Marketing your startup is the key to growth and startup success. This is certainly nothing new. Unfortunately, many startups fail to implement a marketing strategy that sets their brand, products, and/or services apart from the competition.
Did you know that 19 percent of startups fail to succeed due to being outcompeted?
It’s all about positioning your startup for success. It begins the day you enter your market, and really never ends. Utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) and core marketing principles, you can make achieving success easier.
Stop banging your head against the wall when it comes to marketing and follow the roadmap I’ve developed below. Let’s get right to it.
Startup Marketing Priority #1 — Plan For Success To Achieve Success
Planning should be your top priority when it comes to developing a strong marketing strategy. What are your goals? What are the KPIs? Who’s your audience? These are essential questions to be asking yourself when it comes to marketing.
A strong marketing plan is also more important than ever before. This is because there are so many different marketing channels to cover in the digital age. Organic traffic via SEO, paid traffic via ads, email marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce marketing, print and media, etc.
“Although the order is flexible, you do need to touch all the elements at least once, because each one neutralizes different biases,” a Harvard Business Review article noted. “Neglecting even one can lead you to focus on the wrong problem, idea, or solution. Creativity is a journey of sense making.”
Let’s take a closer look at key hallmarks to cover when planning your startup marketing strategy.
Be Goal-Oriented To Stay On Track
Goals are important in the process if you are serious about startup success. The primary goals of every startup or new business is to raise brand awareness and grow the customer base.
- Brand Awareness: Building a brand is no easy task. Many startups think “startup” when they should be thinking “brand.” Your brand needs to be front and center, highlighting who you are, what you do, and how your brand is better than your market competitors. Raising brand awareness gives your startup unprecedented online visibility. When a consumer becomes familiar with your brand, they are more likely to purchase from you over a competing company.
- Growing Customer Base: Getting more eyes on your brand, products, and/or services via brand awareness will help you net more customers. Goals can be increasing email opt-ins, growing leads, and actually converting site visitors to paying customers. These goals also serve as your KPIs. Each month you should see a boost in all three areas.
What’s Your Startup’s Target Audience?
You can’t begin raising brand awareness and building out your startup’s customer base if you don’t know who your customer is. This may seem pretty obvious, but it remains a marketing strategy essential many startups and new businesses miss the mark on.
This is an important marketing priority, because without in-depth data and information on who you’re marketing to, your efforts will fall short. This can slow your ability to achieve success.
Let’s say your startup is marketing an innovative digital tracking device for the elderly. Who’s the target audience for this product? You may be thinking of the elderly that will be using the actual tracking device. But this is not the real target audience. In fact, the target audience will be the elderly users’ children or caregivers.
Once you have a broad target audience, it’s time to narrow it down for marketing strategy success. Ask the following questions to do this:
- What’s the problem and solution of your startup’s product?
- Why is your offering unique?
- What are the differentiators that set your brand apart from competitors?
- Are you B2C, B2B, or both, and what are the unique offerings for each?
- Why would anyone want to use your product (top three call to actions)?
- What are the ideal ages, locations, income, technology, and other key demographics for your target audience?
You also want to know where your target audience hangs out online. This could be social media, forums, groups, and more. Knowing your target audience inside and out will help you find them, create personalized marketing assets for them, and convert.
Ensure The Startup Budget Matches The Marketing Goals
One of the top reasons startups fail is that they run out of money before goals are met and traction in the market is solidified.
This is quite possibly one of the most important marketing strategies to employ, because if your business runs out of cash, you will find it difficult to do any type of marketing campaign.
Plan out your marketing strategy and allocate a dollar amount to each tactic and goal within the strategy. This will give you a clear picture of what your budget looks like, and how X amount of your marketing budget did Y for achieving goals. Budgeting like this can also give you insight into what works and what doesn’t.
For example, if you spend $500 on social media content for the month, but you didn’t see much increase in brand awareness and new customers after $350 of campaigns, you can allocate $150 to another area of marketing.
Startup Marketing Priority #2 — Create A Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy
Marketing is not one-dimensional. It isn’t even two or three dimensional. Marketing is a multi-channel endeavor that combines several essential components, from on-page SEO to email and social media marketing. Many startups struggle with success due to two-dimensional marketing approaches.
Let’s dive a bit deeper on why you need to create a multi-channel marketing strategy and prioritize to position your business for success.
