One of the largest challenges for an entrepreneur is gaining industry attention. This means making yourself known in a new market – with the ultimate goal of acquiring customers and gaining recognition. There are a number of ways to do this, but for a relatively unknown new face in the crowd this means starting at the bottom of the ladder.
Many entrepreneurs turn to guerrilla tactics; this means a use of unconventional and low-cost methods to get you maximum exposure. Tinder co-founder, Whitney Wolfe, visited college sororities and fraternities to present the mobile hookup app to students, showing them how to install and use the app.
Startup leaders need to dig deep, and get creative. This could mean using any social proof and evidence of past endeavors you might have to make yourself heard, propelling yourself through a strategic alliance or business partnership, or trying something a little bit different.
This article explores some of the best techniques startup founders have used to gain attention in their industry.
Build longer relationships by assisting others in your industry
To me the best way to get positive attention is to be helpful to others. Strategic partnerships are formed by people and they will be much more willing to collaborate if you provide them with useful and friendly advice. Funding decisions are ultimately made by people. Industry recognition is a result of many people appreciating you within a certain group. Taking the time to assist others in your industry and ecosystem, even direct competitors, sharing information from your area of expertise is the best way to set foundations for future collaboration. – Alon Rajic, Finofin LTD
Target larger organizations, and show them how to use your product
At Alif Baa, we provide a tool for young children to learn the Arabic language. This can be used for individual learning at home, or in a group environment. While developing our edtech product we liaised with educational establishments, teaching them how to use our app in a classroom setting. We showed early stage child educators how to use our app to complement the teaching methods they already had in place. Through creating partnerships with larger organizations, we are able to share our tool with a greater audience. – Javed Hussain, Alif Baa
Exchange free use of your product for shared success stories
BeeHive is a social intelligence platform that helps brands build better relationships with their customers. BeeHive helps brands to use big data, to make smarter decisions and connect with their audiences. In our early days, we partnered with a digital agency in LA, giving them free access to the platform. In turn, they sent out a white-paper to their emailing list, describing how they used our platform to improve their social ROI. It immediately bolstered our credibility. – Cameron McLain, BeeHive
Trade free articles in return for newsletter syndication
I’ve built interest in my newsletter through a syndication strategy. Essentially, I give my articles away for free, on the condition that a link to my newsletter is included on the top of every article. This helps to draw attention and drives subscribers to the newsletter. Many publications, even the larger ones, need new original content. Through providing interesting content for these sites, I help them, and I benefit directly through the sign-ups. – Ernie Smith, Tedium – The Dull Side of the Internet
Conduct surveys and research to share with your audience
At Teamquest, we help businesses to improve their IT infrastructures. We conducted a global survey of IT managers and we share our findings from this study through thought-leadership pieces, social media. We use these activities to generate attention, and convert these into business leads.
Thought leadership articles that include our by-line have driven the bulk of our media coverage. Using this tactic we averaged about eight media mentions per month in 2015. – Vernon Johnson, TeamQuest
An effective approach needs to target your desired audience and really show your value. You could do this in person or online; attending industry events to network, or creating useful thought leadership content to not only boost your SEO results, but to draw customers to your site through providing helpful and useful information.
Have your press kit at the ready, build your social media and online presence, and grab any opportunity to shout about your product, and remember these principles. A wide sweep might generate discussion, but a more strategic effort can transform this into business value.