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Marketing Hacks for Startups

Effective Marketing Strategies for Online Businesses

Anyone who owns a startup knows the meaning of sleepless nights, gigantic to-do lists, meals on the go and many other trappings of being an active entrepreneur. Fortunately, there are a few quick fixes that can make life easier when it comes to selling your service or product. After all, profits make the world go around.

Even if your new business has all its IT ducks in order, you still need to sell the product or service you’re offering to the public. Too many new owners focus on the tech, financial and management aspects at the expense of core profit-making activities. It’s a relief to know that your VPN is getting the job done, all that work on systems installation went off without a hitch and a full-scale Kubernetes monitoring process is running smoothly. When Monday comes, though, you’ll need more than that.

Here’s a short list of worthwhile sales and marketing hacks that will help you bring in those all-important, first dollars:

Use Your Personal Network

Make a list of every friend, professional acquaintance, old school chum, neighbor, relative and passerby you have encountered within the last couple of years. Reach out to them all, preferably by telephone or in person, or through your list of contacts on social media, and tell them you’ve started a new business and would appreciate any advice they can give you. Listen to what they say for a few minutes. When there’s a break in the diatribe, say, “Who do you know that might be a good first customer for me?” People like to appear knowledgeable. That’s why you’ll get plenty of feedback, and a lot of potential client names, with this method.

Purchase Qualified Call Lists

Spend an hour or so each day cold-calling prospects. Where do the phone numbers come from? Most entrepreneurs buy a small list to get started or just pull data from the Internet. If your company offers B2B products or services, you’re in luck. Most of the phone numbers you want are easily mined from online sources like, “plumbers in Kansas City,” or “landscapers in Detroit.”

Good residential lists are harder to come buy so consider buying a thousand or so names from a reputable seller. Do research or ask business acquaintances who they buy their cold-call numbers from. Check price trends to avoid getting ripped off. The data-selling niche is full of unscrupulous folks. You’ve been warned.

Build or Buy an Email List

Even in 2020, email marketing is not dead, contrary to at least a thousand obituaries. There are lots of reliable sellers of email lists and you might want to try one. But before spending precious financial resources, consider building your own list. Most people start with a few names from their personal network and then hit the phones to prospect for more.

Call any prospective or current customers and tell them exactly what you’re doing. You will be surprised at the volunteer assistance you receive. Ask family members, friends and other business acquaintances if they have any names, they can give you for a general business announcement you’ll be making. Be honest about the fact that you’re constructing a level-one email list of potential clients. This from-the-ground-up style of list-building will help you snag those first 20 or 30 addresses for your marketing database.

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