If you are reading this blog, it is because you are going to start your company, or possibly you have started it recently. Maybe you are piloting an innovative project, one of the many startups struggling to create new model. One of the biggest challenges you will have to face is making your company known. That is why I have prepared this series of 10 tips for you to create the marketing strategy of your startup.
Design your marketing and communication plan
It is not worth trying marketing strategies haphazardly. First you have to clearly define what your communication is going to serve. In particular, you are going to have to reflect very well on the following aspects:
1. What is your end goal?
It seems silly, but if you do not know where you want to go, it is very difficult for you to choose the right path. Clearly define what you want to achieve with your communication: brand recognition, visits to your website, sales, increase your fan base, etc.
It is also important to set a deadline to achieve the goal. That implies that you can later measure if you have achieved the objective.
2. Which is the message?
Whenever you do a marketing action, you are sending a message to your potential customers. It is important that you define that message very well, and that you keep it consistent in all the strategies you use.
For example, if you want to communicate about how easy it is to use your app, design each action by focusing on this message.
3. What brand image do you want to convey?
It is something very similar to the message, but it has more to do with the forms and the perception by the client. In that also you have to be careful to be constant. Among other things, it involves working on your corporate image and being consistent from one campaign to another.
4. What is your audience?
Don’t waste time with communication strategies aimed at people who are not going to be interested in buying your product or service. Clearly define which is the strategic segment for your company, and then choose channels to reach it.
10 Marketing strategies for your startup
1. Have a business website and blog
Does your company solve a problem? Write articles related to that topic. You will get many readers to come to your blog to learn more. If you demonstrate knowledge and use a pleasant tone, they may go one step further and become subscribers (see email marketing) or directly customers.
2. Email marketing
A very efficient way to convert subscribers to your newsletter into buyers of your products or services. Before, you will have to develop recruitment strategies to get your audience to register in your database. There are several conversion techniques that work very well.
The great thing about email marketing is that you write to people who have already expressed an interest in what you do. You preach to some converts.
3. Participate in events
Live person-to-person contact is very efficient if you employ the right tactics. So do not hesitate to attend sector events or professional fairs. It is a way to establish a direct relationship and convince potential clients.
Imagine that in a few weeks there is a fair in Silicon Valley where many of the companies that are in your target audience will attend. A good strategy is to set up stands in Barcelona to have greater visibility. In a single day, you can make many contacts.
4. Social media
Having a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks and knowing how to interact with your followers can be a very powerful way of communicating your message and making your brand known. Of course, you will have to create interesting and participatory content, and connect with your followers. Simply publishing is not enough.
5. Online advertising
Even if you get thousands of followers and your articles rank very well in search engine results, the normal thing is that you need a little help. That’s what online paid advertising is for. For a few dollars a month, you can appear in the first sponsored results of Google or increase the reach of your publications on Facebook.
6. Referral program
If your company is new and nobody knows it, a good idea is to rely on people who are able to sell your products for you, because they already have direct contact with your target audience. That is why a referral program can be a good strategy.
The good thing is that it is free if you do not achieve your goal. And you only pay when you make sales (or leads, or whatever is important to you).
7. Find influencers in the community
You’ve probably heard the term influencer by now, but you might associate it with a 25-year-old model with 2 million followers on Instagram. Actually, there are many influential people across the board. In your sector, you can find who are the most respected people and contact them.
It could be someone with a widely read blog, or an experienced forum user. The important thing is that it is someone who has a positive influence on your target audience.
If they find your product or service interesting, they may talk about you for free and help your communication. But it is also very likely that you will have to pay them to motivate them.
8. Get in the news
If your concept is very original, or you have a slightly crazy idea that can capture the attention of the press, do not hesitate. Of course, it is quite difficult to get the attention of the media if you do not offer something very groundbreaking or very curious. If you succeed, you will have free communication.
9. Viral video on Youtube
Some of the most successful startups have made a name for themselves thanks to YouTube. But, again, to have a viral video you are going to have to break some rules and be very original. You can be inspired by the most successful youtubers to try to find a suitable communication style.
10. Organize a contest
Why not start a contest with a sweet tooth prize? Even traditional stores do this at their opening parties. If you offer a high reward, it is possible that a lot of people will sign up. And more if instead of money you invent a prize that attracts a lot of attention (and is valuable).
I see a major flaw in that strategy. The problem is that you do not control very well who participates (it can become very viral). And therefore, you can have many people who do not belong to your target audience and only participate to get the prize.
And even if they are among your strategic customer segment, their main motivation will be the reward, not knowing your products or services.