Great businesses separate themselves from the pack not with just great products, but with great marketing strategy and execution as well. We’ll explore key things exceptional entrepreneurs do differently with marketing to help your business grow.
1. Invest in marketing
Too many early-stage startups mistakenly invest all of their funding in product development and treat marketing as an afterthought. Inbound marketing is a way to find your target customers when they’re looking for the solution that you have to offer.
When you’re dealing with a shoestring marketing budget, it’s easy to skip over the marketing piece and assume your product will grow organically or “go viral.” With the exception of a few notable cases, viral growth is a result of proven growth hacking strategies and rarely never happens.
A zero-dollar and zero- resource marketing budget cannot scale your customer base. Successful entrepreneurs know marketing is a key piece of any go-to-market strategy; few business can grow without it.
2. Focus on growth, not output
Seeing measurable results when you’re a solopreneur or small team takes time and energy. That’s why it’s so important to focus on the most impactful projects first. Growth marketing is the practice of using data to focus on revenue instead of output.
When you’re first starting out, focusing on the projects where you’re seeing the most traction, interest, users or revenue, will be the most likely to produce results. Asking yourself, “Why am I doing this?” before delving into resource intensive tactics gives you a baseline to test your activities against.
Are you trying to build inbound links to improve your search engine ranking for particular terms? Generate new leads by speaking at an event? Write your hypothesis in bold and track its success. Prioritize successful initiatives while letting everything else drop by the wayside.
3. Follow through on marketing initiatives
Lack of follow through leads to a costly “zombie wasteland” of half-done marketing projects. It’s easy to get pulled in a million different directions with marketing. Many entrepreneurs get distracted with the the latest trends.
Implementing one initiative and seeing it through to actionable results is usually more impactful than half-completing ten. But following through to actionable results does not necessarily guarantee success.
As discouraging as it is to witness a failed marketing campaign, it does give you valuable information on what doesn’t work so you don’t waste more money and energy in the future. As Derek Sivers pointed out in 2009, “ideas are just a multiplier of execution.”
A brilliant idea with poor execution is worth a 100x less than one with brilliant execution. This is as true for marketing as it is for products. Poorly-executed marketing campaigns are worth much less than a well-executed campaign, even if it’s not particularly unique. Successful entrepreneurs follow through and track the results.
4. Know when to outsource
Successful entrepreneurs focus their energy on the things they do best, and outsource the rest. There are two cases in which you would want to outsource work. First, low-level or unskilled labor, second expertise that you don’t possess.
Sometimes, justifying the cost of outsourcing tasks you could easily do yourself is challenging. Taking the what is my time worth? quiz can help provide some clarity around this question. Is it worth it for you to spend hours doing internet research when a freelancer from Upwork could do it just as well at a much lower hourly rate?
In programming, there’s the concept of the 10x developer. It theorizes that an exceptional developer is 10 times more productive than his pretty good counterparts. In marketing, hiring an expert can save you 10 times the amount of time it would take you to complete the same task.
Furthermore, a marketing expert can create 10x more effective marketing campaigns. Exceptional marketing consultants work with niche clients and they come with a wealth of experience and best practices.
Successful entrepreneurs delegate tasks that are both too unskilled and too skilled for them to handle, they spend their time on the tasks they are best equipped to do.
5. Rely on the right marketing tools
The right marketing tools are an entrepreneur’s secret weapon. The right tools give you the marketing intelligence required to surpass competitors and be more efficient. Not every marketing tool is out of reach for smaller companies. Many tools have free or inexpensive versions.
Some of the best marketing intelligence tools are SEMRush, which helps companies do keyword research and tracking on nearly any website, including your competitors; Rank Signals, which allows you to peek into any website’s backlinks for free; and Screaming Frog, an SEO spider which helps you crawl up to 500 pages for free.
Successful entrepreneurs also invest in tools that help them to be more efficient. Marketing automation platforms like Mailchimp or Hubspot takes the labor out of sending emails, while Edgar helps marketers automate their social media marketing; and Redbooth helps entrepreneurs organize and assign projects for their team.
Growing a business is challenging, especially in the early stages. The most successful entrepreneurs:
tackle their startups with focus and follow through,
invest in marketing and the right marketing tools, and
outsource projects that don’t suit them to focus on the ones they’re good at.
Applying these tactics to your business, no matter what stage you’re at, will help you accelerate growth. Want to learn more growth marketing secrets to grow your revenue? Download the prescriptive guide here.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Credit © Derek Yarra Photography
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