Marketing for Startups
A successful startup marketing campaign doesn’t just happen overnight; crafting an intentional, targeted campaign requires understanding what a marketing strategy is and how to make it work for your business.
Then, you’ll need to develop a strong understanding of your target audience through market research and utilize that market research to craft a targeted marketing plan.
Let’s get into what you need to know to market your startup successfully:
Developing a Startup Marketing Strategy
Your startup’s marketing strategy is essentially a plan of action to grab the attention of customers that will help grow your business. Marketing strategies are crafted through research and planning to reach a target market of customers that your startup is geared toward.
These strategies do more than simply boost sales; an effective marketing strategy provides a variety of benefits that can help grow and shape your startup. Let’s take a look at the specific benefits a successful marketing strategy offers startups:
- Provides further understanding of your target market
- Gives you the tools to fine-tune products and services to align with a customer’s needs and reach business goals
- Increases your brand awareness
- Helps you focus more on sales and your financial goals
- Helps set your business apart
Simply knowing what a market strategy is and how it can benefit your startup isn’t enough to effectively market your business. You need a well-crafted, hyper-targeted strategy to get your startup the attention it deserves, and it all starts with doing adequate research:
- Identify your startup goals and objectives to center your strategy around your business’s best interests.
- Study your competitors, what works for them and what doesn’t. The goal here is to note techniques and strategies that are effective as well as what could be improved upon to reach your own target audience.
- Get to know what makes your startup unique, and use it as your selling point.
- Establish who your target market is and how you’ll reach them. Examples of this include hosting events or engaging on social media.
- Plan your marketing budget and how you will track the success of your campaigns. For example, using Google Analytics for social media campaigns.
Marketing Strategies for Your Startup
Now that you’ve established who your target audience is, who your competitors are, and what you have to spend on your marketing campaigns – it’s time to get to work by creating a marketing strategy for your startup. Deciding on the right startup marketing channel is the first step.
From content marketing to social media marketing, there are a variety of startup marketing strategies that can help you attract potential customers.
Try Social Media Marketing
It’s no secret that social media is the most powerful marketing tool available to businesses of all sizes. Harnessing the potential benefits of this startup marketing tool can be done in a few ways: posting quality content every day, engaging with your audience, and hiring a social media marketing professional.
Simply posting content to social media platforms can make a slight difference in building your startup’s online presence. However, quality, targeted content is the best way to grow your social media presence and strengthen your brand. Posting a steady stream of daily content geared toward your target audience keeps your followers engaged and steadily drives traffic to your account.
Engage with your target audience by giving your startup a voice to connect with customers. This entails responding to comments, reposts, and messages as well as sharing their posts about your products or services. Get your customers even more involved by doing a giveaway to grow your follower count and introduce new customers to your products.
Alas, social media may not be your cup of tea. In this case, hire a social media marketing professional or assign the role to an employee with expertise in the area. With social media being an effective marketing tool, it’s important that someone with a strong understanding of the platforms is at the helm of your startup’s online presence. Don’t be afraid to pass the torch.
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Implement SEO for Your Website
Ever wonder why the top websites on your Google search are what they are? It’s because of search engine optimization (SEO), an invaluable method of improving a startup's website traffic.
As with social media, SEO marketing efforts are dependent on meaningful, thorough content. Algorithms decide the ranking of websites, and one of the most valuable tools to boost your site’s rank is to generate high-quality content and post it regularly.
In addition to well-crafted content, algorithms used by search engines favor keyword-optimized websites and content. Keyword optimization is the process of identifying keywords that are gaining momentum as people search for them. The goal is to utilize these keywords in your content to drive traffic and boost your search engine ranking. Successfully implementing keywords is one of the most effective SEO tools available.
Recommended: Want to build a quality business website? Check out our review of the best website builders for small business.
Give Content Marketing a Try
Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves creating various forms of media, including articles, videos, or podcasts, for a target audience.
