Marketing 101 For Startups
You’ve identified a market, fine tuned your product or service, and you’re open for business. Now all you need are some customers.
No matter how unique, original or downright fantastic your offering might be, without marketing your business in the right way, essentially you’ll be hosting the world’s greatest party, without inviting any guests!
Here are five top marketing tips for startups to help you create, implement, execute and evaluate a marketing strategy that will put your new business on the road to success.
Time to strategise
Marketing strategy is a term plenty of people throw around, without ever really understanding the processes behind the buzzword. This great guide from Entrepreneur.com provides a detailed framework for you to work through to give your business the best possible start.
Marketing strategies should cover all aspects of your proposition, from pricing and distribution to promotions, positioning and packaging. Where will you sell your product or service? Who will buy it? How much will they be willing to pay? How will you differentiate yourself from the competition?
The more work you put in now, the more focused your initial marketing efforts will be. And don’t expect to get everything right on the first time of asking. Your strategy will evolve naturally as you learn more about your market.
Take a look at this quote from Philip Kotler:
“The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low cost producer is the only winner.”
Building a brand is essential to differentiate yourself from the competition and raise awareness of your business. Don’t be bland. Stick to your guns and become the business you want to be. Have fun, maintain consistency across your communications and you’ll soon build brand equity.
Educate and engage
In 2014, there’s no escaping content marketing. By educating and engaging your target market with relevant, thoroughly researched, well written content, you’ll soon become the go-to resource in your industry.
The first step is to identify real problems your customers are experiencing. Then, provide them with the solution. It might not result in a conversion, but it will help to build your brand and establish your business as an authority. Here’s an excellent guide to content marketing for new websites.
Just a few percentage points can make all the difference between a successful startup that’s growing nicely, and one that’s struggling to get off the ground.
Conversation rates are the slim line between success and failure. You might have a beautiful looking website with an intuitive user experience, but what if the copy lacks personality? Or you’ve neglected your call-to-action?
Squeeze every last sale from your startup and split test your website vigorously to see what effect the slightest change will have on your conversion rates. Does a blue button asking customers to call receive more clicks than a red? Perhaps you’ll increase conversions by including your call-to-action further up the page? You won’t know until you split test or A/B test your website. Here’s a comprehensive guide from Hubspot to help you on your way.
A good marketer will never rest on their laurels. There are always improvements to be made. By now you will have started collecting enough information to start visualising your sales funnel, from initial contact or website view through to conversion. By looking carefully at this funnel, you should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy.
Are bounce rates high on your product pages? Have you written a blog that is bringing people to your website? Are people being put off by your pricing page? Are your offline marketing efforts creating a return on investment?
If you’re current strategy isn’t working for you, try something else. Try your hand at a bit of pay-per-click (PPC) or start advertising on social portals. Perhaps a bit of old fashioned networking is the best way to generate new business in your industry?
One thing’s for sure: if your products and services are good enough, then with a lot of hard work, eventually you’ll crack it!
Have you experienced success with a particular marketing strategy? Is word of mouth working wonders for you? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.