What is one of the most common reasons startups fail? This is because they underestimate the power of marketing.
It is easy for young entrepreneurs and company founders to become obsessed with business plans, fundraising, product development, and goal setting, so they often forget to ask one important question – how are we going to market our business? Some startups start thinking about marketing when it’s too late, while others don’t even make it.
Companies like GroupSpaces, Everpix, and RiotVine had amazing ideas, meticulous planning, and exceptional product offerings. However, they lacked product-to-market fit, customer trust, and brand recognition, which in turn cost them their entire enterprise.
So don’t make the mistake of skipping the marketing plan and regretting it later. Instead, check out our startup marketing tips and how to start your own business.
1. Set clear goals and key performance indicators
The development of any marketing strategy begins with the definition of goals that reflect what you want to achieve. These can be short term goals or long term goals. You can also categorize them by end results – increased sales and revenue, improved SEO ranking, entering a new market, etc. Make sure you link these goals to your entire business plan.
Once you know what you are striving for, you need to determine how you will measure your success. This includes setting relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress.
Examples of some of the metrics you can include in your report based on activity:
- Lead & Sales – Number of New Leads, Conversion Rate, CPA, Promoter Net Rating, etc.
- Website SEO and Traffic – Organic Traffic, New and Returning Visitors, Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate, Goals Achieved, Events, Keyword Rank, Page Authority, etc.
- Social media – return on investment (ROI), engagement rate, gain factor (or how much your followers actually engage with your content), social media conversion rate, etc.
- Advertising – Acquisition cost, leads and conversions from paid advertising.
If you’re unsure of your marketing knowledge or your team doesn’t have it, contact an experienced marketing agency to help you get started. With some outside help, you can set the right goals and approach to avoid any kind of marketing failure.
2. Define your target audience
The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to target them. Understanding the needs and wants of your target customers can help you communicate better with them, build brand trust and loyalty, and improve your marketing strategy.
Once your target market is clear, you can create a clear action plan on how to approach it and successfully acquire new customers.
Research and brainstorm with your team to create buyer profiles based on different sets of criteria for each stage of the buying funnel. This will help you get to know the people you are trying to reach and target them properly.
3. Pay attention to SEO and content marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical component of any digital marketing strategy. It’s a free and smart way to engage your target audience by letting them find you organically. With a good content marketing strategy in place, you can create and promote useful and original content that will help you index your pages for specific keywords.
A ranking in the top search engine results (SERP) indicates that your website is a valuable source of information. This gives consumers a sense of confidence in your business, thereby building trust and credibility.
To boost your SEO, your website must be well organized. Its pages should be properly titled and thematically related. This ensures that whenever a customer searches for a product like the one you offer, they can easily find and navigate your page.
It also ensures that search engines know the exact information about your site and how it links to other pages.
4. Invest in Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great approach to building your startup network and expanding your digital presence. But it’s not as easy as just sending an email. This is a long-term strategy that requires careful planning and frequent revision and improvement.
This includes creating an appropriate email template that can deliver your message to the right customers. Content should be tailored to the language of your buyers and reflect the various stages of their journey to purchase. It should be targeted, personal, and specifically designed with your audience in mind.
You must set some parameters to measure the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. For example:
- Track click through rate, open rates, forward rate, and more.
- Determine the appropriate frequency for sending emails – once a month, once a week, once every two weeks, etc.
- Consider the size of your email list and use smart tricks to grow it – for example, make a subscription form available on every page of your website.
- You should also track and analyze website email conversions.
Based on this data, you can adjust your content and approach to keep your followers engaged.
5. Develop an effective social media strategy.
Did you know that your customers spend approximately 2 hours of their time on social media every day? How are you going to stand out when there are so many brands competing for customer attention?
Social media is more than just a means of building brand awareness. It initiates a two-way dialogue with your audience and allows you to get to know them better. This is a great source of feedback that can also give you tips on what you need to improve on your product or service.
