When you have big dreams for starting a business, it might take some time to figure out how to best position yourself. While you might not have a background as an experienced marketer, as an aspiring entrepreneur, you have the important job of not only honing your particular craft but also learning how to build relationships, optimize your place on the internet, manage your budget, prioritize your time, and assess competition will help you succeed. 

Whether you need startup advice, are learning how to start a manufacturing business, or are figuring out how to navigate the realm of running a woman-owned business, you will need to understand essential entrepreneurial marketing tactics and strategies. 

First, an entrepreneurial marketing definition. 

What is entrepreneurial marketing?

Entrepreneurial marketing is a set of tactics and philosophies that guide entrepreneurs to make informed decisions about how to spread the word about their business. The characteristics of entrepreneurial marketing include that it is:

  • Cost-effective
  • Time-efficient
  • Innovative 

Entrepreneurial marketing promotes lead generation and client retention through practices that favor these characteristics, as opposed to adhering to a strict set of practices reminiscent of traditional marketing strategies.

Entrepreneurial marketing vs traditional marketing

The biggest difference between entrepreneurial marketing and traditional marketing comes down to resources. Traditional marketing is a hallmark of big business — corporations with time, money, and people power to spare. Traditional marketing avenues include high-value, high-budget tactics like tv, radio, print, and large-scale paid advertising through social media and the web. 

On the other hand, entrepreneurial marketing focuses more on lean cost, using tactics that typically require the lowest budget for the highest impact. This can include:

  • Relationship building through client/customer conversations, partnerships, and deals with vendors and investors. 
  • Thought leadership strategies such as producing articles and blogs that showcase your expertise, attending conferences and trade shows, and hosting your own events.
  • Search engine optimization
  • Marketing automation tools like triggered email sends, lead generation capture forms, and social scheduling tools give you back necessary time in an already packed schedule. 
  • Monitoring your competition through social media, events, and surveying your own customers. 

What are the types of entrepreneurial marketing?

While there are a ton of tactics and strategies you can use to market your business, the types encompassed in entrepreneurial marketing include methods that stress building relationships, working with a limited budget, and finding ways to save time so you can focus on the bigger picture for your business. Here are some key entrepreneurial marketing strategies to add to your running list of business plan components

Relationship Marketing

When you’re first starting out in the business world, connections are everything. Building a quality rapport with potential clients, vendors, distributors, investors, and other kinds of partners will help you on the way to establishing strong relationships and a foundation for growth. 

Rather than focusing on acquiring a wide group of cooler leads and nurturing them toward a sale over time, using relationship marketing will help you focus on individual customers and partners that exhibit a high potential for loyalty. You can accomplish this by providing products and services, as well as hosting meaningful conversations, that outshine the competition. A direct, transparent approach gives customers and partners unique insight into a brand, business and production process.

Search Engine Optimization  

When you do not have a big enough budget to support paid advertising, it is important to know that you have other options to take up space on the internet. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost-efficient way to get your business noticed by interested parties. The main difference between paid advertising and SEO is time, money, and guaranteed reach. 

Paid advertising guarantees that because you have spent money to reach a particular audience, the audience you are targeting will 100% see your content. This does not, however, mean they will engage with what they see, but it does help that process along. 

On the other hand, SEO is a long game. It requires time and strategically crafted content. SEO-optimized content is driven by the value provided to the audience — this means that the content your business produces answers a query or is providing accurate information about the topic being searched. To do this, content writers prepare articles, construct website copy, and tag images with keywords they want their business to rank for in search results. 

SEO strategies also include backlinks from credible sources, this is when other businesses, news organizations, and knowledge centers reference your business as a reliable place to gain information, purchase products, and receive services. 

Check out these resources to help you learn more about SEO and the opportunities it can provide for your business: 

Thought Leadership

Thought leadership provides an entry point to your business by positioning a leader in your company as an industry expert and trendsetter. To get started with thought leadership for your company, write articles that showcase your expert knowledge and host or attend events that let you share your industry know-how with potential customers and peers. While you will still have opportunities to highlight your product or service, the goal of thought leadership is for you to gain a following for your business and to build a reputation as helpful and knowledgeable in your field. This organic tactic requires a two-pronged approach of developing both the individual entrepreneur’s voice and the company’s brand voice. 

As you plan out your company’s entrance into thought leadership, consider the following:

  • What news and internet sources do you use to gain expert knowledge?
  • What are your biggest areas of expertise?
  • Who are the experts in your field that you admire?
  • What is the best way to showcase your expertise to the public? Through writing? Video? Public speaking?
  • Do you have a diverse set of experts within your company? 
  • Can your company showcase expertise in more than one area within your field? 

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation enables entrepreneurs to tackle multiple channels and digital marketing tactics at once. Email marketing, social media, interactive campaigns, blogging and more can all be centralized into a single marketing automation platform to create a seamless experience for your audience. 

Most importantly, a centralized marketing automation platform can create efficiencies and reduce spending, saving both time and money for busy entrepreneurs. If you are searching for a digital marketing platform, look for one that offers marketing automation features that best fit with the types of digital marketing practices you use to promote your business. Once you get your marketing practices running mostly on their own, you’ll be able to spend more of your time focusing on other areas of your business. 

Marketing automation can help you build a customer journey that serves your business by organizing the flow of potential customers all the way through to purchasers.

Checking in on your competition

No business exists in a vacuum. As you work on how to set yourself apart from your competitors, it is important to use the resources you have available to take an inventory of what marketing tactics they are using and what seems to be garnering the best results. While you might not have access to metrics involving financial success, you can take advantage by keeping track of competitors’ marketing campaigns through social media, attending competitor events, and talking to your own customers about why they chose your product or service over your competitors. 

Why implement entrepreneurial marketing?

When you’re trying to build a business from the ground up, you need to think about how you are going to leverage wearing a lot of hats. The reason why the strategies and tactics that characterize entrepreneurial marketing are crucial to new entrepreneurs is that they will help you realize your business’s full potential. 

Entrepreneurial marketing adheres to the ideals of what a fast-paced, innovative environment needs to be successful. A good entrepreneurial marketing plan is reinforced by placing a big emphasis on investing in client, vendor, and partner relationships as well as brand building. It does not require an extravagant budget and can be practiced with only a small amount of people power. Likewise, the methods of this marketing style recognize that time is an extremely valuable resource to new business owners. 

Using the strategies outlined by this style of marketing will keep you from investing in costly areas that your business might not need just yet and will help you to spend your time and money on the areas that do. 

Start marketing with smart strategies 

Now that you have the knowledge you need to market your business in a cost and time-efficient manner, it is time to take the first step toward building an entrepreneurial marketing plan that will put your business on the map. Perhaps you will decide to invest in marketing automation, or maybe you will focus on relationship marketing. 

Wherever you decide to start with entrepreneurial marketing, remember that your biggest resource is you and your own creativity.