Dos and don’ts of marketing your startup


You’ve started a new business and you’re beginning to build your brand. You want to get the word out about your new venture – the only question is: how? Here are our essential dos and don’ts when it comes to marketing your small business.

Do cover the basics yourself

Starting a business isn’t always cheap. In fact, if you have to take on premises, staff and equipment from day 1, there’s a good chance that cashflow will be tight for some time. If that’s the case you are unlikely to have a huge marketing budget to spend on a big city agency. While it’s important to acknowledge the benefits of working with specialists with the expertise to market your business effectively, there are also a few things you can do yourself when times are tight.

In the long term, you may not want to have to handle your marketing activity from day to day. However, it is better to be working on it yourself during the early stages in business if the alternative is doing no marketing at all. Putting together print marketing materials, managing social media and controlling your email marketing are just some of the things that entrepreneurs can establish without splashing serious cash.

Letting potential customers and clients know that you are out there is better than waiting for 18 months until you think you can afford the expertise. As many business owners will tell you, the first few months and years as a business owner can require you to be a jack-of-all-trades, before you can begin to narrow down your own remit and bring in the expertise to take your business to the next level.

Do think outside the box

Facebook and Twitter users are already bombarded with adverts, so you might want to supplement these social media channels with other less-traditional options. It might be worth thinking about using photo-sharing platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram to promote your business if your industry is a particularly visual one. 

Don’t waste time

With all this in mind, it’s important not to waste time getting sucked into marketing avenues that aren’t productive. Use your social media platforms, your email database and your print marketing as far as you can without wasting time trying to learn entirely new skills. The aim is to connect with customers rather than change your own role within your business.

Don’t tell customers how great you are

Marketing isn’t all about telling customers how brilliant your new business is. A simple message telling your customers that you offer a great product or service is also of no use – every other company claims to offer a great product or service, too. The trick is to identify customer need and to target them by offering them a solution and showing them the benefits of your product or service.

Too much marketing jargon or unrealistically bold claims simply won’t do the trick. Simply talk to them directly in a language they are sure to understand.

Do show them your skills  

We’ve already said don’t tell your customers how great you are – instead, show them the benefits of choosing your excellent new business. Real customer reviews and testimonials are always popular – try and integrate reviews from Google and Facebook into your campaign, so potential customers can assess from others whether they should choose your product or service. Think of a way of demonstrating exactly how good your product is, perhaps through samples or a quirky campaign. Food retailers are particularly good at this, with many business owners choosing to offer free samples or create an edible ad campaign that sticks in a customer’s memory. Whatever your sector, keep in mind that “show don’t tell” works best.

Want to get to grips with the best way to market your business? Why not book on to one of our marketing masterclasses?