Marketing is a full time job, and when you’ve got a newborn startup on your hands, strategic marketing for your startup is key. With the competition in the startup scene at an all time high, calculated marketing tricks can either make or break a new company. As a new startup, money for large scale marketing campaigns isn’t always in over abundance, so how does a company market big on a small budget? Believe it or not, you don’t have to break to bank to properly execute some effective marketing strategies. So for those of you in need of some creative guidance to get your marketing strategy off the ground, here are 10 marketing tips for startups.
1. Hire a Marketing Division
Before getting your startups marketing strategy off the ground, the first step is to build a strong and savvy marketing team. Whether you have one dedicated employee focused solely on marketing, or a team of staff building and strategizing new marketing campaigns, having a marketing division is a must. If you ask a startup owner what his schedule is for the day, you’re most likely going to get a jam packed list of to-do’s. With so much on a startup founder’s mind, marketing is one important task that often gets overlooked. So, if you want to successfully market your startup, first be sure that you have a reliable team whose job description includes developing, and deploying daily marketing strategies.
2. Choose your Target Audience
Sometimes that great concept, or idea you have in your head just won’t fly with the masses. One of the most important steps to effective marketing, especially in the startup world, is to choose your target audience wisely. No offense, but you’re not Coca Cola. Unless you are an internationally recognized brand, a marketing strategy that attempts to appeal to the entirety of the general public is surely going to flop. So here’s the tip, once you have your product, service, or idea in place and ready to go, take a hard look and decide who is most likely to want what you’re selling. Once you’ve answered this pivotal question, now you’ve got to get out there and target that audience.
3. Strategic Partnerships
When you’re just starting out, it’s very easy to get overlooked. This is why strategic partnerships are key if you want to properly market your startup. Open up that contact list and get familiar with the names of industry leaders within your field. Make nice with the editor of a successful website within your category and try and have your startup reviewed on the site. Publish reviews of your own on other websites, and most importantly, keep at this. When someone looks up the name of your company on Google you want them to get search page after search page of reviews and posts with your startups name in all of them. Establishing strategic partnerships is a key factor that will allow you to quickly grow your new startup. Word of mouth is a popular tool, and the more buzz you get the better off you’ll be.
4. Efficient Email Marketing
While nobody likes spam, email marketing, when done properly, is a great way to help market your startup. Try to avoid sending out too many emails, which may hurt your marketing efforts as oppose to helping them. Successful email marketing means sticking to a strict schedule so your followers can expect your blasts, and look forward to reading what you’ve got to say. Be sure to stay focused on your target audience when deciding on the template, theme, and topics to be covered in your email. Let your followers know about upcoming contests, or events that you are hosting, and work to develop a community around these emails. Successful email marketing can do great things for your startup if you play your cards right. Focus on optimizing your marketing funnel, and you will reach great results in the long run.
5. Social Media and Involvement
Social media is one of the easiest ways to spread the word about your startup and generate buzz in other social circles. The first step to getting your startup involved in social media is to open accounts for your business on all of the major platforms. Getting the accounts set up is just the start of it. In order to effectively market on social media you have to be as involved as possible. Make sure you are posting, tweeting, and uploading pics regularly, and be sure to answer all incoming comments, questions or tweets promptly. Ultimately, successful social media marketing is all about the discourse, and luckily, social media makes it very easy to communicate and connect.
6. Branded Content
Building a brand is very important for startups practicing advanced marketing techniques. Once you’ve got your startup off the ground, your field of expertise should already be pretty mapped out. The next important tip to ensure quality startup marketing is to brand your content. You want your name to be synonymous with your field so that when people want to learn or inquire about something related to your line of work the first person they turn to is you. Try to personally publish a ‘Tip of the Week’ post, or ‘Steps and Guidelines’ article as often as possible. The process of becoming known in a field will happen almost naturally once the wheels of your startup start to turn, but the key to proper marketing is not being recognized in a specific field, but rather being recognized as an expert in that field. People always turn to a voice that they can trust, so building your brand on quality and integrity is another important factor to keep in mind.
7. Building Reasonable Campaigns that are “Big”
Of course all startups wish they had the marketing budget to allow for big campaigns, but that is rarely the case. In fact, most startups barely have a budget for marketing at all which makes it hard to stay optimistic about building a “big” campaign. Low and behold, the seventh tip, shoot to build reasonable campaigns that are “big”. Believe it or not, effective marketing can be done on a budget. The trick is to finding out what types of marketing campaigns would best suit your startups target audience. Do you have a new app for photo editing? How about an Instagram contest? The key is in the details, and if you can manage to generate just a bit of hype among a focus group it is often enough to get a marketing campaign off the ground. Not every startup can have a banner right at the center of Times Square, although it would be nice, so aim to create the biggest on a small budget.
8. Networking is a 24/7 Job
Always carry a business card, and be sure to practice your elevator pitch during your morning showers. Networking is a 24/7 job and if you want to properly market your startup, you need to be cued and ready to go at a moments notice. Be aware of the possibilities to connect with people, and don’t shy away from sparking up a conversation with a stranger if you feel there’s an opportunity. Conferences, and networking events are also great places to spread the word, and connect with others who might be interested in doing business, learning more, or a just a good contact to have for down the road. Being the founder of a startup means never knowing what tomorrow is going to bring, which makes networking a great way to ensure that you will always have your bases covered.
9. Maintain a Level of Professionalism
While the startup scene is a community filled with ripped jeans and sneakers, it is always important to maintain a level of professionalism. If you want your startup to succeed, you need to market both your business and yourself as professional, and trusted entities. While it may be difficult at times, try and meet deadlines where possible, and always show up to meetings with top-guns in appropriate attire. Maintaining a level of professionalism stands true in the social media realm as well. In today’s world, anything you publish online is with you for life, so make sure your tweets are always edited, and your uploaded photos are all PG.
10. Leave a Lasting Impression
No matter where you are or what you are doing, you want to leave people with a lasting impression of both you and your business. Be sure to highlight the unique idea, technology, or service you offer in your elevator pitch. Be bold, and think outside of the box. Give people a taste of something they have never before experienced as a means of setting you apart from the rest. When competition is fierce, and it is in the startup world, it is important to focus on the things that make your startup different. Make sure the concept behind your startup is clear, and be sure to build unique strategies that won’t just sell the product, but rather the lifestyle.
Marketing is a difficult game, but with a little practice, it’s easy to get the hang of it. Ultimately, the best tip anyone can offer a new startup that is trying to effectively marketing their idea is to never pass up an opportunity to share your business with others. Generating buzz is the name of the game here, because unless you can get people to think twice chances are you may need to head back to the drawing board. For any startup looking for advice on how to get the marketing ball rolling, these tips will certainly face you in the right direction.
Want to share your own marketing tips for startups? Please leave a comment below.
Co-written by Avishai Sam Bitton Direcotr of Marketing at imonomy and Leytal Ross