To ensure an outstanding social media presence, consider the following points:
- Take a unique approach to each social network – find where your customers are and plan a strategy for each platform you want to use. Share content that helps them engage with your brand. Add links to your website and cross-promote your profiles on other social networks to get more exposure.
- Learn from experience – performance information is available on any social media platform and can be your secret weapon to success. Social media analytics can provide you with data about audience engagement, preferences, and demographic and interest data. Using this information, you can segment your customers and run customized campaigns for specific groups.
- Don’t be afraid of reviews – ask your customers to share reviews on social media. Buyers don’t often think about adding a review unless they’re asked to.
6. Organize a Giveaway and Offer a Free Trial
Your brand is new and people may be skeptical about your products. Therefore, it is normal that they do not trust you at first. So how about offering them something for free to break the ice?
Treat your first interested potential customers to a free version of your product or service. Depending on the specifics of your business, you can also offer special promotions or gifts for first time purchasers. By giving compliments, you will surprise your customers and make them feel special.
One of your goals as a startup is to build a network of supporters, so this will be a good way to get feedback and your first feedback. You can get an idea of which features they appreciate and which ones can be improved.
Free plans and trials will complement your marketing strategy as it is an opportunity to start collecting lead data that you can use for future campaigns and promotions.
You can also set up a raffle and make some noise around it by partnering with a bigger brand in your niche that can help you get promoted. This will increase your brand awareness as you will also be able to reach out to their audience.
7. Launch your referral program.
Referrals, or the so-called word of mouth marketing, is quite a powerful tool to draw attention to your products. This concept means that happy customers will talk about your brand to their networks. They will become your ambassadors and promote your business. If they bring new customers to you, they will receive discounts on your product or other benefits.
Statistically, referral marketing programs work because:
- 83% of shoppers trust their friends and family to recommend a product.
- B2B companies that have referrals achieve 70% higher conversion rates than companies without them.
- Referral leads convert 30% better than leads from other channels.
8. Feature yourself in a major publication.
If you get featured in a major publication among other trusted sources, you will gain popularity and trust with your target audience. This tactic has various advantages such as:
- Increasing your brand awareness
- Building Online Reputation and Authority
- Increasing your site’s domain authority
- Increasing your traffic
Mentioning your business in a major publication may cost you more effort because it’s not easy, but it will add points to your credibility as an industry expert.
You can start by creating quality content that will help build relationships with reputable websites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, New York Times, etc. by sharing and interacting with their content.
You can go even further and offer a guest post. When promoting your ideas, you need to offer a topic that is relevant to your business, but at the same time relevant to the publisher’s audience.
If this seems too complicated for you, you can always hire a professional to take care of your content marketing.
9. Sponsor an event
Sponsoring a local event or online conference can also help you get your startup off the ground and reach the right audience. Whether it’s online or physical, you can sponsor an event related to your industry and use banners or marketing materials to make people remember your brand.
As online events become more and more popular, let’s highlight some cool ideas you can try if you are sponsoring an online event:
- Add banners or popup ads during your live stream.
- Use sponsored screensavers or video ads.
- Share on social media that you will be the sponsor of the event.
- Create brand registration pages.
- Organize a virtual game.
By sponsoring an event, you have the opportunity to strengthen your brand and demonstrate your commitment to a particular community and make your brand stand out from the competition.
10. Create a video showcasing your product or company.
Did you know that 96% of people learned about a product by watching an explainer video? Explainer videos are an effective way to showcase your company or product to your target audience. These types of videos are usually placed on the landing or home page of your website.
Video is also very good at influencing people’s decisions, as 84% of people say they were convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
Having an explainer video on your website helps people get to know your business. If you are planning to shoot a video explaining your brand values or showcase your products, keep these tips in mind:
- Keep it short.
- Keep it simple and briefly explain the benefits your customers receive.
- Use a professional tone.
- Choose the right music.
- Use some humor if it suits your company.
Starting a business is always challenging, from positioning your brand in the marketplace to fighting the competition and overcoming financial hardship. Implementing a startup marketing strategy is essential to your growth but is often neglected. Remember that with careful planning and collaboration, your startup will grow.