9 Sales and Marketing Tips for Startups

Marketing done right can be an incredible boon for your business’s net income. Done wrong, however, it can feel like throwing money into a raging bonfire. Because small business owners have to be whatever their small business needs — all the time — it can be difficult to master all the nuances that go into sales or marketing. If you’re not a natural salesperson, it can be even more difficult. Fear not, the following nine marketing tips for start-ups can help you make more sales, market better and waste less money.

Sell the benefit, not a comparison.

How you market yourself is all about highlighting what makes you different. There are three major ways to do that.

Cost (you know how to price a product better than the competition)

Quality (you’re better)

A combination thereof (you offer the better value)

But how you sell yourself is different than how you market yourself. You can tell someone that you provide a product or service that is cheaper or more effective than that of another business, but that doesn’t say how much better you are going to make the customer’s life.

Selling is about the benefit. A comparison may highlight the features you offer, but you are always selling benefit.

Listen to your customer.

Sam Walton, WalMart’s famed mass retail titan, started his empire in rural America. This was despite the prevailing business logic saying a mass retailer anywhere but in a city with a concentrated population would fail. The logic was, if you wanted to move mass quantities of goods, you needed mass quantities of people.

But Walton knew his customers because he would frequently listen to them firsthand. He was aware that people who lived in rural and suburban areas often bought in larger quantities because they had larger families or needed more goods to keep their own small businesses stocked and running. Walton listened to his customers, and the result is the largest, most powerful brick and mortar retailer in the world. The customer may at times defy logic, but they are always right. Listen to them.

Market your product before it’s ready.

Some businesses wait until their product is perfect before they do any marketing or awareness campaigning. That can be a costly mistake. Many businesses expect to sell their product as soon as it’s ready. But if no one knows about it, then demand will start at zero until you undergo a marketing campaign to build brand awareness for potential customers.

It’s better to do pre-emptive awareness campaigning, even if it’s minimal, to let potential customers know your product is coming. You can sell the benefit before the product has arrived. This way, when the product is ready, so are customers!

Think outside the box.

The marketing landscape has dramatically changed since I started my first business more than 30 years ago. Back then, there were no search engines or social media platforms. There was no internet as we know it. Now, start-ups can utilize a bevy of free, online marketing techniques that are both creative and effective. [...]


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