Startups are all the rage these days, with many people turning entrepreneurs. With the rise of the gig economy and all the changes it entails, it is only to be expected that many more people will be changing the way they go about their jobs.
Why is this important?
First of all, even if startups may appear to be a good alternative to people looking to start small, they also need to survive in a competitive market. For many startups inexperienced in marketing, this may mean the difference between failure and success.
In fact, research shows that almost 80% of entrepreneurs don’t know how to efficiently measure the success of their marketing campaigns, which is a huge no-go. The good news is that there are more options at disposal of startups than is the case with traditional businesses because the first is operating in a dynamic, rapidly changing environment.
Let’s take a look at a couple of essential marketing methods every startup needs to master.
Social Media Advertising
First of all, the importance of social media for the overall marketing success of a startup can hardly be ignored. With the platforms attracting large crowds of people of all ages (but especially younger generations), the advertising potential is massive.
It is a general tip to cross-promote your offers, which is quite easy to do on social media, too. For example, when announcing a special offer on your website, share it across your business’ social media profiles. Couple this with email marketing campaigns for the best results.
Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is inexpensive and can be quite efficient when utilized to its full potential.
Of course, for the best results, a startup needs to perform thorough research first, as to ensure the relevance of its email marketing campaigns. Namely, sending emails — no matter how beneficial — to people at random won’t render any positive results. For the majority of people, emails from unknown senders are considered spam.
It is essential for every startup to have a proper mailing list. The emails it contains should by no means be achieved without customers’ consent. Never ever buy mailing lists or use email addresses people haven’t provided you with of their own volition.
There are various ways to obtain customers’ email addresses, the most popular ones of which include subscriptions, direct feedback, incentives (e.g., an e-book in exchange for an address), promotions and surveys.
After compiling a mailing list, it’s time to think about the contents of your email marketing campaigns. No matter the theme of a campaign, the message you send needs to be consistent and aligned with your business promise. Once you’ve established a tone of voice, maintain it throughout.
Secondly, make sure that all emails you send are literate, adequate and to the point. Subject lines occupy a special place in email marketing strategy as they can make or break a campaign. It is, hence, important that the message body expands on what the subject line advertises (otherwise you’ll just be spamming people).
Finally, mind the timing of your emails. Because most people receive loads of unsolicited messages, it is a good idea that your email is on top when they’re checking new messages. E.g., if you’re targeting 9-5 workers, time emails around 8 a.m. or during lunch breaks. If you’re targeting international markets, mind the time zones. Also, don’t send too many emails, only when you actually have something to announce or advertise.
Newsletters are a great way to both advertise your startup and to keep people regularly informed about new products/services/deals, etc. They are not as nearly tricky as email marketing campaigns because people, essentially, like to read the news.
However, this doesn’t mean that sending newsletters every two days is acceptable. While there are no strict rules about this matter, some general guidelines suggest that newsletters are best sent either weekly, bi-monthly or monthly.
Content marketing is an absolute must for any startup. Need we say that every serious business absolutely needs to run a website?
It turns out, simply running one isn’t enough. It’s equally important what it contains and how user-friendly it is. First of all, you should keep in mind that the majority of interactions happen via mobile devices. That is to say that your website needs to be responsive, and be careful with image-heavy content (the same applies to emails).
It is important to understand the dynamics of content marketing. Blogging is free, yes, but in order to increase your brand’s online visibility and create a base of returning visitors, you need to post quality content on a regular basis and cross-promote it, too.
This takes time, so it is important to be consistent.
Another thing — the content you publish and promote needs to be SEO-optimized from day one (that applies to images, too). SEO may seem complicated at first, but you will soon understand its basic rules.
It is crucial that your website ranks on the first page of Google search results, and SEO is better (not to mention cheaper) at achieving that goal than Google ads.
Also, it is important to remember that there are various content types. Text and images are not the only options; other popular choices include infographics, videos and, of late, podcasts as well. Apply SEO to all types of content you publish (tags, keywords, etc.) to help your page rank better at a faster rate.
Networking is crucial for more reasons than just marketing. Connections can help a startup in multiple ways, and you may even meet new friends!
Think about the times of crises… no, wait!
We have a great example right here. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world that gatherings can hardly be stopped. When people cannot meet in person, there is always the internet. Just like all kinds of gatherings have moved to virtual places, so have networking events.
After all, marketing is all about communication. Keep it alive by all means!
Finally, there are other means for startups to maintain their presence in the rapidly-changing environment. Our suggestions are but the basics. The most important thing is really about understanding the metrics and insights for, no matter how good your campaigns, if you don’t know how to improve the shortcomings and stay on top of digital marketing trends, you’ll be missing out.