[caption id="attachment_26226" align="alignright" width="324" caption="Heather Prandini and Aly Anderson"][/caption]
SANTA ROSA – The Engine is Red and Notion:Creative give tips to small business owners on startup and do-it-yourself marketing.
Think before your speak
At its core, marketing and advertising are about creating conversations that start relationships. Many companies make the mistake of focusing on which megaphone they want to use rather than figuring out what they are going to say. Take the time to hone down who you are, who are you talking to, and why they want to work with your company. The answer to these basic questions is the foundation of your brand and your messaging.
Seduce your pre-customers
You can learn a tremendous amount of marketing truth by the study of romantic relationships. It is all about communication. Take your time to find the right prospects and begin a conversation, adjust how you talk and what you are saying to who they are. Spend more time listening than talking, and don't be afraid to ask for the second date.
Focus on what you're great at
As an entrepreneur you probably have to wear many hats during the startup phase, accounting, sales, marketing, customer service, etc. Make sure that you are spending your time wisely, and getting the biggest results for your time investment. If you have a natural talent for writing and communicating, focus on sales and marketing messaging. Even with tight budgets it's important for a new venture to know when to bring in help. If it's not your natural talent, find the right partner to get you there.
Quality over quantity
Many start ups don't have the advertising budget they would really like, and usually have to make some tough choices and cuts to their plan. One common mistake is to execute a lot of small quick campaigns across many platforms, a 1/4 page ad in a local paper, a 2 week radio campaign, a coupon mailer, etc. It is far more effective to prioritize your media plan, and start with what you can afford to do really well. Creating a powerful and constant single campaign will deliver better results than three smaller, poorly executed ones.
Before you instantly jump into spending your whole budget on bigger ad campaigns, make sure you have creatively evaluated some non traditional approaches. Whether it’s the advent of some surprisingly affordable digital approaches or some low cost guerilla tactics, spend wisely. Take the time to get to know your customer, and why they would choose you, and then focus on their day to day lives. Brainstorm ways you can cost effectively interact with the right person, at the right time, with the right message.
Identify your client
Know your market: know who you are targeting and know your competition. Who are your existing, potential and ideal clients; research what's happening in your industry on a local and national level; fit into what's happening but carve out a niche that highlights your uniqueness and sets you apart.
Create a brand