A Fundamental Year 1 Business Error We All Make #0002

Marketing Your Business Too Much in Year One!

Sounds strange, I know but let me explain.

We’ve all been there (or maybe you are about to be there)…a new venture, exciting times and a desperate desire for lots of customers from day 1. A week after opening, you’ve had the friends and family launch party and before the balloons have come down off the ceiling, you are spending your hard earned start up capital on adverts and marketing to drive customers to your through your site or your door.
You have your product or service to sell, its taken a year, 2 years maybe longer to get to this point so lots of customers or clients to buy from you is the obvious next step? In fact, lots of customers early on could be what dumps your business into an early grave.

Here’s why

People don’t decide to buy from marketing campaigns, they only create an initial awareness of your business. People actually decide to buy after validation from others. 20 years ago this was all word of mouth, these days its 10% word of mouth, 90% online reviews and testimonials.
So by spending on big campaigns in year 1, you are amplifying the message and increasing the eyeballs on a product or service that at the moment isn’t quite good enough. You’re still perfecting it.
If you pay for more eyeballs on a business that hasn’t perfected the product, then when people talk, the word of mouth is negative, not positive. Negative word of mouth travels up to 5 times further and more quickly, that’s just human nature.
There are scenarios that for every pound spend on marketing, you are in the grand mechanism of how this all takes place, weakening your brand, customer by customer.
“This is like trying to build a mighty skyscraper from foundations that aren’t deep enough for a single story garage.”

Seek feedback and improve everything

I know its tempting and goes against everything that might feel natural, but Year 1, stay small, market to closed groups, seek feedback. Use the feedback to tweak, change and perfect everything. I’m not talking here about the product or service, but the people, the processes everything. Look at your initially offering critically, keep people that offer you honest unfiltered advice close to you and ask them questions. Keep a close eye on all review platforms, absorb the feedback.
Slowly, as the whole set up improves, day by day, week by week, month by month, you will see your custom grow. The 2nd wave of new customers have to also be spoken with. How did you hear about our business? When it’s clear that 20-30% of your customer base has come from friends and family referrals, and its increasing without any further direct custom, then you know its time to start the larger scale marketing.

Now you can go

You only want eyeballs on your product or service when the conversations taking place about your business offline are positive. Your product or service is never not being improved, but when the conversations and referrals to your business is clearly positive, then is the time to start the larger scale marketing.

Where this approach doesn’t work

Word of warning here, this approach works for 90% of businesses….apart from where the model requires customers as part of the product. Think about platforms that bring people together, social media, property websites, freelancing sites. Think also about restaurants, bars and festivals. Where part of the product is the guarantee of “others” – youre right to go big on day 1.

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