Marketing Lessons for Startups, Small and Medium Businesses

Newly starting business owners have a lot of departments to juggle - sales, inquiries, meetings, investments, staff, and the business as a whole. While doing a great job handling the business, marketing is something a lot of business owners struggle with. It’s understandable as there’s a new thing coming out every week in marketing, Businesses frequently fear or dislike the phrase "experimentation". Having a defined marketing strategy might not be at the top of your priority list if you're just starting out which can be quite overwhelming.

Are you a startup or small and medium business that does not have the budget to get an agency to work on your marketing? Are you trying to figure out how you can compete with the big names in your business? If you want to be able to compete with your bigger rivals, you need to make sure that you are following the same steps they are. To help you with this, we have put together a series of posts of marketing lessons that businesses like yours need to learn. We aim to address this pain point and help new business owners get started in the right direction. Hence, we list out the steps we typically follow for our clients.

Marketing Lessons for Startups & SMBs

  1. Find your target audience
  2. Finalize your USP (Unique Selling Point)
  3. Ensure a great customer experience
  4. Have a mindset to experiment with different ideas
  5. Build a strategy/roadmap
  6. Interact with your customers
  7. Introduce and implement a feedback loop

Marketing Lessons for Startups & SMBs - 1 FIND YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

"Those who talk to everybody talk to no one.”

This is a quote we’re all familiar with. Surprisingly, it applies to marketing as well. Having ‘everyone’ as your target audience for your business will do more harm than good. Your product/service is most beneficial to a specific demographic. Determine who your audience is and what you want to say to them. 

Your product/service benefits a certain group of audience the most. Identify the audience and target them.  Creating user personas is a great approach to narrow down your target audience. Doing this will help you identify your niche and serve that particular audience to grow your business.

93% of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals segment their database by buyer persona.

- MarketingInsider Group

Here’s what a typical user persona template includes:

user persona, customer persona, ideal customer persona

Marketing Lesson for Startups and SMBs - 2 UNIQUE SELLING POINT (USP)

“Let’s offer discounts or competitive prices to attract users.” 

This is something every business owner thinks of when it comes to promoting their business.

unique selling point usp

Offering discounts and sales is a great strategy. However, it creates a habit for the user and restricts them from paying the full price ever. This is something you definitely do not want. 

Alternatively, work on creating a value proposition, or unique selling point (USP). Understand the customer’s pain point and offer a solution to that. This will also help you get a competitive advantage and help you understand where your product/service stands.

Marketing Lessons for Startups & SMBs - 3 CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. - Kevin Stirtz

Your customer is your biggest marketer. Think about it. If they are happy with the experience of doing business with you, they promote it among their friends, family, and other folks. If they are not happy, you lose a chain of customers.

customer reviews

Customer Service Experience is a huge part of your marketing and business. Your customers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience.

Make sure their journey is smooth and easy when they are using your product or when they are navigating your website.

68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences. - HubSpot
Nearly three out of five consumers report that good customer service is vital for them to feel loyalty toward a brand. - Zendesk

Marketing Lessons for Startups & SMBs - 4 EXPERIMENT

Every marketer should have experimentation as the biggest, most powerful tool in their arsenal. - Shaifali Nathan, Google

Businesses frequently fear or dislike the phrase "experimentation" in their early phases.

Understandably, business owners are skeptical about experimenting when it's still in its early phases. Others may be stumped as to where to begin.

We're here to assist you. We build marketing strategies for startups and SMBs to help them achieve their business goals.

Businesses frequently worry about whether or not a particular strategy or method will help them reach their objectives. Experimentation aids in the discovery of the best solution.

Experimenting with fresh ideas can lead you down paths you wouldn't have considered otherwise.

Set aside a portion of your marketing budget to try out new audience segments, content, or marketing materials. You never know what will work unless you put it to the test.

More often than not, businesses keep wondering whether or not a certain strategy or path might work to achieve their goals. Experimentation helps you find the answers you're looking for, backed by data. Hence, helping you in building your strategy.

To put things in perspective, running 15 ads per year will increase your ad performance in the same year by 30% and 45% the year after. (By Google)

A confidence booster for you: Google reserves 20 - 30% of every campaign budget for testing.

Marketing Lessons for Startups & SMBs - 5 HAVE A STRATEGY

You can’t just “wing it”. You can’t simply run a business and see how it goes. You need to have a plan in place and know what you are looking for. That is what marketing strategy is all about, and that is why you need one.

Marketing Lessons for Startups & SMBs - 6 LET YOUR CUSTOMERS/AUDIENCE SEE WHO YOU ARE

Having a defined marketing strategy might not be at the top of your priority list if you're just starting out. However, you must have a plan in place. Without a strategy, it's like not bringing an umbrella with you when you walk out knowing it's likely to rain.

Here's a helpful hint to help you develop your marketing strategy.

Set short-term goals for each team, such as sales, business development, marketing, and so on, in addition to your North Star Metric (the ultimate goal you want to reach). This will assist you in creating a road map and ensuring that you stay on track with it.

A marketing strategy that is written down is twice as effective as one that is not. It will assist you in determining results, identifying what is working and what is not, and assist you in determining what is working and what is not working.

Marketing Lessons for Startups & SMBs - 7 HAVE A FEEDBACK LOOP

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” - Bill Gates, Microsoft

Another huge step for Startups and SMBs is to address customer complaints/feedback.

It's natural for first-time founders or business owners to think that their audience loves their product/service. While you may be receiving positive responses, there will be some that are not fully happy with their experience.

Respond to your customers' comments immediately and ask them what would improve their experience. This will let the customers know that you care about their feedback and earn their trust.

Ask them specific questions:

  • What did you like the most about the product/service?
  • How did it help you?
  • How would you describe the buying experience?
  • What is your main goal with the product/service?

Having a feedback loop will help you optimize your product to its best.

We hope you found our article about marketing lessons for small and medium businesses that do not have a budget to hire an agency useful. Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, whether a start-up or a small or medium business. Without a marketing strategy, even the best products and services will not be able to gain the market share that they require for long-term success. We hope our advice will help you get the results that you need, and that you found our article to be helpful. If you have any other questions or concerns about marketing, we provide a 15-min free consultation to help businesses understand their marketing needs. Thank you for reading, we are always excited when one of our posts can provide useful information on a topic like this!

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