It’s common for startup businesses to focus on design and development of their products without paying just as much attention to effective marketing. Regardless of how excellent a new product is, talented the entire team is, or how strong the vision is, it’s highly unlikely for a business to succeed if it doesn’t efficiently spread the word about itself. It’s no wonder that most new businesses fail in the long run. According to one study, about 50 percent of new companies fail after just five years.
Truth be told, startups face unique marketing challenges. They’re often running bootstrapped and lack the budget to compete with the big guys on advertising spend. But that’s just half the story. The many marketing options available these days can make it difficult for startups to know where to start.
This guide takes the guesswork out of startup marketing by listing the top tools that all startups should use to get their names out there successfully…
Social Media Marketing
In a report that was compiled by the Social Media Examiner, 90 percent of marketers said that social media was absolutely necessary to their businesses while 89 percent of them claimed that social media initiatives helped their companies generate increased exposure. That shows how powerful social media is as a marketing tool.
The huge number of social media networks can overwhelm startups. It’s important to note that it’s nearly impossible for a fledgling business to be active on all social networks. While all of them are great tools for promotion and building a community, they have unique characteristics that may make them suitable or unsuitable for a startup’s marketing strategy. The solution? Choose one to three social media marketing channels that best connect the business to its target audience. Choosing networks to engage in without any strategy won’t yield much success.
For instance, if your potential clients are on LinkedIn, you should concentrate your efforts on the professional network. On the other hand, a business that’s targeting an audience that’s young and laid-back is better off spending most of its time on a channel like Tumblr than on LinkedIn.
Regardless of what you might have heard or read, email marketing isn’t dead. As a matter of fact, it is still one of the most cost-effective strategies that can deliver an impressive return on investment (ROI). Some sources claim that the ROI can be as high as 400 percent or even more. Without a doubt, that’s the kind of return that every startup business would want to have.
Email marketing now involves much more than collecting emails to send newsletters and autoresponder campaigns to. It also includes advanced marketing automation that gives businesses more market segmentation options, allowing them to send personalized messages to potential customers at appropriate times. Some of the software that can be used to achieve that include ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, ConvertKit, and OntraPort.
There are certain best email marketing practices that startups need to follow to avoid doing more harm than good to their brand. These include:
- Using catchy, engaging, and feature-rich subject lines
- Breaking up text to make it easy for readers to scan
- Avoiding jargon
- Including the benefits that a product or service is going to offer
- Optimizing emails for mobile viewing
Startups should also experiment to learn what works best. They should send emails of different types, and at different times and frequencies. Findings from the comparisons of the various open and click rates can then be used to implement a winning strategy.
Press releases are an inexpensive means for a startup to have its brand featured in major media publications and pick up inbound links. They can be free provided the startup owner is ready to do all the hard work by searching for and emailing journalists.
Alternatively, he or she can part with several hundred dollars to have the release syndicated by a press release distributor like PR Newswire. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) can also help startups connect with journalists and get media coverage.
Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches per day. That being said, SEO isn’t something your startup should ignore. Therefore, investing in improving SEO can help a startup increase traffic to its website. What’s more, by the site having a high ranking in search results, potential customers will view the business as a reputable one.
In YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook advertising, your ad interrupts users and tries to get them to visit your website. On the contrary, through Google, you’re giving users the information they’re intentionally seeking.
As startups try to enhance their SEO efforts, there are several things they should remember:
- Improving SEO results takes time. It’s advisable to wait for at least three months before expecting to see a significant increase in traffic.
- Think about what’s best for your users. If what you’re doing is good for users, it’s also highly likely to be excellent for search engines.
- Hiring cheap can be expensive. Cheap SEO services will cost you more in the long run. To get good services, be open to paying a decent price.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a robust method that startups can use to generate sales-ready leads. The business pays whenever an interested person clicks on its advert. The model is popular with search engines and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The beauty of it is that it’s possible to pay as much or as little as you want. For example, you can pay $1 a day for some Facebook ads. However, if you want to see excellent results quickly or target high-traffic keywords, it may be necessary to invest a little more.
The old-fashioned referral is still a credible form of marketing. Potential customers are more likely to become paid customers if they’re told about your products or services by a friend rather than your adverts.
Referral programs contributed significantly to the early growth of Dropbox. The company put its users to work by encouraging them to share its services with friends in exchange for earning extra storage space. Within a month of launching this program, 2.8 million invitations were sent out.
Startups should come up with referral programs that turn their customers into brand evangelists. For example, they could offer discounts on subscriptions or cash rewards for every new customer referred. There are many tools that businesses can use to drive their programs. ReferralCandy, for instance, helps e-commerce companies reward people with a bonus every time they bring in new customers.
Influencer marketing is significant right now. In one survey, 94 percent of marketers described it as being useful. Influencers already have thousands of followers. Startups can use influencers to access their big audiences and get more traffic, leads, and customers. It’s less expensive than traditional forms of marketing.
A startup can rope-in micro-influencers then move on to using big influencers as its brand and budget grow. There are plenty of influencer marketplaces, such as Tribe, that connect businesses to influencers.
Marketing a startup can be a monumentally complicated task. The strategies we’ve listed are proven high-ROI marketing tools that can help startups stand out from the crowd and achieve their ultimate vision, even with limited resources.