Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship

Startup Marketing Tips and Tricks – The Ultimate List

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Many first time entrepreneurs believe that marketing their startup is as easy as setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts and announcing your product to the world. If only it was so easy. Just because there’s a market for your product doesn’t mean people will flock to buy it. You need to differentiate yourself and rise above the noise.

The good news is that you don’t need a huge marketing budget to reach potential customers. In fact, it is typically best to spend as little as possible when starting up to ensure that your product or service really has legs before backing it with larger sums of money.

What follows are some startup marketing tips that have worked for entrepreneurs around the world and can work for you as well.

Tip 1: Create a Great Product

When a product doesn’t sell, many Entrepreneurs blame it on poor marketing. “If we could only get an article on Tech Crunch we would sell 1 million units!” But the best marketer in the world can’t sell a product that no one wants. The most important thing you need to do is validate that there’s actually a market for your product/service before building it. There are a number of ways to do this but the most straightforward way is to simply approach potential customers with your idea and ask if they’d be willing to pay for your product or service. If you’re starting a business without fully validating your idea, you’re taking a big risk and setting yourself up for failure. If you’re interested in learning more about validation, Noah Kagan the Founder of App Sumo goes into great detail about it in this presentation.

Tip 2: Clearly Define your Target Market


Do you really know who your potential customers is? If you haven’t already, create a customer persona by listing their primary characteristics. Make sure you’re very specific. Start by narrowing down your immediate target audience to those who you think will respond to your product. Then list the basic demographics of your customer – age, sex, location, profession etc. Finally, ask yourself specific questions about this person. What does this person look like? (you can even make a rough sketch) What websites does this person visit on a daily basis? Why does this person need your solution in the first place? What pain points is this person experiencing?

After going through this process you should have a good idea of what your customer looks like. Keep in mind that this process takes time to get right, it’s not a 5 minute exercise. Take a day to really map out the customer persona, it’s well worth the time. Only after you fully understand your customer can you effectively market to them.

Tip 3: Leverage Zero Dollar Partnerships


Partnering with established businesses is an inexpensive way to get your product in front prospects that have already shown a willingness to spend money. It also helps lend credibility to your startup. As a startup you have little to no reputation (good or bad) which makes it more difficult to make sales. When a successful company, with a strong customer base, vouches for your product your credibility instantly goes up.

Partnership arrangements can vary widely but the key is finding complementary solutions to yours. At Video Rascal we’ve partnered with Voice Bunny to offer our users access to professional voiceover artists. For us this was a no-brainer. Our customers now have access to voiceovers for their videos and in exchange Voice Bunny makes money when our customers use their service. Partnerships like this one can go a long way in driving sales.

But before approaching potential partners always ask yourself what’s in it for the partner? Why would they partner with me? Once you answer these questions you can more effectively pitch the company on the partnership.

Tip 4: Choose the Proper Social Media Networks

Your target audience will generally prefer certain social media networks over others. You’ll want to start with the social networks that have the greatest percentage of your target audience so that you can maximize your success.  For example, don’t randomly open a Twitter account for your business because you and your friends have one. First, search for relevant keywords to see if people are tweeting about topics that are relevant to your business and industry. You can also search for your competitor names. What are people saying about your competitors? Are customers bringing up issues with their service that your product could potentially solve? How do your competitors interact with their followers?

Marketing on social networks can be a time suck and the return on your time spent can often be minimal. This makes it all the more important that you focus on what really matters, generating SALES! Don’t get caught up on how many Likes or Followers you have. No one cares about that and in the scheme of things all that matters is how many sales you’ve driven through the channel.

Tip 5: Provide Great Content

As the saying goes, ‘Content is King’. Good content helps sell your products and your brand, whether through news articles, blog posts or videos. By providing valuable content you’ll be able to create relationships and gain credibility with potential customers. Once you’ve built up credibility and gained the trust of readers you can slowly begin to sell them on your product. This is why it’s essential that you have a blog on your site. A blog will help drive traffic to your site via search engines and social channels. Keep in mind that it takes time to build credibility with search engines so the earlier you setup a blog the better off you’ll be.

Tip 6: Leverage the Power of YouTube

There is little doubt that YouTube has become an internet marketing force. Two reasons for this are that people prefer watching video over reading text and Google has come to love video. In fact, a recent Forrester Research study stated that your site is 53 times more likely to appear on page 1 of Google’s search results if you have video on your website.

Creating video is much easier than you may think. Software like Video Rascal enables you to create animated videos for a reasonable price compared to the several thousand dollars it would have taken only a few years ago.  And while in the past you were limited to buying expensive commercial time on local TV outlets. Today, you can post your video on YouTube for the world to see for free.

In Conclusion

There’s never been a better time to launch a startup. The size of your marketing budget has no bearing on whether you succeed or fail. The free and low cost marketing tools available today level the playing field and make it possible for anyone to have success marketing their startup.  Hopefully these tips help guide you as you build your startup marketing plan. Remember that there are few overnight successes, and good marketing takes time and perseverance. Good luck and happy marketing!

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Why Adding Video Increases Leads on Your Landing Page

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You spend hours refining and testing, trying to create the perfect landing page. You change call to action button colors, change font sizes and update headlines but is any of this paying off with a meaningful increase in your conversion rate? Probably not. As you know, consumers give you only seconds to wow them or they’re “out of there,” on to the next page.

Your website must grab those visitors, pull them in, and keep them there long enough to communicate your message.  Video is a great way to do this. If you aren’t adding video to your landing pages you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Here’s why….


