6 Important Sales and Marketing Tips to Help Your Startup Succeed7 min read

Why do startups fail? If you examine most post-mortem reports of failed startups, you’ll find a lack of proper marketing was a major contributor to their failures. Many startups are unaware of what people really want from a product. As a result, founders push for the wrong features and are unable to attract an audience.

Marketing, when done right, can be a real boost to your startup’s bottom line. This is because sales and marketing help you onboard new customers with ease, improve customer lifetime value, and reduce customer churn rates.

That’s why we’re sharing with you the right sales and marketing tips that can help your business avoid being among the 90% of startups that shut shop.

Here are some of the best sales and marketing tips for startups and small businesses.

1. Define your USP

What makes your product or service better than all the others in the marketplace? That is your unique selling point (USP).

Identifying a unique selling point can be a challenge. You will find businesses pushing for the wrong features, selling a comparison, or fighting to go viral. But these merely make it harder for the customer to identify what separates your business from competitors.

Your unique selling point sets you apart from your competitors. A superior USP is the only way to be remembered in today’s noisy market and have an upper hand.

So how do you lay out your USP?

First, focus on that one feature that makes your product stand out. You can’t talk about every feature. If you do, customers won’t see the immediate value of the product nor its benefit, and pass over.

Remember that our attention span has fallen to a level below that of a goldfish. So, your USP needs to be striking.

If you are struggling with creating a USP, look at your product’s strengths and weaknesses and use those strengths to communicate your unique benefit in your marketing messages. Alternatively, analyze competitors’ USP from their sales and marketing materials and use it for inspiration to create your own. Consider also putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, asking yourself questions such as what benefits they would reap from your product, or what motivates or influences their buying decision.

Once you have found out what your product can do to improve the lives of the end-user, create your sales and marketing strategies. Remember, personalization matters here—to show empathy and create a human connection. Here are a few examples of USP from successful brands for inspiration.

N26Source: N26

WooCommerceSource: WooCommerce

RobinhoodSource: Robinhood

2. Invest in social media

A report by The Harris Poll shows that consumers (55%) visit social media platforms to seek more knowledge about a new brand, while 78% will buy from a brand after it registers a wonderful experience with them on social platforms.

Social media marketing helps to increase brand exposure and site traffic, generate leads, improve relationships with customers, and increase sales (for example, via Instagram shopping).

But growing a brand on social media is not easy. To market your startup effectively on social media:

  • Start by developing and sharing (educative, interactive, and inspirational) content with your audience: these may be text-based, images, or videos on what you do and how your product can be of benefit.
  • Partnering with influencers in what is called influencer marketing. Influencers help expose your brand to a new audience that is not in your network, resulting in more sales and improvement in ROI. Statistics show that influencer marketing brings in $5.78 for every $1 spent.
  • Social media ads: Social media ads are best to start with when using paid advertising. They are relatively cheaper compared to traditional ads and even Google ads.

These are the best ways to engage in social media for the best results. Once you have started these strategies, don’t forget to monitor how your audience is engaging with your brand.

3. Launch a referral program

You have probably already heard it: the best way to promote a product is to let your most loyal customers do it on your behalf. Referrals are just one among many ways to leverage word-of-mouth marketing.

According to one study,92% of consumers will trust recommendations from people in their circle. Besides, referrals have a low cost-per-lead (54%) compared to other channels.

Referrals are your number one tool to generate buzz and more sales. You can as well use referrals to improve customer retention, build trust and credibility, and get more brand advocates.

To succeed with referral marketing, you must integrate your startup with a referral program or software and encourage your advocates on social media, website, app, and on email to tell their circle of friends about your brand.

Remember to reward your advocates with product discounts or gifts to show your gratitude and for them to continue telling their network the reasons to be your customer. Finally, monitor how your audience reacts to your campaigns and leverage analytics in your decision-making processes.

4. Invest in content marketing

According to a survey by Lucidpress, 85% of marketers say they have seen explosive growth in the demand for content. Established brands, Fortune 500 companies, and SMEs are already investing in content marketing. Brands can no longer forgo content marketing because it helps to.

  • Attracts customers and improves customer retention.
  • Reactivate past customers.
  • Expand your ROI as you can sell more to existing customers (e.g., via case studies and white papers).
  • Bring new customers via word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Promote brand awareness and solidify your reputation.
  • Reduces strain on customer support and the sales team (by having FAQs and pricing pages)

The Lucidpress report further reveals that more customers (43%) want to engage with personalized content.

That makes personalization of content an important factor to consider when investing in content marketing. Another is maintaining brand consistency, incorporating stats, case studies, and relevant data besides measuring and tracking your content success.

5. Collect customer feedback and reviews

Can you recall the last time you went to buy something online or checked at an Airbnb? What were the first two things that you wanted to see? Price and reviews, right?

Today, 98% of consumers read a review before making a purchase decision. You can collect reviews on your website, social media pages, or email newsletters and use them to gather intel on how to improve your product and positioning, besides selling your values when the reviews are good enough.

The biggest advantage of reviews and customer feedback is that they act as social proof. Hence, can be used to build trust and even increase click-through rates.

Yes, if you thought reviews only give your brand a poor reputation, now you know their importance in helping you get noticed and building trust, as it shows customers you value their opinion.

6. Smart retargeting

You may have a great product, with all the bells and whistles, but know that not all customers will be attracted to it when they see it or land on your site.

Research shows that 3/4 of shoppers abandon a site without making a purchase. The reason for such high abandonment rates may stream from expensive shipping costs, poor pricing, poor UX/UI, and many more.

The number one way to nudge them back to your site is with retargeting ads. Retargeting ads allow you to follow online shoppers to other online places (social media and even other websites) that they go. They are a second chance to convince shoppers who had expressed interest in your product of the value your product has.

By encouraging website visitors who had previously shown interest in your product to buy, effective use of retargeting ads helps you increase conversion rates.

Disclaimer:  This is a guest post by Alex Garcia is a content editor and writer at Writers Per Hour. She enjoys writing (and reading) about small business marketing, entrepreneurship, and design. When she’s not writing, she’s probably learning a new skill. 

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