Four and a half years of learning from InfiniOne’s growth packed into three minutes of reading.

Marketing matters. A LOT.

I made many mistakes during the first four and a half years of InfiniOne’s existence. Not properly marketing our services almost cost the company its life. Over the years I learned what converts leads and what wastes advertising dollars. Here’s an abridged version of my marketing playbook:

  1. Go where your customers are (expensive one)
    Where are they? Depending on your industry, they may search for specifc terms on Google, frequent certain websites, read niche magazines or engage in other media. Go to those places and simply get involved either as a contributor or advertiser. They are in the market for exactly what you’re selling, they understand your product/service and they are more likely ready to spend. Where should you start? Try Google AdWords to target specific search terms; if you’re less internet friendly, try advertising in your trade magazine.
  2. Build organic incoming traffic
    Use helpful content to educate potential customers about your industry. Create a conversation about what you do, how you do it and why you keep doing it. The real lesson here is providing value. When applied more strategically valuable content turns into webpage hits and warm leads. People will become your customers because you’ve built a rapport with them. In addtion to writing about your industry online, you can create a podcast or simply volunteer to speak at events that are relevant to your industry.
  3. Service businesses: target complementary industries
    If you’re a service company like InfiniOne, key players in other industries may not know how your offerings can help unlock value. Build your brand around decision makers in these industries. Do this by educating them about how you’ll work together and grow their business.
  4. Network with the right people
    Networking for the sake of networking doesn’t work. When your company is young, it doesn’t matter how many people you know. What matters is whom you know. Only spend time going to events that attract your ideal customer — increasing your chances of making a sale. General events that don’t have a focused attendance will waste your time and money. Do you supply a special variety of artesian coffee? Going to an event geared towards coffee wholesalers would be better than a general event for all types of small businesses.
  5. Standout amongst the crowd
    Remember the last person who caught your attention? The same concept applies to marketing. Once you’ve spent resources raising awareness about your company, you need to give people a reason to remember your brand. This helps convert leads who see your offerings and wait up to two years to inquire (in InfiniOne’s case). Add more value than the competition and do so in an original way. This often entails breaking the “industry rules” and thinking out of the box.

Marketing is tough. Especially when it’s your first time building a company. It took me years to figure it out. Don’t give up if you can’t get the hang of things during the first couple of months. Keep at it. You’re more likely to figure it out than to struggle forever.