Growth Hacks: 4 Tips for Successful Startup Marketing

by Brian Carey on October 1, 2013
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Few business disciplines are as important as marketing, particularly for startups. Put simply, you’ll need to market your products and/or services better than your competition does in order to get your company off the ground, foster growth, and become profitable.

To that end, here are four marketing tips for new entrepreneurs.

1. Pick the right brand name. Amazon is a household name for reasons that have nothing to do with the river. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos chose a brand name that’s easy to remember, relevant to geography, and begins with an “A,” so it ranks high in alphabetical lists. Bezos also reportedly chose the name Amazon because it was “exotic and different.” Hundreds of billions of dollars later, it’s clear that he made the right call. Remember, a good brand name is unique, short, and free of negative connotations. Sometimes, it is even beneficial to follow that lead of the pharmaceutical companies and enlist the aid of a linguist to craft a catchy brand name based on the characteristics of the product or service offered.

2. Try native advertising. Native advertising is a form of (mostly) online advertising that relates directly to the user’s experience. For example, BuzzFeed hosts advertisements that resemble the site’s articles, the only difference being that the ad copy appears in colored boxes instead of on the news feed’s plain white background. This stealthy form of advertising doesn’t appear as “sales pitchy” as banners and embedded videos do. Native ads work because they engage potential customers within a context that they voluntarily access and regularly enjoy.

3. Choose the right social media channels. Not all social media sites are created equal: What works on one channel may not work on another. For example, Facebook would be an inappropriate place to post brief, frequent updates. If that’s how you plan to handle your marketing, use Twitter instead. Facebook is better for less frequent multimedia updates. B2B businesses should consider using LinkedIn for their social media marketing efforts. Have a lot of photos to share? Consider using Pinterest.

4. Use trending topics to create buzz. Savvy marketers occasionally rely on “newsjacking,” which involves reacting to current events to promote a brand. You can do this with blog posts (or other content) and social media updates. Experts advise you to tread lightly, especially if the recent news concerns a tragedy. That said, some businesses use the tactic quite effectively by following breaking news around topics related to their work — especially videos, research reports, and white papers.

Brian Carey is a business writer for Intuit who is passionate about solving small business problems.

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