Like all good marketing, this headline is slightly misleading. These pieces of advice will help you market your start up business, but they’re not miracles. Beyond the buzzwords of growth-hacking, disruption and viral content, there are simple marketing practices that require time, intelligence and a lot of effort but crucially, you can do them on a dime.
Enter the fray
Arriana Huffington (pictured) has made a media empire by syndicating content from producers looking to gain exposure. Anyone who runs a half-decent business, can write or has something to say can get their own blog on HuffPost and potentially have access to millions of readers. As well as linking up with big media organisations, you can drive brand awareness by comment on blogs, engaging with your target audience in person, get stuck in on social media and generally behave like a user. People react to interaction, so you have to start the conversation.
Get a celebrity behind you
Back in 2011, Charlie Sheen teamed up with then little-known internships.com to find himself a #tigerbloodintern. The tweet ended driving over 85,000 applications to internship.com’s site and the publicity surrounding the stunt brought the company to the forefront of their niche sector. Not bad for one tweet.
Cause a fight
When Uber overtly challenged the black cab industry in London and 5,000 cabbies reacted by blocking one of the city’s busiest junctions, Trafalgar Square, you’d have expected them to get a lot of bad press. They did get some mixed reviews but they also saw a nine times increase in the number of app downloads they received in one week. In Silicon Valley, this sort of behaviour is known as being disruptive, and that word is music to the ears of venture capitalists.
All give, no take
Over the last couple of years, Propercorn have built a brand on two things; a strong, simple product and generous giveaways. Their popcorn has been everywhere; high fashion runway goody bags, commuter street corners and all over social media (see above). Although such marketing isn’t free, all it costs you is stock and the brand awareness you build through it is vital to the success of your business. If you truly believe in your product, once people have tried it they’ll never go back, right?
Understand Hofstadter’s law
The much-lauded American professor of cognitive science Douglas Hofstadter (pictured), is famous for the ‘law’ he defined in his 1979 book Godel, Eschel, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. The law states that it will always take longer to complete a complex task than you estimate, no matter how accurate you believe your estimate to be. It might see trivial (and it is tongue in cheek), but it’s a valuable piece of advice. When you come up with a marketing strategy, in order for it to be effective you need to focus ample amounts of time, effort and talent on it. An idea is in itself is worthless without effective execution.
Eat, sleep, repeat
You’ll have heard this before, but…Bill Gates has famously said that he never took a day off in his twenties, “not one”. Marketing is primarily about perseverance in the face of both failure and success. If you succeed; do whatever you did again, improve upon it and scale it up. If you fail; approach your new strategy with the same energy as your last.
Make some friends
The Silicon Valley start-up incubator Ycombinator has made a business out of fostering relationships between start-up businesses who share advice, knowledge and exposure with each other to in order to accelerate their respective success. You can apply the same principle anywhere in the world, build a marketing partnership with businesses a similar size to your own and you can share in their consumer base and, maybe, hang on the coattails of their success if they take off.