But first, something of a confession. For those of you that have read this entire series of ‘A Mentor’s Perspective’ you might remember that in the second article I wrote about how to work with a mentor and how to choose one in the first place. I have also said that I personally am both a general and a Fintech mentor and that my background is more in finance than in sales and marketing. The area of sales and marketing is both wide and complex, and like any other aspect of your business it depends on the specific characteristics of your product or service, together with your market, as to how you would go about marketing and maximising sales. To help you identify what is best for your own business it is best of course to discuss matters with a mentor or other expert with relevant expertise.
There are, however, some things to research and some very easy questions that should be asked first about your particular product and market:
The initial research is vital. Once you have a good idea of the answers to the questions above, you can then start to turn your attention to how your product is best marketed. You should of course start with the ones that any business should have, such as a good brand, logo, and design, and this should all be incorporated into a very professional looking website. The domain name must be either the company name or maybe something with a very obvious link, and the site should be clear and easily navigable, and load quickly on both computers and smartphones. In writing the wording it is important that the site’s ranking on Google searches is considered so you need to understand how SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) works. Along with a website, make sure that you use social media to the best advantage also.
Depending on your product and the target client, different types of marketing will have the biggest effect and, just as importantly, the biggest return on the cost. These range from the basic and more general steps to the more sophisticated and targeted techniques, but remember how important it is to fully analyse any marketing spend in order to understand what actually works best for you. Whatever size your business is most companies should be looking to spend at least 5% of turnover on their various marketing campaigns.
Here are just some marketing methods an early stage business might use as well as a website:
Having set out the building blocks it is important to put all this into context. Have a defined strategy and know exactly what results you are looking for from each type of marketing activity, that is, maybe brand awareness from one campaign and a specific number of new clients from another. That way it is easy to measure what works and what does not. Give each campaign time to work but don’t keep pushing a very obviously dead campaign, so set a time limit to assess progress. Make sure that any staff or partners are aware of any marketing that you are doing as this may provide added leverage. Lastly, be bold and brave. If the campaign fails it will be forgotten about very quickly but it is the braver campaigns that have the most impact and are remembered the longest.
Next time I will look at another aspect of being a Mentor and try to offer some guidance on another area that startups and early stage businesses often wish to discuss.
in British English