This story was originally published in the June 2021 issue of Entrepreneur.
1. Borrow trust.
“In the current climate, customers are largely spending their money with brands they know and trust. That is a challenge for a new brand like ours, which launched weeks before the pandemic and hasn’t had the same amount of time to build that trust. Therefore, we have leveraged influencer marketing to leverage the trust they have with their followers, who look to them as guides for product recommendations and reviews.” — Tiffany Paul, founder and CEO, Slept
2. Turn down the noise.
“Last fall, our competitors were flooding the market with deeply discounted products — while simultaneously investing heavily in Google ads. We were losing on our own branded keywords. Instead of competing dollar to dollar or discount to discount, we pushed our brand awareness marketing and moved spend onto YouTube, where we could tell our unique brand story in a video format that other brands could not compete with. This translated into not only more sales conversion but also a brand awareness spike.” — Matt Scanlan, cofounder and CEO, Naadam
3. Let them decide.
“We find that customers are more interested than ever in house clothes, but the most important factor — softness! — is hard to judge online. Even the lowest-quality loungewear proclaims it’s the softest on Earth. So we started broadcasting our 77-day, no-questions-asked guarantee up front. Customers feel a lot better knowing it’s risk-free to try them on, and we get more opportunities to show them that our clothes live up to expectations.” — Andrew Goble, cofounder, Jambys
4. Keep it simple.
“Understand a pain or frustration that people may feel. (And there are plenty of them!) Then deliver a unique solution. It starts with a compelling product. Then attract attention with a focused visual. Drive action with succinct, conversational copy. Apologies if that sounds boring and isn’t a hack, but it is more sustainable." — Craig Elbert, cofounder and CEO, Care/of
5. Ditch discounts.
“The most important thing in converting a new customer is to not offer them discounts to have that first interaction with your brand. The largest mistake brands make is having the first transaction be driven off discount, starting the relationship off on the wrong foot. Especially during COVID, people have a lot on their plates, and the last thing they need is discounted product shoved in their face. It feels disingenuous.” — Jason Griffin Reidel, cofounder and CEO, Gorjana
6. Listen up.
“For B2B businesses, show your buyers the value that your products and services will deliver to them on day one. It starts with your first sales conversation: Focus on understanding their pain points. Although it seems off-balance, a good salesperson spends 20 percent of their time talking and the other 80 percent listening. This helps you build rapport and allows you to map your solution to their unique needs. Once you’ve got them hooked, outline the implementation game plan, giving them confidence that your team is going to be with them every step of the way.” — Kraig Swensrud, cofounder and CEO, Qualified