This startup marketing strategy gives your startup the opportunity to establish credibility and attract potential customers. The key to effective content marketing is developing valuable content that pertains directly to your industry; this could mean starting a blog or launching a YouTube channel to build brand awareness.
Content marketing directly relates to other marketing strategies on this list as the content created can be used in your marketing efforts on social media, in email marketing campaigns, and to increase website traffic.
Start Email Marketing
There has been a lot of debate as to whether email marketing remains an effective startup marketing tool with the introduction of social media and other digital marketing strategies. While there is a litany of other digital marketing strategies available to entrepreneurs today, email marketing remains one of the most effective, acting as a direct line to customers.
The first step to kick-starting a successful email marketing campaign is to build your email list. The good news is many customers want to know when you are having sales or product launches and will sign up for an email list to receive the information. However, there are a few ways to attract other potential customers that may not sign up on their own:
- Offer incentives such as discounts, shipping deals, or free trials as a motive for customers to sign up for email marketing.
- Write and deliver a newsletter with engaging content.
- Offer first access to sales and product launches to email subscribers.
If you’re interested in launching an email marketing campaign but lack the time or experience to craft promotional emails and newsletters, hiring an email marketing service or email marketing professional may be a perfect solution. Email marketers are well-versed in growing a business’s email list, designing eye-catching emails, and filling them with content that accurately represents your brand and appeals to your customer base.
Create Promotional Materials
Go old school by designing promotional materials that you can physically give to potential customers. Whether you have an event, product launch, or you simply want to provide contact information — promotional materials give customers a physical representation of your business that they can keep referring back to.
Make business cards and brochures that provide important information about your startup and how to get involved. Physical reminders of your business are not only more personal, they make a great first impression. With this marketing strategy, the design is everything — meaning you need a well-crafted logo and branding to catch potential customers’ eyes.
Partner With Industry Influencers
If you’re on social media, you’ve most likely seen sponsored content shared by influencers. Typically, social media influencers have gained their title by cementing themselves as a spokesperson for an industry. They keep a finger on the industry’s pulse at all times. Partnering with these influential personalities provides your brand with a representative that can vouch for your product and bring in new customers, otherwise known as affiliate marketing or referral marketing.
The good news, there are influencers in every industry, both macro and micro. Depending on your budget and the goal of your marketing campaigns, there are a few ways to partner with them. The first being an exchange of products or services for promotion. Generally, this is an approach best used for micro-influencers that are looking to grow their personal brand. Provide incentive through commission or brand ambassadorship programs to motivate these influencers to work with your brand.
Another technique is to send products without requirement for a review. This is a method of gifting that is best suited to influencers with a moderate to strong following, and the aim is to provide them with a sample of what your business has to offer. This can parlay into a partnership or simply a way to gain exposure if the influencer decides to post about your products by choice.
Finally, you can pay influencers directly to promote your product. This is a technique best used if you have already developed a rapport with an influencer that has a strong following and wide reach. For macro-influencers, this is often the route you’ll have to go in order to form a partnership.
Attend and Host Networking Events
Competitors, industry influencers, and fellow entrepreneurs can form a system of support and collaboration that is valuable to the success of a startup. The best way to encourage this type of community is to attend or host networking events for your industry.
A good place to start is online forums or groups. With more and more of our daily lives and work tasks being done online, connecting digitally is a common and effective strategy to build a network of industry professionals. If you’re not sure where to start looking, we suggest social media to jump start your community building by reaching out to others in your industry to learn more about networking events and entrepreneur meetups.
Alternatively, you can host your own networking events and invite fellow industry professionals, entrepreneurs, and influencers to come and connect. Whether in-person or digital, networking events offer you the opportunity to strengthen your brand and build the groundwork for long-lasting, valuable partnerships.
Startup Marketing Summary
Gaining the exposure you need to launch and sustain a successful startup is easily done with a well-crafted marketing strategy. Whether you’re planning an email marketing campaign or hosting networking events — the right marketing strategy can rapidly grow your startup and help you meet your business goals. For more information about starting your own business, read our guide on how to start a startup.