Starting your own business, running a family business you’ve inherited, or taking up the mantle of a company as its new owner: none of these things are easy.Here at OggaDoon, we collaborate with owners of business who are looking to accelerate their growth. They think about their team, premises, pricing, product. They don’t always think about promotion, and when they do, it may not be something that’s part of their skillset.
But if there’s one guy who knows just what it takes to get a new company off the ground then it’s Gareth Williams, the CEO and founder of YellowDog, and one of our clients.
Although his business was only founded in 2015, they now have over 1,000 business customers from all over the world, and is multi-award winning. We sat down with Gareth to chat about how exceptional guerrilla marketing can make a slow sales day turn around.
Gareth, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, as a business founder and owner?
Doing something new, something completely from scratch, is hard. There’s no way to avoid it. In his book, Good To Great, Jim Collins describes businesses like large flywheels: it takes a huge amount of energy to first getting it pointing in the right direction, and then another huge effort to get it spinning.
Your target audience is absolutely key, and that’s true for both guerrilla marketing and sales. When you think about guerrilla marketing, what does it mean for you and YellowDog?
I’m a product guy which means my attention tends to gravitate towards product development, pricing, sorting out processes. I also like building and developing our team. That means that marketing promotion often didn’t get the attention, or quality focus it needs. I need help! Guerrilla marketing, to me, means taking a fresh and vibrant approach that doesn’t follow the expected route. Throwing money at advertising doesn’t work anymore, and guerrilla marketing uses unconventional methods to reach your target audience without huge budgets. It means that YellowDog finds our customers without seeming fake or out of place, because we are starting conversations with them, rather than bombarding them with salesy adverts.
In your experience, taking YellowDog from your loft to its fourth office space in under two years, how has guerrilla marketing accelerated your growth?
It’s vital that you can talk to your customers in the right way. Once you know who you’re targeting and why, and you have created interest in your solution, you must make sure that your messages, how you communicate your value, is really tuned into that target audience. They need to really resonate and speak to them to give you every opportunity you can to convert that interest into sales. Having tested multiple different tactics: paid search, extensive SEO, online advertising, print, direct marketing, content marketing; we’ve found that the most effective way to reach our customers is content marketing. So, as a team, we now spend a lot of time generating quality, interesting, original content that we send out through a number of channels.
How would you advise a small business owner who is just about to start taking marketing seriously?
First, make sure you know your customers and who you need to target. Secondly, know your strengths – and your weaknesses. If you’ve got someone who is great at copy, fantastic! If not, get in an expert. If you have a friend who is outstanding at graphic design, borrow them! If not, get in an expert. The last thing you want to appear is amateur, and getting the right help at the right time can prove instrumental for your long-term success.