Being nimble is the name of the game when marketing for startups. Having a capped marketing budget means there isn’t much room for error. And because the marketing team itself is often quite small, being resourceful is paramount. Yet while it may be a challenge, it can be an exciting opportunity to really make an impact for a fresh, up-and-coming business.
The main objective of marketing is to spread the word about a product or service and move target audience members toward a purchase. There are countless ways to accomplish this objective, and each company will lean into tactics that work best for them. But if you’re looking for some sort of road map, consider these three marketing tips specifically for smaller startups.
1. Attract Your Audience With Content
Before your brand can actually become a brand, you need to establish its presence. You can’t just offer an amazing product or service and think that customers will begin to line up with their wallets open. You need to solidify what makes your brand unique from the competition and why customers should purchase from you in the first place. What do you represent as a brand and how are you serving your target audience’s needs and wants?
Branding is more than designing a fancy logo and coming up with a snappy name and catchphrase. Your marketing team will need to claim your space online with an appropriate, well-functioning website. Your site should be your go-to platform, highlighting your products and/or services but also providing valuable information to users. This additional information should be based on what users are actually searching for, not necessarily topics that only you find interesting.
As marketing strategy platform DemandJump states, when building out this content, it can be helpful to utilize a content pillar strategy consisting of pillars, sub-pillars, and blogs. So if you’re an outdoor retailer, say, you might develop a 3,000-word, keyword-optimized guide to camping equipment to serve as your pillar. A sub-pillar on tents could go into more detail, while linking back to the overarching pillar post. Shorter, linked blog posts could discuss the merits of inflatable tents, provide buying tips for backpacking tents, and so on. With this strategy, you’ll be writing on keywords that matter to your audience, while the resulting interlinked content will demonstrate your authority to Google.
2. Identify Your Main Marketing Goal
Any business, whether a small startup or a large corporation, needs to have well-defined goals. This is arguably even more important for startups with limited marketing resources. Without a goal, your marketing team will be unable to prioritize what matters most. They may be working toward social media engagement when the actual goal is lead generation. Having a set objective in mind means everyone is on the same page and can work toward achieving it together.
As far as what your marketing goal should be, that depends on your biggest marketing pain point, according to ClickUp, a project management software. Your first product launch may have initially attracted your core demographic, but perhaps you’re not seeing return customers. In that case, retention should be top of mind. But if you are struggling to capture attention in the market, then you’ll likely need to focus on your awareness strategy. Some of the most common marketing goals for startups include driving website traffic, acquiring customers, establishing a social presence, and increasing conversion rates.
As a startup, trying to achieve everything all at once will only mean setting yourself up for failure. While some of your goals may overlap — such as lead generation and customer acquisition — that doesn’t mean they are one and the same. Lead generation is about getting customers into your funnel, which requires you to raise brand awareness. Turning those leads into customers entails providing different kinds of information and establishing different touchpoints. You can only choose the right marketing tactics if you know what your primary goal is first.
3. Get Your Fans to Sing Your Praises
Once you’ve proven yourself as a brand and have engaged and loyal customers, you can start leaning on them through referral marketing. This tactic is a way for current customers to promote your brand to others. It can be a powerful tool, particularly for startups, as it involves your fans recruiting new potential customers on your behalf. By leveraging your customers’ networks, you’re able to tap into a new consumer base.
Unlike social media influencer campaigns, referral programs are more of a grassroots strategy. When it comes to driving purchasing decisions, research shows that personal recommendations matter. In fact, 88% of Nielsen survey respondents place their highest trust in recommendations from individuals they know in real life. Therefore, in a referral strategy, you won’t be contracting with influencers to praise your brand on their feeds. You’ll be taking the typically lower-cost — and more effective — approach of encouraging true fans to talk you up.
While you can create your own referral program from scratch, there are platforms available for you to use. These word-of-mouth and loyalty platforms are able to tailor a referral program to meet your brand’s needs. This is an upfront investment, but it may be worthwhile if you don’t have the time or expertise to build a referral program yourself.
Creating a marketing plan for a brand-new company can be a daunting task. But just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was your startup. Think about all the challenges you and your team have already overcome. Spreading the word about the brand that you’re so passionate about is relatively easy based on what you’ve accomplished thus far. And adopting these tips will make it easier still.
Featured image provided by Paul Efe; Pexels; Thanks!