In marketing, I believe that one must be creative and think-outside-the-norm and challenge themselves on ways to get a message out to the world. I enjoy challenges and overcome them (kicking and screaming at times). Marketing for a startup can be challenging, especially if there is a lack of budget. Being a startup, we really don’t have the multi-million dollar budget to run campaigns to the masses; we started (and still are) local. It is not to say I am an expert at marketing or business development, but just wanted to share my thoughts and advice on my continuing journey with marketing and businesses with Alottazs Labs.
Friends and Family:
This group can be your best starting point, but be careful!!!! Don’t ‘jam’ your idea or product down their throats or ‘pitch’ to them every time you see them. They WILL tune you out and stop listening to you if that’s the only thing you talk about (it may sound mean, but it’s true). Bring it up to them once; say “Hey, I’m getting involved in this project. It’s called_______ and I am really excited about it.” They are your friends and family, they support you and what you do, so they will follow up. DON’T mention anything about the project unless THEY ask about it first. If they ask, keep it simple and brief; don’t get too ‘sales-y’. Simply state: “It’s going really great! We have our website up and starting to get some traffic to it.” Give them the URL and that’s it. If something really huge happens with the project, totally blab about it, your family and friends want to share in with your successes! “We got our first pre-sale!” or “we were mentioned in our first article!” Those are always exciting and should be shared.
For me, I started out having my Twitter and Facebook connected, but overtime I realized that this contradicted my previous statement of ‘jamming’ anything down the throats of friends and family. My Twitter account is used for my professional life; Facebook for friends and family, so all of my tweets about business were ending up on my feed in Facebook. I have since disconnected Twitter and Facebook. Buffer. We use Buffer (http://bufferapp.com) to manage our social media accounts. It’s great because we can link our Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, etc accounts in one spot and send a post to all accounts at the same time; either on the fly or create scheduled campaigns.
I use SurveyMonkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/) to send out a marketing surveys and it is FREE!!!. Again, I kept it simple. I asked 10 very brief questions. Quick surveys will be more likely to be opened and completed. I sent the link out through my social media as well as the startup social media. If my friends and family asked about progress, I mentioned the survey and asked if they could take it and send it along. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking people to share information, it’s your bread and butter with zero-to-no budget! Google Analytics. I use it daily!!! I am able to track so much data. It can tell city and state or country the user is accessing our website from. What type of device: iPhone, Android, Tablet, etc. Google Analytics tells me how much time they spend and on what pages. It’s my favorite tool at the moment. MailChimp. We use MailChimp for our email campaigns. We are able to track how many subscribers we have, when they subscribed, and also other subscription trends. We are able to create separate lists of subscribers and mail out to those lists. When I email campaign has been created and sent out, we are able see the open-rate, click-rate, and other trends and analysis.
Get involved….as much as you can. At Alottazs Labs, we are gearing up for our convention season to feature our product, Garageio. We are doing local home and garden shows around Columbus, OH. This will give us a chance to get our name into the community and to share Columbus the innovation that is happening in THEIR city. Don’t be afraid to speak up about your product or company to strangers. I try to find a way to bring it up in conversation, but again not sound like a used-car salesperson. User groups. This is an area that I will be pursuing in the New Year. I have found some user groups that relate to our product and they are ALWAYS looking for presenters. This is a time to get technical and in-depth because you will be around an audience to receive that message. Talk about the development process or tools that you have used. Everyone likes free education and advice.
Location, Location, Location:
We has a company felt it important to stay domestic for our parts AND services for Garageio. We use this as a selling point and (to be honest) need to use more of this strategy. Consumers are smarter and make more educated buying decisions now. With smartphones and tablets, they can look up any product they want and read specs, reviews, and all other types of information. I feel it important to be transparent about where you are getting your parts and where/how you are conducting other business.
I wish everyone the best of luck. Thanks for reading!