Marketing Tips for the New Entrepreneur

Effective marketing is the key to success for all businesses. It's especially important for new entrepreneurs and their fledgling companies to get it right.

The road to small business failure is littered with businesses that had great products and services to sell but somehow never found the right way to get their message across to consumers.

Although there is no single path to success, following certain tried-and-true marketing suggestions can help ensure that your new enterprise survives the difficult start-up phase and goes on to compete successfully in the marketplace.

Here are a few tips that might get you and your company headed in the right direction:


  • Identify Your Market - Rare is the product or service that has truly universal appeal, although most new entrepreneurs would like to think that theirs are exceptions to this rule. Carefully evaluate the product or service you're selling, paying particular attention to the market segment or segments most likely to find a use for what you're selling. If your product is something most likely to appeal to consumers in a specific age group or geographic location, you should pinpoint this market before you spend any money trying to sell it. Once you've clearly identified your target market, you can tailor your marketing message to speak directly to that audience and not the world at large.

  • Pick Media Strategically - If you're typical of most new entrepreneurs, your budget is limited and probably already somewhat depleted by the costs of product research and development. It's therefore critical that you pick the media most likely to reach your target market. For example, social media is an incredibly effective marketing tool, but it's not necessarily the best way to reach seniors, many of whom steadfastly resist joining the computer age. If you're marketing to older consumers, you might do better with a print advertisement in a publication distributed to people in that age bracket. If, however, you have a youth-oriented service, social media is both inexpensive and likely to reach a large segment of your intended audience.
  • Keep It Simple, Stupid - In crafting marketing materials, be they print ads, local radio commercials, or a Facebook fan page, don't overreach or spend so much time gussying up your presentation that it obscures the product or service you're trying to sell. Present your message clearly and in easy-to-understand language. If you're developing a marketing plan in house, search out the grammar and spelling experts on staff so that your finished product can be thoroughly vetted before it goes live. Don't shoot yourself -- and your marketing campaign -- in the foot by allowing spelling or grammatical errors to creep into your advertising. Check and double-check.

  • Consider Aesthetics - Make your marketing presentations as visually appealing as possible. This doesn't mean adding unnecessary frills or design elements that will detract from your core message. Take your time and spend the money to design an advertisement, website, social media fan page, or local TV commercial that's easy on the eyes. It will pay off in the end.

  • Establish an Identifiable Brand - When you think of some of the most successful products on the market, you're likely to be reminded of those products' advertising slogans and product logos. Find a symbol that represents your company's product line or overall mission and incorporate that symbol into all marketing materials. Also search for a succinct phrase that sums up your company's message, and use that throughout your marketing campaign. Remember, of course, that the goal is to select symbols and slogans that will live on long after their initial introduction. If you don't yet feel right about either one or both, wait until the right idea comes along.

  • Show Them, Don't Tell Them - A marketing campaign that's built on little more than a string of superlatives about your product or service is almost certainly bound to fail. Potential customers want to see how a product works and how that product can make their lives easier. In online marketing presentations, maximize your use of videos, slideshows, and other visual aids to show what your product can do and how it does it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a cleverly crafted video is truly worth millions.

  • Build a Customer Service Infrastructure - If you have faith in what you're selling and accurately convey that message to your target audience, prospective customers eventually will come knocking at your door, at least virtually speaking. Be prepared! Nothing will turn off a potential buyer more quickly than long, frustrating waits to place an order or to make an inquiry about one of your products. Make sure that your website has the capacity to handle a reasonable level of customer traffic. For customers who may try to reach you by phone, be prepared to handle the customer service end of your business as expeditiously and courteously as possible.

Hopefully, these general suggestions can help you to put together a marketing plan that then can be tailored specifically to your product or service.

If you have some marketing tips that have proved successful for you, let us know so that we can share them with others.