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Marketing your startup
Posted by VP on 09 Feb 2016
Starting your own business is an exhilarating experience. You finally have the chance to control your destiny and find the perfect work-life balance you’ve always craved. For a new business to succeed, however, there needs to be a solid marketing strategy in place.
Marketing a startup presents its own set of challenges. Because resources tend to be more limited, every decision and effort needs to be properly planned and brilliantly executed. It’s not easy, but scores of now-thriving startups prove that it can be done, if you keep a few important rules and guidelines in mind.
Branding that works
A logo is equal parts ambassador and marketing tool. It needs to be appealing, uncomplicated, and easy to remember.
Don’t pack too much detail into the design, as it will make the logo seem cluttered and unfocused. Complex logos also do not translate well across a variety of media: what looks like a work of baroque art on a billboard will lose its impact on a business card. Decide where the logo will be used (business cards, apps, websites, brochures, window signs, etc) and come up with a design that accommodates all of them.
Do keep it simple. Logos that are difficult to remember will not achieve their intended purpose. Research has shown that consumers are more likely to select a product whose logo is simple, legible, and makes the purpose of the product obvious.
Your logo must be unique, attractive, and resonate with the viewer. When they see it, they should instantly associate it with your company. To achieve this result, work with a logo designer who understands your brand and the public expectations of the product or service you sell.
Put together a winning website
Your website is another marketing tool that’s crucial to the success of your business. If it has an appealing design and contains relevant, easy-to-read content, potential customers will conclude that the business is professionally run and has quality goods and services. On the other hand, if the site looks like an amateur designed it, that’s how the business itself will be perceived.
Don’t choose a web designer or agency solely because their bid was the lowest. When it comes to a business website, cheaper is not always better. Similarly, don’t try to save money by having your second cousin’s best friend whip up a site for you, unless they have an impressive design portfolio.
Do hire a web designer who has an attractive portfolio AND understands branding and marketing. When you’re interviewing potential candidates, pay special attention to those who ask a lot of interested questions about your business. This is a sign that they plan to design a site that properly reflects your company, brand, and you. You want to work with a designer who can deliver the results you want while remaining within your timeframe and budget.
If you really are intent on creating your own site but have limited design skills, choose a web host that offers clean, attractive templates that you can easily customise. As soon as your budget permits, get a professional to revisit the website.
The Art of Language
The language you use when describing and marketing your brand contributes significantly to a client’s impression of you. The right words strengthen your credibility, build stronger customer relationships, and deliver results.
Don’t write your own marketing copy if your spelling, grammar, and ability to make a big statement using few words are not all first-rate.
Do work with a professional copywriter who can accurately convey what you offer and why it stands out above the rest. This ‘why’ aspect is especially important, and few companies do it better than Apple, which constantly challenges the status quo. Apple doesn’t just tell you that its Macbooks, iPads, and other products are superior: it also uses compelling language to illustrate why using one will enrich and improve your life in some way. The way people always queue to get the latest Apple product is a testament to the genius of its marketing team.
Customers are not going to understand what’s so great about your business if you can’t deliver that information in concise, appealing language. An experienced copywriter can help you hone your message to perfection.
Shaz Memon, creative director at Digimax.