clever it is. Ultimately, people will be talking about it and sales will increase as a result.

Know Your Audience

If you've started using social media, you are likely to learn more about your audience. Also, if your product is starting to sell, you should be gathering information about your new customers. If you are an online store, you should be using google analytics. It will help take all that anonymous internet traffic and turn it into useful stats.

The more you know your audience the more you can target them. You'll know what language you need to use and how to find them.

— harness the enthusiasm of your consumers. Make sure you have a way for prospective buyers to sign up for updates. Then ensure those updates offer a link to pre-order as soon as it's possible.

Effective marketing isn't about being everywhere, it's about being in the right places in the most cost-efficient ways possible

Startups at the sprouting stage have limited resources for their whole business. Sometimes, the team just consists of co-founders and other times include 10–15 employees taking care of diverse segments of the business including technology, marketing & operations. Social Media Marketing is also very popular but still is heavily dependent on quality content creation; it becomes difficult to supply a chain of fresh content with limited resources.

When you have constraints, go with the 80–20 rule of Social Media Marketing. Having said that, it means 20% you must have originality in your content and the rest 80% you can drive through the inspiration from your competitors or business in the same niche.

Keep a close eye on the content they are producing and also track the traffic sources which land upon those content. Measuring both these parameters will make it clear if you need that kind of traffic for your business with the specific content. When I say, you need to track — it should include the content platform as well as the marketing platform (social media, email marketing, inbound marketing).

Last but not least: YOU

OK, that's very obvious but most founders miss it, YOU are one of your marketing channels! You can actively promote your product or service through networking, seminars, etc. Whenever you have an appropriate moment, don't forget to say "Hey, by the way, I just launched an app that could be useful for you, go to the App Store and download it. The name is…" Of course, do it naturally!

As I always say, a Self shoutout is very important. I understand how tough it is to get your brand noticed when you do not have much left for marketing after spending most of the money on product development. However, there are some low-cost channels that you can try out. They all require lots of effort and time — I am not going to sugarcoat that but all your hard work will pay off!

Lastly

As with most things in life, What you get out of your branding depends on what you put into it.

The mindset required for building your MVP (minimum viable product) and the mindset of building your brand is different.

What is an MVP?
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.

Branding is about consistency and confidence while developing your MVP is often about experimentation and iteration.

That said, when executed well, your brand can give you instant credibility. Your brand allows you to always be pitching. Your brand will be selling you before you walk into a room, after you leave, and even while you sleep.

If you have any questions about any of the products mentioned above, please leave them in the comments and We at HappyChases will do our best to answer as many of them as possible.

Happy marketing and good luck with your startup!


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