Ready to be a startup entrepreneur? Do you believe you have a service or product that will change the world? 2022 could be a fantastic time to launch that good idea. Startups are the leading business model driving innovation and economic growth worldwide.
Not all startup entrepreneurs are successful, though, and there are many reasons, chiefly poor cash flow. But another is no branding strategy.
This article is about branding specifically for startup entrepreneurs. We’ve covered some of the basics of marketing strategies, branding, and content marketing in previous articles. So, let’s jump in and talk about how to boost your startup to the top of the leader board.
The Great Resignation Is Creating New Startup Entrepreneurs
The global pandemic disrupted virtually all aspects of our lives, but one of the more long-lasting ones is how people think about work. What’s being called “the great resignation” is in part driven by remote work and new attitudes about work-life balance. It’s fueling a founder’s movement as more people move their ideas from the back burner and put them into motion. More people want to be innovators and the drivers of their financial success rather than employees depending on corporate execs.
Your Startup Niche Matters
The amount of competition you’ll face as a startup entrepreneur depends on the niche you choose. Most 2021 startup founders decided to leap into the fintech vertical. Following closely behind were life sciences and healthcare, and artificial intelligence. Rounding out the list of leading startup industries were gaming, AdTech, EdTech, CleanTech, Blockchain, robotics, cybersecurity, and AgTech. (Statista.com)
E-commerce is one of the most popular industries for startup entrepreneurs, contributing to the growth of fintech. But as the world becomes more digitized and SaaS continues to rise, there will be an increased need for robust cybersecurity solutions for all businesses. Online security is critical for governments, industries, and consumers.
As the world shifts out of the pandemic stage, we seem to be moving toward a hybrid existence. The emphasis on distance learning for all grades appears permanent, creating fertile ground for EdTech startup entrepreneurs.
A recent Forbes article notes that the industries most ripe for startup entrepreneurs are
- online investing
- remote hybrid tools
- entertainment (primarily cloud gaming), and
Geography Matters Too
If you’re a startup entrepreneur in the U.S., you’ve got much more competition than if you launch your startup in Brazil.
5 Essential Branding Tips For Startup Entrepreneurs
We wrote an article last year about why businesses fail. We’re not going to repeat those statistics, but you can read them here. Most new businesses fail, primarily due to poor financial planning. But, another challenge cited by Statista is generating new business. When you’re a startup entrepreneur, you don’t have a history. Therefore, a robust branding strategy is the only path to business success.
#1 Startup Entrepreneurs Need A Personal Brand
You have a great idea.
You’re ready to launch.
Should you seek money first?
The moment you begin to formulate your startup idea, you need to build a personal brand. Since your new business has no established history of success, potential investors or collaborators will look for information about you. So they’ll Google your name.
Maybe you already have an account on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Take a look at your posts. Is this the brand message you want potential investors or partners to see? How about your early-stage customers?
Your personal brand should demonstrate your capabilities to be a successful entrepreneur.
- What is your expertise in the industry?
- What is your passion?
- How are you involved in global issues?
Use the digital platforms that you select to preview your startup idea. Then, begin to tell the story of your future launch. Talk about why you’re doing it and what you hope to achieve.
Start a personal blog or use a third-party platform such as Medium or Substack to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. You’ll build your personal brand and grow an organic audience that you can connect to your startup once you launch.
#2 You Need A Website
Before seeking capital for your startup, build a website to establish legitimacy. You don’t need to invest a fortune in website design. Many low-cost platforms, such as WordPress and Wix, can help you get a user-friendly website up within a few hours. According to statistics, 92% of business owners believe that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy.
Your website is the official face of your startup, even if you also open business profiles on social media channels. As a new business, your website is the only repository of all the information potential funders, investors, partners, and customers can access to decide whether to do business with you.
Last week, we wrote about social shopping, and perhaps your startup idea fits perfectly in this model. But, don’t be tempted to skip the website. When you’re brand new on social media, with no brand identity, your website is the only way to establish trust with your audience.
Your website copy should demonstrate that you know your industry, competitors, and audience. Your goal is to increase traffic to your website to grow your organic and targeted audience. So, make sure your copy is clear and engaging. User experience is a huge factor in the success of your website. Be sure to include a blog on your website.
#3 Building Your Startup Brand Voice
The strategy for startup entrepreneurs shifts now to developing your business brand. The key to successfully building your startup brand identity is consistency. You’ll want to infuse your brand language and personality into all your collaterals: website, blog, and social media channels.
Your goal is to develop instant awareness—when someone hears or reads that particular brand message or sees those brand colors and logo, they’ll know it’s you.
- Find your voice.
- Establish an identity different from others in your industry.
#4 Social Media For Startup Entrepreneurs
Now at this point, you’re building a brand with an organic audience because nobody knows you exist.
But of course, when you’re a startup entrepreneur, you can’t be involved with the world because you have many other things to do. For example, you have to launch your new business, perhaps hire a team to work with you, and be responsive to your investors.
The first step to successful marketing for any company is creating a strategy. But, it’s even more imperative when you’re a startup entrepreneur.
- Define Yourself
- Are you B2C or B2B?
- What are your products or services?
- What is your geographical area?
- Who is your target audience?
- Why should your target audience buy your product or service?
“In 2022, startups must meet customers where they are, help them go further, and shine a light on unseen problems.” (Joost Van De Velde, Forbes Business Council article)
Choose Your Social Media Channels
As you begin to answer these basic questions, you’ll identify the social media platforms that will help you successfully launch your startup. Then, do your research and understand the users and algorithms of each platform to help you target your efforts because you can’t be everywhere.
Suppose you’re a B2B startup entrepreneur. In that case, you’ll want to target LinkedIn and Twitter, whereas B2C brands have more success on Facebook and Instagram. However, other social media channels such as Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube can also help you grow your business.
- Your startup budget is tight, so you don’t want to waste it on paid ads and promos.
- Use social media to post updates.
- Tweet out new developments in your industry and your progress with your startup.
- Use LinkedIn to share stories about your startup and to build a personal connection with your brand. For instance, post articles about yourself, partners or team members, funding accomplishments, your vision and mission, and volunteer activities.
- Write white papers.
- Submit guest posts on other websites and blogs that are in your industry.
#5 Startup Entrepreneurs Need Tools
An essential element in all successful branding campaigns is consistency. As a startup entrepreneur, your time is limited. Yet, at the same time, you need to let the world know you’ve arrived. Consistently publishing content to the social channels you prioritize will help you turn your organic audience into customers and ultimately brand ambassadors. So, how do you do it all?
You use scheduling and design tools. Fortunately, you have many options today, most of which offer free plans.
- Scheduling apps such as Later, Hotspot, Sprout, and Buffer help you plan, organize and post consistently.
- Facebook hosts a publisher page for businesses to plan and schedule posts and stories for FB and Instagram.
- Canva is a powerful app to help you design social media posts, including videos for digital media channels.
If you’re ready to be a startup entrepreneur, you’re in good company. And by all indicators, 2022 is a great year to launch. Funding and branding will be your most difficult challenges, but you’ll succeed with these startup brand strategies:
- Start slow
- Build your personal brand
- Design your website
- Create a brand message and personality
- Target your audience
- Choose digital channels that you’ll use
- Be consistent
- Make use of free tools
- Enjoy and have fun!
Let us know what you think in the comment box below. And, if you’re not already a subscriber, join today. Thanks!