November 26, 2018
Marketing strategies for startups
Alongside entrepreneurs and risk-takers, growing a company from the ground up is a task suited to committed. hard-working businesspeople. It takes a ridiculous amount of time and effort just to get a startup business going — let alone turning it into a financially viable company.
Most startup business owners need growth-focused marketing strategies that are quick-to-execute and affordable. These things aren't always easy to achieve together.
So, we've put together six marketing tips for startup owners that will help drive awareness, conversions and retention.
1. Pick a market position and commit to it
Have you ever planted something in the garden and decided you want to move it after a few months? If you have, you know there are three likely outcomes:
- After extra time, water and resources, the plant enjoys its new spot in the garden;
- The plant doesn't like being moved and its growth is stunted; or
- The plant really doesn't like being moved, or is damaged during the transfer, and dies
Think of your startup as the plant in the garden.
Before you plant your business, define your branding, selling points, and market position. It's the ideal time to research your customer and set your strategy. Changes later on down the line can work, but they also run the risk of stunting your growth.
Key takeaway: You'll see faster, more efficient growth if you plan well and commit to your core business ideas.
2. "Success" is the sum of all parts
The less money you have to work with, the tighter your bottom line will be. If you're founding a startup, you want to be completely clear about your success metrics.
Define your key outcomes and answer the question: "what does success mean to my company"? A good, well-considered answer will go further than just "make lots of money."
Brainstorm every possible metric that will lead to your idea of success, and map out a way to track each one. Some common outcomes businesses aim for each reporting period include:
- Increased website visits
- A high amount of leads generated
- The lowest possible customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- A high percentage of leads converted into customers
- High newsletter subscriptions and engagement rates
- A good NPS score that includes constructive feedback
Keep in mind, these are just examples. Figure out the top four to five metrics that are most important to your brand, and focus on them. By measuring these baselines, you can shift the focus on to what makes your customers happy, rather than just your bottom line.
This is an important thing to do because frankly, your customers don't care about your annual revenue. They only care about the benefits they get out of your product or service.
Key takeaway: Measure the customer experience so you can continually make it a good experience. If you do, people will keep coming back for more.
3. Be where your customers are
Your customers won't find you if you're not in the right places. Position your brand in the right places to ensure you're found.
For example, if you're operating in the B2B industry, using LinkedIn is an ideal way to connect to your at-work audience. Hone in on spreading informative content that businesses will find useful.
However if your audience consists of stay at home mums, LinkedIn is obviously not the best idea for reaching them. Facebook or Pinterest would serve you better. On Facebook, you could focus on generating reviews and good word-of-mouth, while Pinterest would be the perfect portal for spreading shareable, visual content.
Key takeaway: Study each channel and know the audience that uses each. Find where your audience is hanging out and spend your time and resources on the ones that are most relevant to your brand.
4. Focus on consistent, quality content
There's a reason that the phrase "Content is King" is thrown around all the time. It's true. And it's actually been around for over 20 years, stemming from Bill Gates’ 1996 essay by the same name. Gates made a prediction that content would be king and he was right on the money.
Today, the most successful brands distribute interesting content that's useful and relevant to audiences. They share ideas that their audience is interested in and interact with them across social media. This is an affordable, effective and organic way to communicate with audiences and build trust at scale.
In his essay, Gates said: "In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience… the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate."
Key takeaway: Create a content plan to communicate with your audience at scale. Keep an eye on SEO trends to spread awareness without massive advertising overheads.
5. Stick to who you are
Branding is the one thing you can exercise total control over, regardless of the challenges you may be facing. Once you've picked a name, theme and direction for your brand, keep it the same on every channel.
Ensure your logo and company name is the same everywhere. Wherever your customer can see you, they should be able to recognize you: including blogs, eBooks and on social media channels.
If your name is "Free Puppy Cuddles" on Facebook and your logo is a paw, then stay that way everywhere else. This allows people to build familiarity and trust with your brand. Next time they see one of your advertisements and they Google "Free Puppy Cuddles," you'll come right up.
Key takeaway: Keep your branding consistent and be crystal clear about who you are. That way, your target audience can easily find you and more importantly, trust you.
6. Email is better than ever
Building an email database is a very common approach to lead nurturing and generation. It's the preferred avenue of communication by B2B companies and an effective way to convert leads into customers.
Ensure your branding is on point, your subject lines are enticing and your copy is useful. Keep things fresh with different forms of content, and don't be afraid to add some flavor to your branding.
If you're going to start an email marketing campaign, plan it out and be tactical. Just don't email for the sake of emailing. Unless you like being in people's spam folders.
Key takeaway: Keep your open rates are as high as possible by mapping the customer journey and providing value at every touchpoint. When used correctly, email is a very effective way to nurture leads and turn them into paying customers.