The Ultimate Startup Marketing Strategy Guide
Starting a new business can be exciting but equally overwhelming. How do you set yourself apart? Why should the audience connect with your vision instead of an already established business? The answer to these questions is quite simple- an effective startup marketing strategy.
From your point of view, the product you have created may surpass that of your competitors. However, in reality, your product doesn’t hold much weight unless and until you work on selling it properly. Just because you know your product doesn’t mean everyone else will be on board with the same mindset. But marketing does exactly that- makes the audience aware of your product and your vision, so they eventually want to buy it.
What you need is a plan that will help you identify your key demographics, marketing channels that work for you, help you gain an edge over your competitors, and other such necessary aspects. In this blog, I am going to talk about how you can come up with such a plan and what options you have at your disposal to make your startup a success.
Develop a strategy
The first and foremost thing you need to do is create a strategy. Start with setting up goals for the initial phase of your business. This way, you will have a clear direction in mind, and you can align the tasks accordingly. Additionally, you will have something concrete to get all the employees on the same page. Shooting in the dark may give you a couple of lucky chances, but in the long run, a plan is always the way to go forward.
By figuring out the numbers you need to achieve to get on a good run for your money, you can also see which channels to emphasize. More precisely, you’ll know where you need to spend the most money and what to prioritize. This brings us to the matter of budget.
As you might have already figured out, setting up a budget for marketing is critical. While it’s very likely that you may need to put less or more money into certain channels when things actually get going, moving forward without a budget could get you in the ditch. Making adjustments along the way is bound to happen, but you’ll have a basic idea of how much you are spending and how to create a budget plan in the future.
Understand your audience and see where you fit in the market
Before you even think about getting started with marketing your product, you need to have a clear and concise idea of your audience. The reason why it is so important is that if you understand your key demographics, you will be able to target them in the right manner.
For instance, is your product for teenage kids? Or does it cater to the needs of a SaaS company? You see, the messaging for both these scenarios will vary extensively. Therefore, if you don’t know to whom you are selling your product, there’s no way you can build effective marketing campaigns. And it’s all about the messaging folks!
Another thing you have to pay attention to is the market and the industry. Get an accurate sense of how your competitors are performing, what tactics they are using to target their audience base. And before, know what the competition is like- are you up against a saturated market or does it have scope for you to make your place in it? Are the majority of your competitors established or are you competing with other startups? These questions are important to consider and will help you learn where your focus should be.
Now, this is an important one. You essentially need your website to be a hub of educational and informative content. Believe me when I say that prospects highly value good content. Although not everyone who comes to your blog will convert into a client, that won’t be because of the inefficiency of this channel.
Make sure to use search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword tools like Ahrefs, as they’ll ensure that you are writing about the right topics. See what kind of content your competitors are churning out and why is that content ranking. It’ll be some time before your blogs start ranking organically, however you can use paid ads or social media until then. Do keep in mind to create quality content that can be easily understood.
Channels like blogs also help you get a subscriber list. You can keep engaging these visitors through a weekly or fortnightly newsletter and if they show further intent, marketing nurture emails can be used for targeting them.
Other than blogs, you can also create gated content like eBooks, guides, white papers, and industry reports. This will help you get information about visitors, post which you can start nurturing them. When you have established a name in the industry, webinars and podcasts are sure great channels to grow your engagement further with your audience. These channels help you create thought-leadership content which can strengthen your position in your niche.
Once you have created meaningful content, you need to make sure that it reaches the right people. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Use social media: Platforms like LinkedIn are great for pushing your content further. Create compelling posts about your recent blogs or upcoming events of any sort to keep your audience updated.
- Paid ads: While creating resources like guides or whitepapers sound interesting, it might be hard to distribute them. One solution is to run paid ads for promoting such content. Have clear and compelling messages on your creatives that let people know how a particular resource could be valuable for them.
- Focus on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): Once you create a blog channel, you leverage it to increase submission rates for your other resources. CRO-based optimizations can help you do this. Focus on interlinking your blogs and resources, building backlinks for them, and use forms in-between blog content to promote resources. You can also leverage a sidebar or a top sticker to run creatives for newsletters or resources.
