One of the most important things any startup has to do right away is to start drawing in customers. You’re at a significant disadvantage against your competitors simply because they have been around longer. To catch up, you need to put a marketing strategy into place – one that is designed to raise your brand awareness as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, too many startups end up focusing on just one or two marketing strategies and ignore the rest. The result is many missed opportunities to bring in new customers. So, with that in mind, here are 6 strategies your startup shouldn’t ignore.
Search Engine Optimization
A good place to start is with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the strategy of tweaking your online presence to better suit what search engines are looking for. Search engines are the biggest drivers of traffic across the internet, but only if you can appear high in the search results. To do this, you need to know what major search engines like Google are looking for in your website, then make those adjustments to your site. Sometimes a few simple tweaks to your site is all it takes to move to page one.
For more information on how to get started with SEO, you can check out this guide.
The next strategy you shouldn’t ignore is social media. Social media is one of the best tools available for any business, but especially startups. This is because not only can you reach potentially millions of people, but you can do so practically for free. Anyone can sign up for social media accounts and begin interacting.
The only cost is your time investment, but you can get a lot out of social media with just an hour or two a week. If you don’t have accounts on all the major social platforms yet, now is a good time to create accounts for your startups and begin interacting with your audience.
When people think of marketing, they typically think of traditional outbound marketing. This is where the company reaches out to the customer and makes a pitch – like in cold calling or television ads. The idea behind inbound marketing is to bring the customers to you instead. With this approach, you’ll make helpful and valuable content – like in-depth blog articles or how-to videos – and post them online. Then, when your audience finds these helpful resources, they will learn more about your business in the process.
Inbound is a strategy that takes time to get right, making it important that you start early. If you can lay a strong inbound marketing foundation now, you’ll reap the rewards for a long time to come.
Many startups choose to follow the latest marketing strategies, such as SEO or social media, which is fine. However, you also shouldn’t forget about some of the more traditional approaches. You can still generate a great return on investment with old-school strategies like direct mail campaigns. People still check their mail every day, making it a great way to raise brand awareness in a local market. To get started all you need are some custom printed envelopes, stamps, and something to send out.
The newer version of direct mail campaigns is email marketing. Email marketing has the benefits of being easier to send out in mass, and you can more easily track your results. Every startup should have a way of collecting email addresses from their prospective customers so that they can reach out to them through an email marketing campaign. A lot of people ignore emails due to the massive amount of spam we all receive, but if you structure your email campaign correctly, you can get through this block. Here are some tips for doing that.
Finally, there is simple word of mouth. When you don’t have much of a reputation yet, referrals are a strong way to gain new customers. You could sit back and wait for your customers to mention you to others, or you can provide an incentive to speed up the process. A referral program is a great way to generate new customers and bring back old ones. For example, you could provide previous customers with a discount on a future purchase for every new customer they bring in. This extra nudge of incentive will get people talking about you without having to do much marketing at all.
Find What Works for You
Not every marketing strategy is perfect for every startup. However, you won’t know which strategies are the best unless you give them a try. If you’re just starting up a business, take some time to explore each of the strategies above, rather than only sticking with one or two. You can then see which ones work the best and apply more of your resources towards them.