1. You’re lazy, I’m lazy, we’re all lazy

People are lazy

Let’s face it, when the average person looks at a page of text, that person’s first thought is something along the lines of, “This looks like a lot of work.” A study found that the average web browser reads only 20% to 28% percent of text on a webpage. If you’re spending all your time typing away to fill your page with text, that means 72% to 80% of those words are a waste of your time.

Just as most would rather wait for a movie to come out than read the book it’s based on, your site visitors would much rather kick back and watch a short video than read hundreds of words. In fact, a study from RISMedia found that six out of seven people would rather watch a video than read text. But even that has its limits. Those same lazy people are impatient, leaving you with only a few seconds to let them know your video is worth watching. This means that even your video must be kept short. Clearly articulating the main points at the beginning of the video is vital to keeping the user engaged.

2. Everyone loves a good story

Stories sell because they help humanize products and services. Think about the effective sales people you’ve come in contact with. Whether they’ve sold you something or you work with them, the good ones always have the gift of storytelling. On the web the most effective way to tell a story and humanize your products is to leverage the power of video.

A good video tells a story, not only explaining how a product or service works but WHY it matters. Explainer videos have become popular in recent years because they help to personally connect viewers with a brand. And since explainer videos are designed to communicate a concept within one to two minutes, they are ideal for short attention spans.

3. Sticky gum on your shoe is bad; a sticky website is good 

Sticky website is good

Google can bring customers to your website, but only you can keep them there. We’ve all clicked onto a website, taken a cursory glance around, and backed the heck out of there before we wasted another second of our time. You should have the same respect for your site visitors’ time as you have for your own.

The goal with any landing page is to create a “sticky” website. Research from Comscore shows that videos give consumers a reason to stick around. In fact, ComScore research has found that video keeps site visitors on your landing page two minutes longer than average. Those visitors are also 64 percent more likely to purchase than other website guests. If your video provides information that is relatable and relevant, you’ll up your chances of landing a new customer.

4. The SEO benefits are substantial

In the new era of Google Panda, keywords are no longer ruling search results. Good, quality content has taken over and your videos add to your site’s value when search engines crawl your site. According to Forrester Research, your site is 53 times more likely to appear on page one of search results if you have video on your website. Not only will a video increase your site’s ranking, you’ll have the added benefit of your site showing up in video searches for your topic. Combining your video with small sections of text on your landing page will help increase search engine exposure.

5. Video can differentiate you from competitors

Take a look at your competitors’ websites. What sets them apart? Or, maybe more appropriate, what is it that makes their site look just like any other landing page? Many companies are using the same landing page templates that you are. Imagine that your potential customers are seeing the same thing, and then clicking over to your website. Will yours just blend in with all the others?

Videos can make your page stand out. Luckily for you, many companies have yet to realize the power of video. At least for now, this gives you an edge.  But this won’t always be the case. Chances are your competitors aren’t far behind you, meaning you need to act fast to take exploit this opportunity.

But before you start putting ideas together for your great new video, begin researching options for a high-quality, professional video. Some businesses have found animated videos can be less expensive, while still being attention-grabbing. As video has become more popular on websites, more businesses are offering affordable video options for businesses like yours.

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Tips on Launching a Startup

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This probably goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway… Launching a startup is not easy. About two weeks ago I launched Video Rascal in beta and there’s already been plenty of ups and downs. As I progress through my journey of trying to build a business I’ll take you on the inside and divulge the good, bad, the ugly and everything in between. My hope is that other Entrepreneurs can replicate some my successes and learn from my mistakes.

In the weeks since I launched Video Rascal I’ve learned a lot about myself, and more importantly, the product than I ever could have imagined. Before launch I thought everything was in place for a flawless launch. The site was tested in all browsers, marketing was in place, autoresponders were setup etc. So I hit send on the launch email announcement and……crickets… After months of preparation there was one thing I didn’t pay enough attention to, the email subject line. My email was deposited directly into the Spam folder of hundreds of recipients. Before realizing what happened, the worst went through my mind. Nobody cares about the product, the email registrants were fake, the company is doomed! After a day of panicking I realized my mistake and resent the email with an improved subject line. Lesson learned, don’t use the word “exclusive” in your subject line.

Beyond the subject line here are a few other things I would have done differently.

Share wire frames with outsiders

I’ve received a ton of useful feedback and suggestions on the UI. Much of it now seems so obvious. As is often the case, when working with a product everyday, your view becomes clouded. Things that should be obvious aren’t. Had I simply solicited feedback on the wire frames earlier in the process I could have avoided having to make some of the changes . Next time I’ll share the wire frames with 5-10 people before beginning development.

Email registrants often before the launch

I began collecting emails a year ago, thinking I was going launch in a few months. But as it often does, development kept getting delayed. The longer I delayed the launch the staler the email list got. In hindsight I should have emailed the list a few times before during this quiet period. Even though my launch email open rate was very high (53%) I believe it could have been higher. My data showed that the earlier a user signed up for the email list the less likely they were to open the launch email.

Be prepared to quickly make changes

Being a solo entrepreneur there’s a lot on my plate and a constant need to prioritize tasks. It’s easy to get bogged down with tasks that don’t necessarily move the needle. Looking back I should have been more prepared to act quickly on user feedback. How great would it have been if I could have responded to users with UI updates in a day rather than a week? Had I focused strictly on improving the product during the first week I could have made this happen.

What would you have done differently when you launched your product? Leave a comment and let me know.

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