Startup marketing—you can’t skip it—no one will know you exist.
But you can’t afford it—cash flow is your #1 priority and primary enemy.
So, what’s the answer?
Focus on low-to-no-cost startup marketing strategies that you can automate and optimize to reach your target consumers.
Here are our top five tips for startup marketing success.
Create A Marketing Plan
We’ve covered the basics of developing a marketing plan in previous articles. It can’t be overemphasized—without a marketing plan, you’ll waste precious time and money. Your marketing plan drives everything.
But, before you can create a marketing plan, you need to articulate why you started your business: what are your vision, mission, and business objectives.
Your startup marketing success depends on your ability to tell your story to your target audience.
Vision and mission are not the same things.
Your vision can be far-reaching and seemingly unattainable, but something to strive for. For instance, let’s say you’ve developed a SaaS product that will create a seamless interface between multiple productivity apps. Your vision might be that the global workplace will be stress-free, enabling an unlimited power of creativity to change the world.
Your mission statement is more objective. For example, your mission might be to provide every company in the (specific industry) with the tools to improve productivity and creativity.
Here’s another example: you’ve launched a fashion design business. Every garment is hand-sewn and uniquely designed yet affordable. Your vision might be that no one in the world should suffer from a lack of clothing. But, on the other hand, your mission might be to provide unique, creative, and affordable garments that bring a sense of respect and happiness to their wearers.
Your business objectives are measurable outcomes that help you achieve your mission.
Your mission, objectives, branding, and content make up your brand personality. Everything must be in perfect alignment with your founding vision. If there are any inconsistencies, your target consumers will see it, and you’ll lose their trust before you get the chance to develop a relationship with them.
Taking the time to articulate your vision, mission, and business objectives will make it much easier to optimize your marketing plan. As a result, you’ll reach your business objectives and target audience.
Build A Website
Your website and email list are the two most valuable assets in your startup marketing toolbox. Depending on your product or service, you may find yourself marketing on social media channels, but these are rented properties. However, your website belongs to you and is free of algorithm interference. Of course, you still need to rank in Google and other search engines. Still, if you focus on UX and publish valuable content for your customers, you’ll succeed in moving up the SERPs.
You don’t have to bust the budget to build a website. WordPress, for example, has hundreds of templates to help you create a dynamic website to attract your customers. In addition, apps like Canva make creating videos and other visual content quickly and affordably, so your website is engaging and easy to navigate.
In addition to providing your consumer audience with valuable information about your products or services, your website serves as a sales portal. Therefore, you’ll want to create engaging pages that lead your customers through the sales funnel and ultimately to your sales staff or e-commerce store.
Your website can also serve as the host for your brand community. We’ve covered the importance of word-of-mouth marketing in previous articles. You’ll be able to tap into consumer sentiment, answer questions and learn more about your customers’ needs and concerns. In addition, you can use your brand community to test new product or service ideas and engage in two-way conversations with your customers.
Building a brand community enables you to optimize the power of word-of-mouth marketing to build trust, recognition, and business growth. You can host your brand community on your website or a Facebook page.
Forget About Algorithms: Build An Email List
Like your website, your email list is a digital asset you own and control. But, unlike on social channels, where your target audience may see your content, your email goes directly to their inbox. And if you follow some of the tips in our recent article, “How To Power Up Your Email Marketing Success Rate,” your startup marketing campaigns will reach their targets. You’ll create demand for your new products or services and turn that demand into sales.
Choose Two Social Channels
There are roughly 20 viable social media channels. However, your startup marketing success doesn’t depend on using every channel out there. Furthermore, you don’t want to be on every social platform, especially as a startup or small business. For example, just because everyone is on TikTok doesn’t mean you must be there to succeed. You don’t have to drive yourself crazy creating and posting Reels.
How should you choose?
- Who is your target audience?
- What social channels do they use?
- What kinds of digital content do they consume?
- Which channels fit your personality?
The last question is critical. You do want to be where your audience is, but at the same time, consistency is vital. As a startup business, especially if you’re handling the marketing, you want to choose channels that suit your personality. In this way, you’ll be sure to be consistent.
Do you like to make videos? And your target audience loves videos? Then YouTube might be your channel or video content on social sites such as TikTok and Instagram.
Love to write? Then your focus should be on building up the blog page on your website. Then, maximize your effort by turning those articles into snippets for social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
Is talking your thing? Then consider podcasting, which has become one of the leading channels to drive traffic to your website, build brand awareness and reach audiences wherever they are. Podcasting also has the added advantage of enabling you to create more engaging content for your customers on your website, blog, or social channels.
You’ve heard it—Content is King! While you have many options regarding where to spend your startup marketing time and money, content is not something you want to skip. But not just any content.
Content marketing only works if you produce content that serves your customer base. Content for the sake of content will drain your budget and place your authenticity and brand reputation at risk.
Your early work to optimize your business and marketing goals should drive your content marketing strategies. However, your priority should be to create and distribute helpful content to your consumers—that addresses their needs, wants, and concerns. Take advantage of social listening tools to help you find out the issues of concern to your customer audience. Research your competitors to find out what content is engaging their customers. Once you begin publishing, use analytics to measure engagements. Use surveys, polls, and contests to dig deeper into your target audience’s interests, needs, and concerns.
Recently, Google announced an algorithm update designed to go after what they consider content written for SEO. The algorithm will promote “helpful content,” articles written with the audience in mind. The algorithm will suppress websites focused on improving search rankings and boost those focused on consumers. The goal is to increase access for searchers to authentic, high-quality content.
So make sure your content is helpful, authentic, and written for your customers.
When do you need to start marketing? Before you launch your startup. Use digital channels to build a personal brand. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you can build your reputation on LinkedIn and maybe Twitter or Medium. As soon as you go live, launch your startup marketing campaign.
Take advantage of automation apps to help you be consistent on your chosen channels.
Keep it simple initially, focusing on your website and one or two social channels that align with your marketing goals and target audience.
Let us know what you think in the comment box below. And, if you haven’t signed up for the blog, please do so.