How you market your startup can make or break your business. After all, how will people purchase your goods or services if they don’t even know you exist! But successful marketing is no mean feat, especially in the early days when you may have a smaller budget to play with. Therefore, you need to make sure that you’re spreading your marketing budget effectively to ensure the best results.
But where do you start? It’s unsurprising to learn that many startups cite budgeting their marketing efforts as one of the hardest parts of starting their business. With so many options out there, which should you prioritise? In order to put together the best marketing strategy you’ll want to split your budget between a number of tactics and you’ll need to make sure that you’re analysing the results in order to see which is most effective.
To help you focus your budget effectively, our guide below will look at some of the top marketing strategies for businesses and why these could be the most beneficial to your startup.
Set yourself goals
Before you begin doling out your budget, you first need to set your business goals. This will help you to decide on the most effective marketing strategies needed to achieve them. Spend some time considering whether you’re trying to build an email list, grow your social media following, build an online presence or rank highly on search engines (side note: in the end you’ll want to be doing all these things!).
Once you have a good understanding of what your main goals are, you’ll be able to better understand the best tactics to use and the best way to analyse the results. Here are some of the most effective and important marketing strategies for startups.
Produce great content
One of the best ways to build your brand and market your business effectively is by creating and sharing great content online. As such, part of your budget needs to be dedicated to doing so. This can be done by way of blog posts, opinion articles, whitepapers and any other form of content you can share over the internet. In order to engage your target audience you should create content which offers tips and advice, share updates from your business and provide them with something that benefits them in some way. This will make them more likely to engage with your brand and share your content with their connections.
A huge part of producing great content is optimising it for SEO to ensure that it’s reaching your target audience. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) allows consumers to find you online when they aren’t directly aware of your brand or company name.
This makes SEO arguably the most important marketing strategy, so you’ll want to kick-start your efforts early. Otherwise you risk facing potential problems and a lot of work further down the line. You can start simply by ensuring all your content (including your company website and/or blog) use the right keywords. Make sure these are related to the topics and search terms your potential customers will be searching for. You should always have SEO in mind at each step of your online marketing strategy as it really can drive traffic to your site and increase sales.
What’s more, as you’ll be spending a portion of your budget on your SEO efforts, you want to make sure these will yield real results. A trap a number of new business owners fall into is trying to to trick the search engines with out of date or spammy tactics. All this is going to achieve is to cause you trouble in the long run. Instead it’s best to invest in a good solid SEO strategy from the start and focus on your local area first so you can build a strong and organic online presence.
Get on social media
In the earlier stages of your business, using social media as a key marketing strategy can be very budget-friendly. After all, there are so many ways you can utilise your social platforms for little to no money. When you’re starting out it’s best to select one platform to be your core focus and put all your efforts into building a good following on there.
Choose the platform that is most suited to your industry be that Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. You can also opt to have one or two other accounts to share your content on, but these should take far less of your attention until you have mastered your chosen platform. There are a number of ways you can use social media for free, or as things pick up you might choose to set aside some of your budget for paid-for posts or advertising. These can be very effective, but they are not totally necessary when you’re first starting up.
Set up an email marketing campaign
Email marketing can be another great way to reach your target audience and generate leads for your startup. But how do you get started? There are a number of affordable (and sometimes even free) programmes out there that can help you to manage your email campaigns, so it’s a good idea to research which is going to be the best option for your business.
Through your website and social media you can encourage potential or existing customers to sign up to your mailing list. This allows you to send them targeted emails or promotions in order to drive leads and make more sales.
Invest In PR
A good PR campaign can be the difference between success and failure of a startup in its early days. When it comes to PR there are two different avenues to explore. Traditional PR, this is usually the best option for brick and mortar companies such as pubs and restaurants. And digital PR which has become increasingly popular in recent years. This is a great way to spread the word about your business and build an online audience with your website and content at the centre.
Once you have created an interesting and/or entertaining piece of content (this bit’s crucial) then there are press release distribution services you can find to spread your content to the right places online.
Don’t forget offline marketing
It’s undeniable that online marketing has taken the world by storm in recent years, causing many businesses to reduce their offline budgets. However, there is still a lot to be said for offline advertising efforts and there are a number of ways you can set aside some of your budget to market your startup in this way.
You might want to attend industry events, or perhaps smaller local events if you haven’t got a huge budget behind you. You could also have some physical adverts or marketing materials (such as leaflets) made up to give out at events or to share around the local area. If you’re unsure where to place these marketing materials, consider where your target audience are most likely to frequent. For example, are you targeting gym-goers, busy mums or career-driven millennial’s? This will help you find the best placement for your offline advertising.
So there you have it, some food for thought for how best to allocate your startup’s marketing budget. If you want to set a solid SEO strategy in place for your startup get in touch with us and we’ll help you get the ball rolling.