Startups Score Big with a Strong Marketing Offense!

oz 2 designs LLC for the best digital marketing in Central PA
Starting a new business is exciting and, for many, it’s part of the American Dream. Yet, to make it happen, to make it work, new business owners must understand what it takes to put points on the board.   Here are 4 essential startup marketing offensive plays you need to score big.
1.  A Marketing Budget
Want to hear something shocking? Many new business loans do not include a marketing budget. Business owner beware, if you don’t have 6 – 10 thousand dollars set aside for your startup marketing you would be wise to put your business plan on hold.  Starting a new business without a marketing budget is like fielding your offense without a quarterback.

2.  A Quality Marketing Company

Let’s assume you have a marketing budget. Who is the best field general for the job? (or in non-football speak, how do you know which marketing company to choose?) The answer, put them to the test with Website Grader and BlogGrader. Simply enter the prospective marketing company’s website and blog address into the grader tools and voila – digital marketing prowess is revealed.

www.cyclonemarketing.info for the best in digital marketing

CycloneMarketing.info scores big on Blog Grader!

A good rule of thumb – if they aren’t getting it right for themselves, they certainly won’t get it right for you.  Next step, make a list of the top scoring or  “A” grade companies and review their designs.   Studies show it is artistic design which generates interest.

oz 2 designs LLC provides the very best in design

oz 2 designs LLC gets an A!

With Grader and artistic design criteria you can narrow down which marketing company is capable of giving you the most for your money.  One more thing: If they don’t have a blog then they’re not even eligible for your draft.

3.  Marketing Materials

With a start up budget of  6- 10 thousand dollars a quality marketing company should be able to give you:

4.  Clock Management

Although last on the list, time is essential for effective digital marketing management.   Understand that in order for your digital marketing to be successful, you must spend time every day posting on your Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.  You must spend time weekly to create useful, compelling blog posts and update your website. 10 years ago one would just buy advertising and move on. Today, your digital footprint is your advertising; therefore,  take time to create compelling content or hire a qualified content strategist to do it for you.
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About Catherine Lockey

Catherine Lockey @oz2designs | oz 2 designs LLC

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20 Responses to Startups Score Big with a Strong Marketing Offense!

  1. Chris Paulsen August 26, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Excellent graphics! Thanks for the clock management advice too.

    Chris

  2. Renee Foley August 27, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    Catherine,
    I think back to when I became a small business owner – by the grace of God I was successful because I did the marketing all wrong….I remember spending thousands on the right kind of signage. Today this is the “signage” budget that is most important and I will be forwarding to friends who are contemplating a small business as well as those reinventing their businesses.

  3. Paul Novak August 30, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    As someone who does everything on their own, I can attest to the attractiveness of being able to hand off mush of the time instensive labor aspects to someone who specializes in the niche’. It’s all too true that you MUST research a potential beyond simply looking at their brand, face and time in existence. Marketing is one of those arenas where whoever you pay to do it, better be doing a smash up job on their own brand.

    Time is also another very important factor. It’s almost impossible to equate the time spent creating exposure and branding through social media and web prsence. It’s one of those things where you have to accept that it’s necessary and long term, and results will be in the strength of your businesses foundation, not next weeks reciepts.

  4. Keyuri Joshi (on the ball parent coach) August 30, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Suggestion 4, Clock Management hit home for me. A startup business requires significant elbow grease, sprinkled with fierce dedication. Current economic times coupled with individuals trying to re-invent their careers after job loss often render it difficult to spend 6 to 10 K on marketing. Can you shed some light on what small businness owners might do for themselves… and what they “must” outsource?

  5. Catarina Alexon August 30, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    Excellent advice, but there are other ways.

    When Richard Branson started Virgin Airlines he had no advertising budget. So he made sure articles were written about him and his company instead. Wrote an article about him that you may find interesting: http://catarinasworld.com/http:/catarinasworld.com/would-you-like-george-clooney-trade-places-with-richard-branson

  6. Sherryl Perry August 30, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    Catherine,

    When I first read that you need “6 – 10 thousand dollars set aside for your startup marketing” or “you would be wise to put your business plan on hold”, I almost didn’t read any further. Then, I realized that I had skipped over the part where you were talking about a business that was taking out a loan.

    I think there are a lot of us out there who are running really small home-based businesses and “marketing on a shoestring”. I am not in a position to take out a loan (nor do I feel I need one). I do think you have some great tips and ideas. So, (for those of us who can’t afford marketing services), we certainly can benefit from reading your blog and following you online. Maybe (hopefully) someday, my business will be thriving and I will be able to afford expert help and you’ll be on the top-of-my-mind!

  7. Catherine Lockey August 30, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Hi Keyuri,
    If a business owner is a good writer then he/she should study SEO and learn to update her blog and site regularly. I see quality content creation as a “most wanted” marketing service in the very near future. Content creation is essential for success; therefore, a startup with a small budget should be prepared to handle this competently on their own until they can afford to hire a content strategist. $6,000 is the bare minimum a smart new business should spend on marketing before they open their doors. Below that number one starts to see homemade materials which look unprofessional. The goal is to look professional and stand above from one’s competition – remember the economy is rough and the competition doesn’t want you in the game.

  8. Catherine Lockey August 30, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Absolutely Paul.

  9. Catherine Lockey August 30, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Thanks Renee – I hate to see small businesses fail because they don’t understand marketing, don’t have a marketing budget, or hire the wrong marketing company.

  10. Julie Weishaar August 30, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Hi Catherine… your post does offer some valuable points. One of the benefits of Internet marketing is that most of it doesn’t cost anything. So for those businesses not in a position to spend 6-10K on their marketing budget, it would behoove them to take the best advantage of the marketing opps the web has to offer.

    I do agree with you that it is surprising how many small businesses don’t understand the value and necessity of marketing. In times of economical stress, marketing is often the department (if there is one) that gets hit the hardest.

    Thanks for sharing your insights :)

  11. Julia M Lindsey August 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    When you start up a business make sure you do your research. I did not do my due divergence and hired a marketing consultant. He gave excellent advise initially. $12,000 later we had a marketing plan that we could not afford. It was an expensive lesson to learn. I agree that you should be able to get it up and running for $6,000. Great advise I wish I had been following you 2 years ago.

  12. Catherine Lockey August 30, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Wow Julia – that’s a shame. Your consultant could talk the talk but not walk the walk. I wish I knew you two years ago too!

  13. Tinh August 30, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    I love clock management advice part the most, it is a bit new to me :-) Thanks

  14. Susan Oakes August 31, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    Catherine, interesting post. Before you set a marketing budget wouldn’t you need to know your sales and financial objectives first to see the impact.

    Paul made a good point about time and I think these days you need a time budget.

  15. Catherine Lockey August 31, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Susan -sales and financial objectives are smart planning too – but without the basics listed here a business will not reach their objectives and will most likely fail.

  16. Rob Berman August 31, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    I agree that a marketing budget is required. I was referred to a potential client for marketing work. I asked them about their marketing budget. The answer was “we don’t know.” I pushed them to give me a number since that is why they wanted to see me. They said $1,000 and wanted a full ad campaign.

    When I was done they said $10,000. They stopped the project after spending only a portion of it. They felt they had enough info to finish it themselves. They had a plan, lots of text and recommendations but no finished product. Months later no visible signs of any work finished.

    A budget does not mean commitment.

    Rob

  17. Catherine Lockey August 31, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    I agree Rob – a commitment to smart marketing is a commitment to long term success. No budget equals no plan and no direction. Many companies hold back because they aren’t familiar enough with the value of quality marketing. They need to do their research and follow through in order to achieve success.

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