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5 Essential Marketing Hacks For Startups And Small Businesses

5 Essential Marketing Hacks For Startups And Small Businesses

Feel as if you’re on the waterfront with your commercial aspirations and dreams? Lacking the bucks to help put your business or startup on the map? Fortunately for prospective business owners and entrepreneurs, the environment we live in is becoming more and more digitally intertwined, thanks to our good pal, the internet. How can this help your desired trade? The internet and the ensuing digital transformation has made the ability to employ effective and influential marketing tactics significantly easier and more enjoyable than ever before. Our understanding of conventional media is changing, being replaced by new media trends. The once traditional power of television is shifting to the power of search engines and social media.

So, how can your business exploit the power this contemporary age affords? Check out the list below to see what tools you can easily and readily utilize to get your brand or startup in the eyes and minds of customers.

1. Use Social Media To Your Advantage

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Social Media

    Whether your usual digital interactions involve sharing on Facebook, hashtagging on Instagram, or stalking your competitors on Linkedin, get on all forms of Social Media. Work to integrate all of the different channels and outlets. These networks are where millions of people spend large portions of their day, scrolling the abyss of feeds and posts. Why not get in front of them? Get your business social. Connect with friends. Comment on things and strike up conversations. Just because you might be a concrete company, doesn’t mean you don’t have condolences for a national tragedy or passion about a big sporting event. The key here is to be different. No doubt your competitors are on there too, but if you stand out in a unique sense, your brand’s image will hold more value. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Social media is an experimental field. As budding businesspeople and entrepreneurs, you should know there’s no reward without risk. Investing time or money in a social media campaign is not an option, but a necessity, so get liking.

    To Do:

    • Join the big networks.
    • Like, share, connect.
    • Comment on things, be cheeky (in good taste).
    • Post content. Keep active (this is vital!).
    • Target specific audiences at first and build.
    • Don’t hesitate on using emojis — it helps make your image personal and human. Stats released by Adweek showed that 92% of people use emojis as they feel it expresses better than words do.
    • Most importantly, don’t pester — engage with users strategically

    A tool like buffer gives you control across multiple social channels and makes it considerably easier to execute campaigns and share content.

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    2. Create And Publish Compelling Content

    Your business or startup needs content, and even more importantly, it needs high quality and stimulating content. You can publish things like articles, videos, or infographics on your own personal blog or on your social media channels. If your new venture is a revolutionary dog washing business, it’s no doubt that day-to-day operations involve some compromising and hilarious images of canines — snap, crop, write, and share, then let the vortex of the web and social media do its thing.

    Wet Dog

      Alternatively, if your business trades in finance, produce a video on groundbreaking things your industry does, something that everyday people wouldn’t know or that is potentially lucrative — something share-worthy that offers value to people traversing the web or social media. It doesn’t matter if you think your business or its industry lacks glamour, every trade has a unique story or details. The key when it comes to content is personality and creativity. We all possess those things, the challenge is how you decide to channel it. The rewards can be viral!

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      3. Try Creative Branding

      Having a logo or insignia is a no brainer when it comes to starting your own business or entrepreneurial venture. If you’re short on cash, you can capitalize on cheap alternatives online. Check out services like Fiverr or Zeerk and take advantage of the cheap options they provide in generating logos or graphic designs for businesses. These can help sort your logo and image challenges.

      But how can you market that brand to stand out aside from using social media or publishing content? Never ignore the power of word of mouth. Don’t resort to the usual tactics of branding your logo on USB’s or bottle openers. Actually invest into memorable products. Know a friend going to a big party? Purchase some locally brewed beer, design your own company label, slap it on the front of the bottles, and send him or her with a free six-pack produced by your business. This isn’t a hard thing to do. It’s employing tactics like this that help your business become memorable and stand out. Jump on the trending bandwagon of crazy donuts and design your own company ones and send them to your audience. Creatively marketing your small business or startup brand is a perfect way to get your name out in the open in a unique way.

      4. Use Hacks For SEO

      Unless you having been living under a rock, or your business ambitions only extend as far as setting up shop in a local market, it’s a known fact that SEO is a vital component for businesses. Visibility online, especially in search engines, is key to business development and exposure. Optimizing your company’s webpage to correspond with Google’s algorithm is a must to help put your business ahead of competitors and up the top in search rankings. If you’re not employing an SEO strategy, whether you’re learning the ropes yourself or have invested in an SEO company, you’re more than likely losing out on business or investors to competitors.

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      What simple things can you do to implement SEO?

      1. Make your webpage fast. Compress images and videos using sites like tinypng.com. Google ranks domain speed and usability — an element of their algorithm.
      2. Link your company’s social pages. Google recognizes social business pages as authoritative — higher authority means higher rankings.
      3. Create a Google My Business page. This increases your sites trustworthiness, a component of Google’s search algorithm.

      If you truly recognize the importance of SEO, it is best to outsource it to professionals who trade in the craft. A digital marketing agency can creatively boost the rankings of your business or startup, which can lead to substantial conversions and business exposure. Do your research on a few different SEO agencies and educate yourself on the practice, reading articles and forums, so you know what to look for and who you believe can help increase your visibility. SEO is not a short game, it’s a long-term investment, but the wait is worthwhile.

      5. Be Part Of The Community

      Nothing is more warming than a sense of community. As a local business or startup, get on board helping communal events and festivities. If your company provides a service, how could it help the community in a not-for-profit sense? If it can, it’s a great way to showcase the personality and social heart of your business. Whether it be providing blankets to homeless people or piling up sandbags in the event of a flood, if done in a tasteful manner, helping the community through the resources of your business is a great way to connect with prospective customers within a local community. Companies that engage and help the community distinguish themselves from their competitors. Helping out locally or providing for events elicits opportunities to generate content for social media as well. Help them, help you.

      Successfully marketing your small business or startup will always involve challenges. Old methods can be ineffective and new trends change constantly, making it hard to know where to best channel your time and money. All in all, there are plenty of tactics available at your disposal and the internet, creative branding, social media, the practice of SEO, and community involvement afford endless opportunities to start the conversation about your small business or startup.

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      Last Updated on October 18, 2018

      10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

      10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

      When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

      Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

      People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

      These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

      1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

      Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

      To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

      Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

      When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

      Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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      2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

      Things go wrong when you run your own business.

      Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

      Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

      Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

      Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

      If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

      3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

      Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

      As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

      Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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      After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

      Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

      He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

      4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

      No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

      It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

      You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

      Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

      An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

      5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

      You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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      As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

      Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

      Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

      You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

      6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

      In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

      Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

      • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
      • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
      • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

      By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

      7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

      Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

      As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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      8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

      No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

      Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

      9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

      Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

      If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

      10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

      Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

      Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

      If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

      The Bottom Line

      Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

      Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

      Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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