Email marketing is practically the backbone of your business. If you are unable to implement a highly effective email marketing strategy, your business is likely to take a serious hit. As we have already discussed, you can build a great email list through blogs and resources. These people have shown interest in the industry, so now you have a reason to target them further.
It would be a good idea to invest in a marketing automation software that will provide you with all the necessary insights needed for developing a strong email marketing strategy. Automation is critical for targeting the audience in the right manner these days, so make sure you don’t look past it.
A marketing automation software will allow you to personalize the content, integrate CRM insights, and help you automate campaigns to effectively move leads down the funnel.
Leverage social media marketing
An easy way to reach audiences quickly is through social media. Take a look at how the use of social media platforms is growing constantly. In such a scenario, it is almost imperative to leverage their popularity to build a business.
Now, the way you use social media platforms will depend on the type of your business and the product that you are selling. A B2C business could benefit immensely from an Instagram account or a Facebook page. On the other hand, in the case of a B2B business, you should primarily focus on running ads on social media channels.
Most importantly, you need to figure out which social media channels will benefit you the most. You should know which platform will be better for promoting what. Take for instance Linkedin, it is a good channel to keep people in the industry updated. Similarly, Twitter could be a way to attract new leads. The type of audience you are dealing with also plays a significant role here.
Once you decide on the previous part, ensure that you are familiar with all the tactics needed to increase the reach- the time range when you should be posting or the frequency of your posts.
Run paid ads
I have already touched upon the matter, however, you should know that running paid ads could give you quick results, which is not the case with other content forms. Ads are a way to let people know that you exist and they could leverage your service if the need arises.
You can leverage different forms of advertising according to target different audience segments. And, you should in fact leverage different paid ads strategies for the maximum return. For example, running ads on social media could bring you a new set of audiences, you can nurture these prospects and turn them into leads. Facebook advertising is huge these days and if you follow best practices, it can be a great way to reach people. Other than Facebook advertising, you can go for Google ads and Google Adwords.
Google ads can be beneficial if the search query related to your product ranks high. With Google Adwords, you can purchase inventory on websites that are related to your industry and run ads there. For instance, it would be a good idea to run ads for food products and toys for dogs on a website that focuses on animal foster care.
There are several other advertising, including Twitter advertising, Google retargeting, and Reddit advertising, which you can look into if you think such platforms could be of help for your business.
Build a digital PR strategy
After your content starts ranking organically, you can invest in digital PR for branding purposes. Press releases about your products or services, virtual events (for example fireside chats), and thought leadership content go a long way when it comes to establishing the brand name.
You will get backlinks for your website through such events, which will further ensure increased traffic to your website. As more people start to know about your product, you’ll see that your social media presence, as well as content rankings, are improving significantly.
As your business starts taking flight, you can also start participating in industry award programs. This could be a great way to establish a global presence as well. Have a PR strategist in place who can deal with journalists, has a great network and keeps a track of the industry-related events.
Additional points to consider:
- If you don’t focus on creating SEO-optimized content, it would become hard to rank blogs, which in turn could seriously affect the lead generation process.
- Don’t forget A/B testing while leveraging email marketing and paid ads. You never know which iteration works best for your business.
- Focus highly on segmenting your audience for better results.
- Using social media for connecting with customers could prove to be a good way to improve your online presence. This would also help establish your brand.
- In order to influence prospects or leads, you should use client testimonials and user-generated content.
- Once you think you have enough clients, a referral program could help in bringing more customers.
- If you are in the position to offer a free product trial, I’d say go for it. It will help build trust amongst leads and clients.
As daunting as starting a new business maybe, you have a plethora of tools at your disposal these days to ensure that you don’t fade into the background. It’s all about the strategies you use and how you use them. A successful venture would require using a number of strategies in collaboration with each other.
Lastly, focus on building a strong message and ensure that you experiment constantly to figure out the channels that work best for you.
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