Yes, Your Startup Needs An Optimized Website
Having a website for your startup is a must. But don’t just set up a simple one-page site with zero search optimization value. Your website should be the cornerstone of what your brand is, what it does, why, and how. A startup website should tell a story, and have a lot of information.
This goes against the sleek and minimal look and feel many startups go for when designing their first site, especially in the tech and mobile app space. But if you don’t drive traffic to your website via SEO best practices, no one will see your site anyway.
Here are a few SEO best practices to follow when building and optimizing your startup’s website:
- Keywords: Develop a robust keyword list that can be used to drive organic traffic to your site. Shoot for 20 to 30 keywords that are moderately easy to rank for with a decent amount of monthly search volume. Not sure what keywords to use? You can check out your competitors keywords by doing a SEO competitor analysis.
- Navigation: Your startup’s website should have the basic categories present, such as home, about, products and/or services pages, team, mission, features, blog, and contact. Utilize your keyword list to build out highly optimized pages.
- Page Speed: It is important your website loads fast. This goes for your home page, as well as other pillar pages and blogs. A fast website that loads n under three seconds will rank higher in Google SERPs than competitor sites that are slow.
- Story: This is an optimization best practice that many startups leave out. To convert visitors into customers you need to have a compelling story. Attract them via keywords and close the deal by sharing a story that consumers love and find very relatable.
- Email Capture: This is an essential must-have for your website. In order to market to your target audience effectively, you’ll need a way to contact them. This is done via email. Set up an email capture on your site to build out your startup’s lead list. Having a strong lead generation tool can be a game-changer.
Make Email Marketing Non-Intrusive And Personalized
If you want to position your startup for success, email marketing is a must-do. However, email marketing is much different today. If you want to maximize opens and CTR, it is critical to make email marketing campaigns non-intrusive and personalized.
Here’s a great example of a non-intrusive and personalized email marketing campaign that focuses on rebranding:
You will notice that it’s providing key information with subtle hints of brand messaging. The open rate for this email campaign was nearly 68 percent.
Make each email count, otherwise you may find your unsubscribe numbers increasing. The primary aim of email marketing is to give value without being spammy. Tell your subscribers why you’re emailing them, the value they get, and what to expect in upcoming emails. This can be a recipe for startup success when done right.
Get Social To Position Your Startup For Success
Social media is a powerful asset to reach your brand awareness goals and build the customer base your startup needs to be successful. This definitely needs to be part of your multi-channel marketing strategy, since online users can discover your brand on social, click-through to your site, opt-in for emails, and become customers.
Your social media marketing strategy, however, needs to follow the same guidelines as your email marketing campaigns. Non-intrusive and personalized social media posts will win over spammy “buy now” posts every day of the week.
Spammy inauthentic social media post:
The right way to do social:
One is all about the sale while one is serving up an actionable tip without selling the startup’s product.
Knowing where your target audience hangs out on social media is also important. For instance, if your target audience is mainly female, Pinterest and Instagram are two social media channels worth posting more on. Did you know 72 percent of Pinterest users are females?
Know what social media channels your target audience uses the most, and post personalized, actionable social content for top-notch results.
Content Marketing Is More Than Just Blog Posts
Content is very much still King. Regardless of what people are saying online, content marketing is a powerful marketing strategy that startups need to leverage for success. But content marketing is more than just blogs. It encompasses so many areas in today’s digital age.
Should your website have a blog section? Absolutely. A site blog allows you to capitalize on more keywords and increase ranking on search engines. However, your content needs to be more versatile than simple text.
Let’s say you’re an search engine optimization expert who wants to expand business via a startup that combines advances in tech with SEO. You will definitely be writing actionable blog posts. But utilizing new forms of content, like video content and podcasts can position your startup for success.
An SEO podcast, for instance, can serve as a podcast, YouTube video, Spotify audio, multiple social media posts, and a blog post with the podcast transcribed. And don’t forget to utilize those keywords to drive organic traffic to all your content marketing campaigns.
Prioritize Startup Success With A Marketing Strategy Roadmap
Marketing a startup does not need to be challenging. With a strong, well throughout plan with clear goals and budget to match, success can be achieved. The top startup priorities above will get you moving in a powerful direction. You may not always see maximum results, but with determination and willingness to tweak strategies along the route will lead to startup growth and success.