Entrepreneurs Told to Set Their Businesses Apart at Summit

Summit

Cover up all the logos and branding on your company’s website and its advertisements. The result should still be a website that’s engaging and, most importantly, different from your competitors, business owners were told Thursday at the Entrepreneur Summit 2016.

It needs a compelling story, catchy slogans or even educational material that benefit the customer, and gives them a reason to care. Without it, you’ll be a drop of water in an endless ocean of online content.

That’s the challenge to the 50 or so North Texas business owners who attended the summit Thursday at the Embassy Suites & Convention Center in Frisco.

“What value are you going to bring? Who do you want to reach? Why is it important and why should they care? And what do you want them to do next?”

“What value are you going to bring? Who do you want to reach? Why is it important and why should they care? And what do you want them to do next?”

And don’t think that your startup company can’t be edgy.

She pointed to Freaker USA, a funky little company that makes drink cozies. The company’s messaging on its website is hilarious and definitely stands out against its competitors. It bills itself as the “global leader of preventing moist handshakes and sweaty beverages.”

Handley went straight to the source to find out where this wacky marketing idea came from.

“When you sell a product most people get for free at a trade show, your story is everything,” Handley said the company’s marketing officer told her.

Handley went on to talk about Blue Bottle Coffee Co., which has built a loyal following the San Francisco Bay Area despite tough competition from Starbucks.

For this startup, education was the key. The Oakland-based company offers classes on coffee on its website. Handley said she took the class as a joke but instead learned about the different types of coffee grinds and other engaging information.

“I learned something. I didn’t know I needed to know it. But I ended up learning a whole lot about coffee,” Handley explained. “I love the idea of making your customer smarter, training us why we should care about the product or service that you are selling.”

Another example highlighted marketing done by the Humane Society Silicon Valley in California. Instead of the same sad, advertisements showing abused animals in cages, the shelter told real stories about the animals and the people who adopted them.

That includes the story of Eric O’Grey, an overweight man who had been told he would die within five years. Instead, he adopted a dog, who was also middle age and overweight, and the two of them ran off the pounds together. Using the slogan, “Who saved whom?” the story went viral, getting national news coverage.

The summit also included a panel on how to effectively use video for your website.

“If you’re in a space where your competitors aren’t doing video well, if you’re doing content marketing, you need to consider what’s going to connect you to your customers the most.”

Jeremy Vest, founder of VidPow.com, discussed the importance of using live video, whether through Periscope or other means. The rawness of the live video clip, even if it’s not crisp and perfect, shows off your company’s message in a compelling way.

“If you’re in a space where your competitors aren’t doing video well, if you’re doing content marketing, you need to consider what’s going to connect you to your customers the most,” said Vest, who is YouTube certified. “It doesn’t matter who you are. It only matters if someone can be entertained or learn from you.”

He added that it’s critical for YouTube advertisements to be engaging within the first five seconds before the “click to skip advertisement” link appears. People are like ninjas when it comes to hitting that skip link, he said. For Facebook ads, the video must include text because there’s no sound unless the user clicks on your video.


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