Entrepreneurs have a hard job, during the startup phase they usually have to manage every aspect of their business. That means being Marketing manager, HR manager, Sales Manager, Finance Manager and I am sure you get the picture…
Given the diverse stresses and strains an entrepreneur finds him or herself subjected too, it is pretty easy to make some common mistakes, especially early on in a new project.
Sadly, a large proportion of new business ventures fail and the most common reason for this is poor cash flow caused by inconsistent sales. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that as a startup you get your marketing right from the outset! Here are some common early stage pitfalls to avoid.
5. Failure to Research the Market
A lot of startups are founded around an early product idea. The founders come up with a product that they really like or think solves a problem in their lives and try to bring it to market. This is a great driver for innovation. However, for an idea to scale, there needs to be a market for the product and just because a couple of founders like something, does not mean that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who feel the same.
The purpose of market research is not to throw a bucket of cold water on an idea although that might happen if all the research comes up negative. The real purpose should be to hone the idea into something that the market really wants and to establish the viability of its niche and educate the founders on where to pitch their product.
4. Failure to Identify Target Audience
Linked to the previous point about market research is the enthusiastic notion that “there is no reason to limit the number of people who might want to buy a product so why limit the spread of your marketing messages by targeting them?” So many entrepreneurs rationally assume that a scatter gun approach to messaging will be affective, trying a little bit of everything to try and hit the most people possible.
The reality is that there is a target market for every product, even toothpaste and sliced bread. If you want your marketing energies and funds to be effective you must know exactly who your audience is. Narrowing down your audience enables you to refine your campaigns and make them a whole lot more effective.
3. Not Engaging Audience
Do you know any people that you never hear from unless they want something? My guess is that you don’t like them very much. So don’t be that guy! The secret to keeping customers engaged with your brand is to send them engaging branded messages that are not directly related to a sales pitch. Add value to their online life through well thought out content marketing. Engage with your customers on social media and become a part of their daily life and you will be the first brand they think of when it comes to buy again.
2. Selling Product Features
This is the most common marketing mistake I come across in online marketing. Product focused entrepreneurs tend to fixate on their product attributes. They get really excited about features. Now founders intrinsically understand the benefits that these features bring but they sometimes struggle to communicate these to the buying public.
Power users and fans may be able to implicitly understand benefits from a features list but the majority of customers will need to be helped to understand how your product makes their life better. That is done by selling the benefits, applying the use case for each feature to the audience and illustrating how it helps them. Do this and you will sell!
1. Not Understanding Their USP
You do have a USP! Once you have started trading and selling product, your USP will have created itself even if you didn’t set out with one in mind. It is of course better to carve out your niche and sculpt an ideal USP but whatever your USP is, it is vital that you identify it.
Understanding your USP enables you to answer the most important purchasing question of all. “Why?”
When someone has a choice of buying from you or another competitor, your USP will be the decider. Maybe you are the cheapest, maybe you are the best or perhaps the most reliable or a heritage product. Whichever it is, you need to identify it and nail down your brand message around it.
The thing to take away from this is that each of these mistakes are borne out of good things like confidence, passion and adventurousness. Those are such important attributes for an entrepreneur to have, they are the spark that drives people to set up businesses. I hope that anyone reading will feel more confident about marketing their business and that keeping these five common mistakes in mind will help them become even more successful.