Becoming a Brand: Here’s How to Market Your Startup Well Before You Launch

If you build it, they will (probably not) come. What you have to do well in advance, to market your entrepreneurial field of dreams.

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Written by Peter Daisyme


You’ve awaited this moment for months, maybe years. You started with an idea for a highly useful product or service, then went through countless iterations of your idea, refining it to near perfection. Now, your product is waiting to ship, your doors are ready to open and you’re crossing your fingers that your modest production speed and limited staff will be able to keep up with what you can only imagine will be an overwhelming demand.

This is the point where you may run into a hardcore, even painful, reality.

The truth can be hard.

Turning your great idea into reality always feels like the most difficult step in getting your startup off the ground — until you realize that nobody beyond your family and close friends knows about your amazing product or service.

This difficult lesson evades many aspiring entrepreneurs: The success of your startup is limited by the number of potential customers who know about it. About half of all startups fail after five years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To avoid that outcome, you have to grow your customer base.

Ideally, you’ll market your startup well before you’re open for business. Building a brand takes time and care, and it’s much easier to construct a thoughtful strategy when you’re not hemorrhaging money on rent, payroll, utilities and other overhead costs. In reality, however, your new business is likely strapped for cash.

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2. Reach your audience in smart ways.

To really connect with people, you’ll need to meet them where they spend their time. Identify those hangout spots, whether they’re online or IRL (in real life) and place your messaging there.

Offer valuable content to individuals in your audience, and identify influencers who can help spread the word about your brand. For example, MDR, Dun & Bradstreet’s education division, connects brands with the educators who are natural and effective influencers for younger crowds.