Great idea, excellent product and a competent team! If you think this is the recipe for your startup’s success, you are probably mistaken. This is because you have missed the secret ingredient: Marketing. We see the giant behemoths spending millions on marketing; brands that are already well established such as Coke and Pepsi. Then, imagine how crucial marketing is for a startup.
If you are an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur-to-be, then keep in mind that it is marketing that will take your startup to new heights.
Since every startup is unique, no one formula will work every time. However, there are certain general underlying principles that you can follow. The most important ones are: know your customers and what channels they follow to gather information.
“To be successful, you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products.” – Brian Halligan, Hubspot.
Here are some strategies that you can use to market your startup:
Get on Social Platforms
Startups are usually short on cash and do not have enough budget to spend like the big giants. So, the best strategy is to leverage social media platforms. Social media advertising spend doubled from 2014 to 2016 alone, reaching $31 billion from $16 billion. This is because social media is cheap, you can control the budget, and it works.
Once you have made your website, make an account on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Facebook and Instagram give you multiple options for advertising. You can create sponsored ads for your target audience. Other than that you can have in video ads. Same is for Instagram. You can opt for stories or feed ads.
Try to balance between benefits and costs. According to WordStream, the cost per click for Facebook is $1.72, and cost per 1000 impressions is $9.08. While the cost per click for Instagram is $1.28 and the cost per 1000 impressions is $6.70. Hence, it is essential that you use a mix and match of platforms and don’t risk all your eggs in one basket.
YouTube will also benefit your business since it is the second most visited website and you will get instant exposure there. The website has billions of users who watch a billion hours of videos every day. There are two ways you can market on YouTube. One you can make your own channel and put some interesting content on it such as ‘How To’ videos or tutorials. This will give you credibility and authority in your sector. By showing your audience how your product solves their problems, you can advertise through other videos by placing ads.
Email marketing is another effective way to get in touch with your customers. Try to capture the email addresses of your customers on any possible touch point, including your website. Make sure your website has a professional look. If you are an e-commerce business, then it would be better if you get it designed by an e-commerce web design company.
You can make a popup for subscription on the website and entice visitors to subscribe. Once you build a database, you can shoot emails with the latest promotions or news about your company.
Do you know for every $1 that you spend on email marketing you get $38 in return? Yes, that’s how effective it is. In fact, email marketing is even more effective than Facebook ads. This is because 90% of the emails that you send are delivered to the inbox, whereas only some of your target audience get to see the ads.
Marketers are mostly concerned about conversions, and email marketing gets you the figures. According to statistics, the average click-through rate of an email campaign is 3 percent, while that of a tweet is only 0.5%. This means that you are 6 times more likely to get a customer to click on the email than through Twitter. Hence, you should make email marketing a crucial part of your digital strategy.
Use search advertising
The best way to get customers is to be there when they need you. We mean that when people need something, they turn to Google and it would really hurt you if you are not there. One way to improve your ranking is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
You need to continuously build good content for Google to boost up your rankings. However, if you want instant results, then you can opt for Search Engine Marketing (SEM). This approach will cost you, but the best part is that you will only have to pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. So thousands of people may see it, but only the interested ones will click on it. So you pay less, and you land on the first page of Google.
Start a PR campaign
To spice up things a bit, you can start a PR campaign, which will get you quick results. However, the key to acing the PR campaign is to know who to reach out to. This depends upon what you want to communicate.
The first stage involves clearly defining your goals. Some of the goals of a PR campaign include: building awareness, improving the brand image or generating leads. Don’t target big publications for the first time unless you have a worthy announcement for a large audience.
Start small by guest articles, blogs or influencers. If you have a really interesting product, then you could send in your pitches to certain journalists who would cover your interview. You can use ContactOut To find emails addresses to contact them.
Marketing is no doubt essential, but marketing just for the sake of it is not. Hence, if you want to get results, then you need a robust marketing plan and clear objectives that help you measure if the plan is working or not. You also need to be precise about your target audience, or there is no use of wasting money. Hence, keep asking yourself who I want to talk to.