Startup Founders Learn from Marketing Experts at Boston ENET Event
On Wednesday, October 23, the Boston Entrepreneurs Network (ENET) hosted an afternoon of marketing tutorials and a mini-expo of incubators and accelerators for entrepreneurs at Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The event brought in attendees from as far as Amsterdam.
The afternoon session consisted of four workshops hosted by field experts on cost-effective marketing for startups. Christina Inge, VP of Marketing at EdTrips and vice chair of ENET explained, “so many founders are going at it alone with their first few years of marketing, we want to empower people to do it as efficiently and powerful as possible to secure those first customers.” The main topics of discussions included social media strategies, branding, and networking.
Navah Fuchs, CEO and founder of AngelEd, and Amelia Green-Vamos, former CMO of Jebbit, kicked-off the afternoon with a quick tutorial on the smartest marketing strategies for startups. Their entire presentation can be found here.
Some of the key takeaways from Fuchs and Green-Vamos’ marketing 101 presentation included:
- Position your brand as a solution to your industry’s problem
- Use sites such as wix.com or wordpress.com to host your website – they are cheaper and easier to use than building one on your own
- Make sure to have key metrics to track your social media performance
- Use email marketing resources such as ConstantContact.com or MailChimp.com to send more professional looking emails – these sites also offer statistics on opening rate
- Tell the facts in your company’s press release, adjectives take away from the key points you’re trying to make
- Social media is one of the most effective networking tools – use LinkedIn to engage and connect with industry leaders
After Fuchs and Green-Vamos covered the essentials of marketing for startups, Susan Bradstreet Englert of Sandpiper Artists Graphic Design discussed the importance of creating the right brand image for your company. With more than 30 years of experience, Englert gave guests tips on how to design their first logos and literature. “Your logo must be consistent across all your media – this is not optional. In order to successfully brand your company, you have to have a logo that most accurately embodies the image.”
Basic guidelines on what not to do when designing your brand’s logo:
- Don’t use the colors of your competitor – this can cause confusion for customers
- Don’t use more than two different fonts in one logo
- Don’t use clipart – it’s not professional
Bobbie Carlton, owner of Carlton Public Relations and Marketing and starter of MassInnovation Nights presented next on “The Right Social Media For You.” Carlton said as social media continues to develop and grow, it is important for companies to build their online presence. If your brand is skipping out on Facebook or Twitter and not talking to your customers, someone else is. So which platform is the best for your brand? LinkedIn’s professional network has proven to be successful with investors while Twitter’s instant updates are best for interacting with reporters. Facebook can also be a great tool for recruiting potential employees. “Social media is also the best tool for reaching a specific audience, you’re not just talking to a demographic but it’s person-to-person. Everyone has a say and you have to make sure your company is there to listen,” Carlton concluded at the end of her presentation.
Sarah Branfman, Regional Sales Manager at MongoDB, talked about the importance of effective networking for every business professional. “Sometimes we forget to stop and listen,” Branfman said, “There’s so much we can get out of listening to someone else’s story – you’re giving them your time and attention; maybe your interest could be the solution for their business.” In addition to being a great listener, Branfman concluded that “taking initiative to stay connected after the event is most important. Keeping everyone in your network can not only help yourself, but maybe you could be a connector for others.”
“This was a great event, it was great networking with other startup founders in the Boston-area, especially since my business caters towards startups,” commented Michael Abbate, founder of Repenso, a Boston-based brand design company for startups. “I actually came to learn more about what these incubators and accelerators could do for my company, but I also learned a lot from the presenters. They definitely made the marketing process seem a lot more approachable.”
The Boston Entrepreneurs Network hosts monthly events in Waltham, MA, all of which are open to the public. ENET connects both entrepreneurs and investors together during monthly meetings while also providing necessary resources for starting and building new companies. All the presentations from the event can be found here.
Victoria Kwan is a current student at Boston University studying Public Relations and minoring in Business Administration. She is a social media enthusiast, always on the lookout for the best and newest practices. Her past experiences include interning at twtMob, an online-based marketing firm in West Hollywood. There, she researched marketing strategies to develop new marketing campaigns for clients on social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram. In her free time, she enjoys running on the Esplanade (when the Boston weather permits) and spending time with her friends exploring all that the city has to offer!