Another day, another startup that comes and goes.

There’s no denying that businesses come and go quickly in the digital age. With everyone jockeying to be “the next big thing” in tech, marketing or otherwise, companies do whatever they can to grab the attention of potential customers and investors alike.

Here’s a quick question, though: how approachable is your company?

We’re not just talking about whether or not you’re putting a smiling face, by the way.

Do people “get” your product? Are you signaling yourself as the “go-to” versus your competition?

In a day and age where standing out is easier said than done in the midst of the noise, startups need to do everything in their power to encourage people to approach them.

Doing so doesn’t require you to be a marketing mastermind, either. Instead, you just need to tick a series of boxes for outsiders who aren’t familiar with you or what you do. Below we’ve broken down six steps startups should take to encourage more positive attention from potential clients and customers.

Come Up with Your Startup Story

It may be cliche to say that businesses are about people, but telling your team’s story is a smart first move. Customers need a narrative to follow in terms of your mission and principles to become invested in your product.

What’s your story? Where are you going? Where have you been

As highlighted by Idea Rocket Animation: “When complexity comes dressed as a narrative, it doesn’t seem quite so intimidating.” There’s a story behind every company, all of which you can tell via video, blogging or even your social feed. The sooner you can connect people to that story, the better.

Don’t Do All the Talking Yourself

That said, you can’t make your entire marketing campaigns all about you.

When possible, it’s key to let others highlight the sort of problems your startup solves as well as what positive results you’ve produced for them in the past. Testimonials and tell-all interviews with customers represent a brilliant form of social proof that shows that your business has walked the walk.

On the flip side, spending too much time singing your own praises is both distracting and might inadvertently make you look full of yourself.

Nail Down Your Elevator Pitch

When in doubt, keep it simple when trying to explain the “what” and “why” of your business is outsiders.

Crafting the perfect elevator pitch means being brief and boiling down your business into a single sentence. Doing so helps you avoid getting too much into the weeds when trying to tell your product and keeps potential customers from asking too many questions before losing interest.

Have a Positive Presence in Public

Okay, so we said that a smiling face isn’t the be-all, end-all of how you present yourself.

That said, startups need to work to prove to outsiders that they aren’t just suit-and-tie workaholics. Showing off your team and workspace via social is a playful way to take people behind the scenes; meanwhile, making face with industry players at conferences is another strategy to put yourself out there.

The takeaway here is that you can’t be a total island. When others look you up, they should get a sense that you’re making some sort of positive impression on your industry.

Define Your USP

The need for a unique selling proposition is universal, but remains something that many startups inadvertently neglect. Rather than wrack your brain trying to spell out what you do, sometimes it’s best to set yourself apart from the back by highlighting what you don’t do. Ask yourself: how keeps you from being a clone of your closest competitor?

Make What You Do Tangible

Again, so much of being a startup is about “show, don’t tell.”

If you produced killer results from a client, you better have data or evidence to back it up.

And if you have years of experience and something to teach your customers to win them over, you better let them know about it.

That’s why taking the time to keep up a blog or regularly post tips on social media is so much more than just fluff. Showing off your expertise brings this list full circle as you prove that you’re not just another voice in your industry among the noise.

Succeeding as a startup these days means carving out your niche while also making yourself as approachable as possible to clients and customers alike. By sticking to these principles, you can make your presence known regardless of industry and come off as an approachable business versus a standoffish startup.


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