Updated: Jan 4
At this point, importance of digital marketing is obvious for most enterprises. For businesses looking into the future it is of utmost importance to establish a solid online presence and keep up with the latest digital trends. Digital marketing is a powerful tool which contributes powerfully to your online presence, and positively impact your bottom line. This goes for any enterprise - however, for startups this is especially the case, since their whole premise is based on innovation and providing new creative solutions.
However, digital marketing is often a major challenge for many enterprises. They frequently don’t have a lot of resources to spare, they have to move very fast to stay ahead of competition and usually have small teams, which performs a wide array of tasks. In addition, their goals are more varied than the ones of the traditional companies - they are typically not yet well known to the general public, their concept is new and hence need to be communicated clearly and their channels are undeveloped. All of these make startup marketing seem like a daunting task for many startup cofounders, however, it can become just a little easier.
Think Digital Marketing before you even launch
For a startup, growth needs to be embedded in its DNA. This means that the marketing part need to be well thought of in the very early stages of startup development. Before you even start, it’s important to conduct your marketing research. Who is your target audience? Where do they spend their time? What are their pain and how do you solve it? After you’ve done that, test your idea before any serious monetary and time investments. This can be as simple as creating a landing page which would allow to collect emails of potential customers to check the demand for the product. Furthermore, think of the channels you’re going to use for your company and how it is going to affect your product. Don’t think of marketing as something you can figure out later on - in this case, you risk wasting your efforts on the product your audience doesn’t need in the first place or not be able to engage your audience in the meaningful way.
Content is the king
An infamous saying by Bill Gates applies to startups like to no one else. The novelty of the concept implies that many people are going to be clueless about what you’re offering - and it’s your job to communicate it in a simple and engaging way. For this, your content is your best ally. In order to have a product people love its necessary not only for it to be great, but also to tell your customers about its values and benefits clearly. However, remember that if your customer chooses to engage with your content, it doesn’t mean that they are looking forward to be continuously sold to. They are mostly looking for useful content which help them with their goals - so, if you want to build a reputation of a knowledgeable and trustworthy expert in the area, then give away free content easily. It’s a good idea to strive for 80%/20% ratio, with 80% been useful content on your area of involvement and 20% relating to your product in particular.
Social media is the king’s true supporter
Before you develop your own strong mediums, a good way to start with by exploring the channels where your audience is already active. In most cases, social media is a good place to start. It’s an easy way to communicate with and engage your target audience in a creative and interactive manner. Social media has many benefits for a new company - it’s easy to set up, consumers spend large amounts of time in there and advertising there is cheaper than through more traditional channels. However, keep in mind that social media at this point is oversaturated with content and attention span of millennial users is less than the one of your goldfish. Therefore, you content needs to be creative and stand out. Think about what is on the mind of your consumers? What kind of conversations they will engage in? This will help to create content which doesn’t get lost in the ocean of other people’s and companies’ content.
Think outside the box
As trivial as this advise seems in relation to startups, the sole presence of which represents everything non-trivial, in relation to startup marketing it takes a different twist. As a startup founder, it’s easy to get lost in an innovative world of your idea and forget everything around you, including your target audience. This can create disconnect from your audience, when they start having a feeling that the product you create is not targeted at them. You can avoid that by thinking of creative ways to engage with them. This requires quiet some creative thinking to begin with. Think about what are off the beat track ways to connect with your audience? Do they spend a lot of time in a hobbyist forums? Or maybe you can start a conversation by creating a flashmob in the university library, if you’re targeting students? Even talking to random people in the streets can be a way to connect if you know exactly what you can offer to them! Therefore, think broad, and look for platforms and places not yet thought of by the competition.
After looking at the scope of all the marketing activities you start feeling overwhelmed, don’t panic just yet. Creating a company requires a broad spectrum of skills, and it’s simply not possible for one person to be good at all of them. At certain point, delegating part of your tasks becomes inevitable and the only way for you company to prosper, allowing you to focus on what you do best and develop in that particular area. If marketing gives you a headache instead of a thrill of excitement - think of outsourcing it. There are plenty of agencies out there who would be as excited about your product as you are and will lighten up a part of your workload. However, even if delegation is eventually inevitable, it usually doesn’t come easy to new business owners. You might start having a feeling that you begin losing control over your project and get an illusion that nobody understands as well as you what should be done. Don’t let that scare you though - instead focus on finding teams and people who think in the same direction with you and are available to vet out your concerns at any stage of the project.
As challenging as it is to market a new startup, it is also an important part of your journey and, if done correctly, a very useful tool to assist your overall growth and development. Therefore, think of it in terms of opportunities it provides, instead of problems arising with it. In our digital age, there are plenty of tools at your fingertips to help your startup grow and prosper. Embrace the digitalisation and think of your customer needs first to achieve your business goals.
This article was originally published at Seats2meet Magazine