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Two business traits: innovation (products/service/modality) and marketing will set up a strong foundation for a successful business. Today, both of these factors are needed to stand out in a noise filled environment constantly muscling for your online attention. The retail and B2B marketing is now heavily digital-centric. These days it is hard to imagine a product that lacks at least one digital component to its marketing dynamic. I'd even go so far as to butcher an old Chinese proverb, if a product exists, but isn't online does it even actually exist?
Digital startups, in the last few years have been heavily revolutionizing the way people have been up taking products. “A startup”, is the present day dream of most of entrepreneurs. Everyone in college or in a dead end job longs to be the next Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Fruit Ninja. What most people don't realise is the road to success to paved with hard work, cunning, lots customer first focused marketing and maybe a few dirty tricks. While it is key to have a great product or service first how you drive it in the market place is equally key, as the road to success is littered with great ideas executed poorly.
Think innovative and start small
Innovation or uniqueness is the key to grabbing customer attention. Come up with an innovative idea, brainstorm with brilliant minds to decide on a product or service that stands out from potential or possible competitors. Sometimes addressing a common pain or just being the polar opposite from other people in the space can set you apart (this is my favourite this to do). Essentially, creating a your own niche. An example of this is the massive worldwide health food craze and the polar opposite Heart Attack Grill.
Going niche first is a good strategy. Create a strong base of advocates then pivote to a more central position...or not stay niche and bring people over.
Garner audience and build rapport
The saying 'it is not what you know, rather who you know' is still true today as it was pre digital. However the difference now is your reach can be 10,000s of times larger and it is scale-able. Social hubs like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Medium, Linkedin etc are highly scale-able channels network and earn followers and engage with them. Win followers by selfless providing good quality content which is customer focused not sales focused. From this position you will earn the right to ask for your followers business(Gary vaynurchuk, 2013).
Use automation to take the work load off you, where there is no need for a human touch. Do not automate engagement, you are missing the point of networking. For example how well would a robot do going door to door selling... not so well I think. So don't do those lame automated messages when people follow you. If you are getting thousands a day, this may not be practical. However more likely if you are reading this you are not. So my suggestion is to reply for real, not group reply, a real reply. One real connection is worth 100,000 bullshit automated ones.
Real engagement gets real business. Fake engagement gets nothing.
The game of following others so they follow you then unfollowing them, is nothing but stupid and based in ego no business logic. In sales total sales, total profit matter how many people you tricked into liking you doesn't count for anything. The I'll follow you and unfollow you later game is stupid for the same reason. If you really want to build a real business you need to build trust and engagement. Two things you 100% won't do, by trying to trick the system. You are only fooling yourself, because at the end of the day your bank account doesn't care how many followers you have.
If your game is to trick people into buying your stuff, by selling yourself as an expert because you have lots of followers (tricked or bought)...you are just a dirt bag. So take a good look at yourself and ask yourself what you really want out of life.
Summary: Quality engagement is the goal.
Note: I am not above or dismissing doing a little fake engagement or prompted engagement. However the end goal should always be real engagement. Engagement is the modern equivalent of getting a call from the yellowpages.
Growth hack your way to the top
There are several well known offline and online growth hacking strategies that can put you in front of your markets attention. We listed some below:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Outbound Marketing
- Viral Marketing
- Offline Events & trade shows
- Offline ads
- Search Engine Marketing etc.
- Door knocking
- Leveraging others
- Cross promotion give aways
- Content marketing
- Live Streaming
Earmark time to invest in each of these strategies and be consistent with at least three of them to ensure that your business startup gets the perfect launch and reflects consistency, which is so vital for success. Consistency is also a metric for rank and a visual Que for users. Users don't want to see 20 BS posts on one day and then nothing for months. One or two good posts a day is gold. Something we are learning more and more is quality truly does trump volume. Nothing is more startling to see than your good posts racing along and then you compromise and post something weaker and you watch it bomb! For us it constantly pushes us to do better each time and it should for you too.
Go haywire with content marketing
Quality Content marketing is one of the essential corner stone methods to thrive and have an effectively marketing strategy on and offline. Make sure you most of your content is user focused. We don't mean you are selling to them from the user perspective, rather you are providing content you market is interested in.
Don't slam your users with detailed sales and specials. Earn their respect with howto guides, behind the scenes info on car events, Driver interviews, Industry leaders interviews. Then ask for the sale.
Don't pitch sales none stop and pitch that others don't care, but you do. Produce tutorials on how to prepare your hair for work, how to get the salon look at home, Useful products and techniques, add value with other co-oped content relevant to your market space. Earn customers trust by showing your knowledge. They will flock to you by default, because they trust you.
In general if you succeed in creating informative and detailed content about topics related to your product or services, then you have a higher probability to increase your conversion rate. The key here is to give something back to the community in terms of information without expecting anything back, be a giver and with time you will reap the fruits of your selflessness (Gary vaynurchuk, 2013). Include strategies like webinars, Live streaming to build rapport with influential bloggers etc with your content marketing campaign. Content can just be topical for your local space also. Being topic to your local market is important too. If something is happening locally that is interesting create content about that too.
For local businesses you should have a good mix of the general/global content and local specific stuff.
Being on trend
Being on trend can slingshot your content many times over. Often I see great content, but it is being posted at the wrong time or sitting dead when it become more relevant again and could have a quick tart up and re-post. Staying on trend is very important and does cross over into the quality aspect of content marketing. Quality does also mean relevance.
For example; If you are selling solar and pushing installation, but the market is a buzz with the latest power increase you are missing the trend. Offering a electricity provider comparison, with an additional solar costing comparison would be far more on topic than hoping customers will make the leap to purchase from a generic benefits of Solar panel installation blog post.
One of the best things you can do is be an active participant in your business. On that thought if you feel this was a good or a bad post we want to hear from you. If you have comments, insight from your own experiences or tips we want to hear from you. Don't be lazy your comment could help someone else out massively or we may spark an amazing conversation that helps many, including yourself. So comment below or comment on the social media platform you find this. We will 100% reply for reals every time!
Gary vaynurchuk, G.V. (2013). Jab Jab Right Hook. (1st ed.). : HarperBusiness.
Jeff bullas. (2016, 9 May 2016). 6 Surprising Ways for Growth Hacking Your Digital Startup. [Weblog]. Retrieved 17 July 2016, from http://www.jeffbullas.com/2016/05/09/6-surprising-ways-for-growth-hacking-your-digital-startup-to-success/
Itbusinessedgecom. (2016, no-date). Six Key Steps to Build a Successful Digital Business. [Weblog]. Retrieved 17 July 2016, from http://www.itbusinessedge.com/slideshows/six-key-steps-to-build-a-successful-digital-business-08.html
Greg satell. (2016, no-date). How To Make Your Digital Business Succeed. [Weblog]. Retrieved 17 July 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/04/06/how-to-make-your-digital-business-succeed/