Everyone is looking for the fast track to growing their company to compete with “the big guys”. There is no secret formula that can take your idea to a profitable company in 6 weeks or even 6 months. Of course there are a handful of cases that seem like an overnight success, but you probably are just missing the back story of long nights and lots of support. In most of the cases, for a company it is years in a garage, basement, spare bedroom grinding away to develop a strong product, then even more time getting in front of people’s faces. The hustle is part of the amazing story that makes companies like Google, Facebook and Uber so engaging.
It is the same way in marketing. It takes time and exposure for people to associate your brand with your message. Marketing takes patience. Traction takes patience. You worked hard to build your business from concept to a working prototype. And in your mind it is probably obvious why it is worth buying or investing in. You must remember that the rest of the world has not lived and slept with your business the way you have.
Research shows that consumers need to be exposed to a brand an average of 7 times before it will click. That means that you need to be demonstrating the value of your brand over and over again, in many different venues. And the message needs to be clear and consistent every time they are exposed.
Let’s say your message is “quality, handmade kitchen tools”. On Youtube you show how your tools are made, driving home “handmade and quality”. On Pintrest you might just show off some beautiful photographs of your product. On your blog you explain why a hand mixer is better than an electric. On Good Morning America you demonstrate how nice they feel in your hand by making a vintage recipe. All of these marketing avenues are driving at one point “quality, handmade kitchen tools”. Each time that a consumer is exposed to your brand, that is the story you are telling.
If you are communicating too many messages people will be confused. If you are saying “quality, handmade kitchen tools”, “o and we also sell vintage kitchen tools”, “and we retail specialty baking flour”, “and I almost forgot, we also make home improvement tools”, people will just move on. They might order from you once, but all the confusion will mean they won’t return. You want them to think “this thing” = “your company”. In order to do that you must keep the main thing the main thing.
I have been plugging my business almost a year and have seen some growth in my social media and website statistics, but not as much as I expected. I saw a dramatic up tick in all metrics when I started getting more focused on offering my services directly to startups. This is because I started projecting one message “marketing and branding for startups”. Over and over again.
It is so, so easy to get off message. I stay focused by leaving physical reminders around me. My main one is a little tent card, you can see below, that sits next to my computer at my desk. Having a reminder that you see everyday will help you stay on track and will ultimately make a lasting impression on your customers and investors. So, tape a note to your laptop, write it on the back of your phone case, frame it on your desk, paint it on the wall. Stay focused.
Be consistent, show up. People will notice, but it will take time and exposure.
Don’t be discouraged. Keep pressing on. It takes daily reminding that all the hours and sacrifice is worth it. And they are all worth it. It is worth fighting for your “piece of the pie” as Mark Cuban would say. There is value in building something for your self.