For the entrepreneurs amongst us, the dream has always been to take our ‘startup’ business to its highest possible success… to be the next fortune 100 companies… to be as good as the Virgin Inc or Amazon, or the next Tesla if you will.
However, many are left far behind when it comes to fulfilling their dreams; in fact 50% of startups fail within 5 years into operation; and that number could reach as high as 75% for some venture-backed companies!
It’s obvious that a great product alone is not enough for a company to succeed, and neither does any amount of brilliant marketing make a ‘poor-quality’ product, loved by the masses. Startups that find success for years on end are the ones that have both a great product and great marketing.
Some estimates even claim that nine out of ten startups will fail - An alarming truth and a powerful ‘eye-opener’ which suggests we do our due ‘homework’ before jumping into investing in a startup of our own.
If you’ve already got a great product to start with, here are 7 marketing tips that will help you leverage the value of your product/service and kick start your startup success:
1. Have You Done Your Strategic Positioning Exercise?
First and foremost, it’s important to run a strategic positioning exercise – meaning finding the right target market, niche or the right audience for your product.
It’s about finding out whether or not the problems and pain points that your product solves, resonates with the pain points prevalent in the marketplace. You need to be absolutely sure you’re in the right market, long before you initiate new strategies and tactics to grow your business.
The question you should ask here is: “Who exactly is my customer, and why exactly should they buy from me?”
A good place to start is by defining in which ‘category’ does your product exist, then you should be mapping your key product benefits, right down to your value propositions and competitor benchmarking. Only then you can delve into crafting your core messages and launch strategies.
An easy way to figure this out and float your ideas is via a Lean Canvas, as shown below:
2. Brand Development & Web Presence
Another prerequisite before marketing is deciding on and designing your brand name and logo that’s unique to your product, one that conveys a powerful message; and stands out from the crowd. You can always hire professional graphic designers to give it the right look and feel to help build great iconography or logo, which should intrigue people immediately.
Next up is an obvious call, your web presence or your website. However web presence doesn’t only refer to creating a dynamic website, but also means amplifying your brand presence via a blog sit, through social media such as; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat etc., and if you’re creative enough, you could go for IPhone Apps or Android Apps specific to your brand.
It’s also important to choose the right amount of social media to engage with - You don’t want to create an account on every social channel and spread yourself too thin – but make sure to find time and effort to working with the ‘right’ ones, to fully engage and help your target audience.
3. ‘Piggy-backing’ on Popular Platforms
It often takes quite a lot of time for any brand to build trust and a reputation amongst its audience, let alone for startup brands which hardly anyone knows about. So, the best way to get noticed in the early days for a startup, and have its presence felt – is by taking ‘piggyback’ rides on other popular platforms.
For example take Airbnb, in its earlier days, tapped on to Craigslist to reach out to people who were already listing their properties on the then popular ‘classified advertisements’ site. The people at Airbnb would scrape off Craigslist’s contact information and send out emails to the people offering them to cross-post their property listings on Airbnb’s platform:
This was a huge win for Airbnb, as people took the opportunity and in the process got to know about this unique new brand, which has now grown to completely disrupt the hotel and travel industry.
4. Leverage Influencers to Get Noticed
A great way to get your message across is to find the right influencers to get it out for you. Influencers as we know come with their own following of thousands of loyal followers or like some top celebrities, who have managed to attract millions of ‘die-hard’ fans in their social media channels.
Since spending our copious amounts of money to sponsor an influencer for your brand is not an option for a startup, a few nifty tricks can help you leverage these influencers without having to reach for your wallet.
The idea here is to build a good rapport with your chosen influencer through various approaches, such as featuring Influencers in your article, requesting and using their testimonials for your landing pages, find out their hangouts such as chat rooms and LinkedIn forums to join in and contribute, etc.
If you’re willing to spend a little, it’s always good to use one of the Influencer marketplaces like Tribe, which helps to connect brands with influencers, in a mutually beneficially relationship.
As a brand you can jump onto one of these platforms and list your product or campaign idea. An influencer who relates with your niche or target audience is matched for you, then by spending a few hundred bucks, you get access to thousands of his/her followers, to help you with you build traffic to your sites and capture leads to nurture further.
5. Creating Viral Videos – Guerrilla Marketing
For a startup, first impressions always matter, one cost-effective way to turn peoples’ heads is through viral videos and guerrilla marketing. If you can craft a great video content in-line with your brand identity, then it’s possible to easily amplify your reach via referrals and ‘word of mouth’.
It takes some brainstorming and highly creative minds to come up with original content for viral videos, and using humour could also work wonders with such content.
An example below is from Wren Studios, a video content with the name ‘First Kiss’. While it only cost the brand $1300 to produce, it has gathered a whopping 122 million views so far – giving a huge boost to the brand’s identity and creativity:
6. Help People Discover Your Content – Produce Regularly
For a startup in this day and age, just having an online or a ‘digital’ presence does not ensure that you’ll get found out by your target audience.
Be it your blog, your webpage content or social media updates, with every blog or post you publish, you’ll have to work on specific keywords that relate to your niche and your product. A sound use of targeted key-words within your content; along with other SEO tactics will help you in your Search Engine Rankings.
For social media, you can also use Social Media Automation tools like Socedo to find Twitter users to engage with, as they use similar niche keywords as yours in their content.
A crucial practice you shouldn’t ignore is to publish content on a regular basis, as ‘consistency’ is critical to any content marketing strategy. Having blogposts, newsletters and social posts out on a daily/weekly schedule, helps builds trust from your readers and will encourage them to subscribe with your blogpost/newsletter and engage with your content and brand.
7. Attend, Volunteer or Co- Sponsor Events Within Your Niche
Along with being on top with its online engagements, a startup can also hugely benefit by involving in offline activities like attending, volunteering or sponsoring events within one’s industry and preferred niches.
There are plenty of events being run round the year, specific to your niche and target audience– and if the event is not owned and managed by a single company, most planners seek out to help fund the event; you could be one of the sponsors (not necessarily the ‘platinum’ or
‘gold’ sponsor, as that provides you with a great opportunity to position your brand to your niche market.
Besides sponsorships, you could also attend an event; i.e. by putting up your company’s stall in a trade event, or simply volunteering for a fund raiser or social awareness campaign such as ‘World AIDS Day’ – The idea is to showcase your startup to the right audience by leveraging any offline connections and networks.
For a startup to survive and ultimately thrive in its niche, a thorough understanding of its product, audience and marketing strategies is essential, along with the passion and grit to bootstrap and create opportunities for itself and its customers!
If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.
Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email email@example.com
Our Website is element7digital.com.au