Being a startup is annoying

That was our director, Eric McDonogh’s message at the business start-ups show yesterday, when he presented to a packed room of entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses, about the marketing journey for new businesses.

Hang on, that’s a bit negative isn’t it?

Well yes, in all honesty, it is a negative message. But it’s a negative message that aims for a positive outcome i.e. preparing start-ups for the long road ahead. And it’s one that was well-received by the audience at the start-ups show yesterday, who seemed to recognise the ever-so-slightly painful truth of what Eric said.

So why is being a start-up annoying?

Starting out is one of the most frustrating and confusing times for any business. It’s when your great business idea goes head to head with the reality of getting people to buy your product or service. And it’s when all your enthusiasm and ingenuity becomes tempered by long conversations with the bank manager, oodles of litigious waffery (yeah, we made that one up...) and the complexities and expense of marketing your business.

Marketing is frustrating

We’re not going to lie to you. When you’re starting out, marketing is one of the most frustrating and time-consuming aspects of your business. This is partly because it takes a while to identify the right marketing channels and then decide how to make use of them.

Arguably the internet has made marketing even more trying, because there are too many ways to use it: Youtube, blogs, forums, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, RSS feeds, Google +, the list goes on. And unless you’re a large business, you probably don’t have the time to make use of all these opportunities.

So don’t.

Plan and be picky

Just as you wouldn’t pay for advertising in every magazine that’s read by your target market, neither should you spend all day, every day, trying frantically to get your message out there on every kind of medium possible. It just won’t work.

What you need to do is identify the right media for your business and then build a strategy that makes the best use of them. So you’re not constantly in a spin trying to cram tweeting, blogging and Facebooking into your schedule.

Of course the above could be a bad example if you choose to focus on just those three things. A combination of tweeting, blogging and facebooking could actually be very powerful for your business.

Well, we never promised there wouldn’t be contradictions.

Treat it as a journey

Another unfortunate fact of being a start-up, or any size of business, is that the job’s never done. You’ll never have your marketing all sewn up and laid to rest and you might never get it exactly right. Because, let’s face it, who does?

Even the big boys spend spadoodles (oops, there goes another one) on big-flop marketing campaigns. The best example of which is McDonald’s disastrous McDStories Twitter campaign that was intended to encourage positive stories, but culminated in a bitter backlash from cynical Twitter users.

But the message here is not all doom and gloom and ‘why don’t you give up now?’. Certainly not! Instead, take heart from knowing that marketing is a journey. It takes time, effort, perseverance and quite a high degree of ‘bounebackability’ (last one for today), but if you keep on plugging, it does have its rewards.

Oh and if you need a few ideas for what to do now, why not have a gander at our whitepaper about the marketing journey. Top tips guaranteed.