Quick Guide to Marketing for Startups

Marketing is the last step in building a business empire from the ground up. It is the proof that your product is perfect, your customers are happy and you have some cash to spend. Getting a potential customer’s attention is 50% of the equation- the other half is retaining that customer. It is easy to splash around, pay for signs, and be done with it. But as entrepreneurs, we are smarter than that and know that a great product keeps the customer coming back.

There are countless ways to get your message out, some more effective than others. Some are free and some are costly. Some may work for your competitors but not for you. The one thing you can be sure of is that if you approach a marketing firm, they will want to get as much money out of you as possible. And sure, without marketing firms we wouldn’t know what the Dos Equis man was up to or how high Nikes can make us jump. But they might not be right for you. Below are some tried and true concepts for marketing your business, no matter the size or product.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat

It sounds obvious, but few companies have a great social media game. Excuses range from out of touch executives to too many apps to keep track of. As young, hungry entrepreneurs though, there is nothing that can’t be tackled. First, you need to decide what will work best for your company. If you are a lawyer, an Instagram account doesn’t make much sense but a Facebook account does. If you are selling lemonade, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are all a great idea. Generally, products can span all platforms while services stick to Facebook and Twitter. This is for two reasons. First, updating these accounts takes time, an entrepreneur’s most precious commodity. And second, an account that isn’t updated at least twice a week looks sloppy and sad and may have the opposite effect. Instagram and Snapchat should never have more than 48 hours between posts. Facebook and Twitter are a bit more forgiving in that they are designed to host static content as well as fresh, interactive content.

How To Run A Successful Ad Campaign

You should think twice then another few times before you put money into a specific marketing platform. Be it Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, Google ads or a pop up shop on Madison Avenue, you want to exhaust every opportunity to reach your market before you put money into advertising. By asking yourself what the competition is doing and what they haven’t done, you will understand why they are doing it and what you can be doing better. It’s tough to go head to head with an established competitor. Ploys like guerrilla marketing have been popular forever and if done properly can be inexpensive and very effective. However, if you and your product are more conventional, an ad campaign may be the way to go. The following are a few neat tricks to help you get your ad campaign started. First, advertising platforms such as Google Ads, Linkedin or Facebook ads are extremely customization, allowing you to reach the smallest segments. Make sure you know how to use the platforms like a pro and you know exactly who your market is. If it’s everyone, that’s fine, too. But start small, with the most obvious customer. Second, make sure your timing is right. Will they buy your product at that time of year? The world is cyclical. Tap into the market at the right time. Lemonade sells better during the summer. Finally, test and retest. Don’t be afraid to test your slogans or marketing ploys on your employees or friends and family before you pay for them to be in bright lights in Times Square or on the downtown 6 train. Marketing, no matter the platform, is expensive and you want to get it right the first time.

Some Great Alternatives To Typical Advertising

People love free stuff. If you can afford to, get out on the street and give away your product. If you have a service, offer it to friends and family at a discounted rate. If your product is good, people will use it again AND pay full price.

Another great option are work-share spaces like WeWork. Instead of paying $300 for a month-long ad on Facebook, try joining WeWork ($45/month online) or the dozens of other popular work-share programs. With literally hundreds of thousands of eyeballs logging into these worksites every day, you can not only pitch your product in a comfortable forum, among other entrepreneurs who know what it’s like, but you can also get great advice and build a strong community that will help you sell, while you sell! People love getting behind products they like. There are no ads allowed on these sites, so any items pitched through the community chatboards are already more trusted and less maligned than an online ad.

Also, wear a T-shirt! It sounds stupidly simple, but you are your own best billboard. T-shirts are quick, inexpensive and they unify your team.

Advertising Don’ts

There are plenty of ways to mess up an advertising opportunity. For starters, and it can’t be said enough, make sure your product is working perfectly! You only have a few seconds before a person decides they like your product or not. No matter how great your marketing campaign is, if the product isn’t working for them on the first try, you’ll never get them back. Also, don’t over promise. If you are selling lemonade, sell the lemonade. It won’t give you an A+ in Algebra, but it will taste darn good. That’s enough for most people to buy a product. Another common mistake is the undersell. Make sure your ad says exactly what your product is. Huge companies like American Express and Nintendo can keep you on the leash asking, what is that next amazing product?! But most entrepreneurs are working with a limited budget, which means limited words. You can be clever with your ad while saying exactly what you do. And finally, deliver on your promise. Yelp is so popular because it finally gave people the ability to judge. People like things that work and they will positively review them time and again. All you have to do is make sure your message is aligned with your product, your product works, and your advertising will work. 99 times out of 100, quality win’s the day.
Exceed Network is Here to Help!

Need a better marketing plan? Want more tips on how to market your product or service best? Exceed is here to help! We will put you in touch with a marketing expert to help you get where you want to get. Please email us at or call (347) 934-6600.


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