If your business is in its startup stage, then it is a very exciting time for yourself and everyone involved. The process of developing a startup company idea into a full business enterprise is a challenging, daunting and complex process which involves a lot of ups and downs, learning curves and inevitable mistakes.
We all know and are fully aware of the statistics which present the high-level failure of startup businesses. Falling in the first year, second year, and third year and so on. Cash flow issues, failing to qualify target audiences, poor organizational structure, difficulty gaining funding, unfortunate timing, lack of demand, competitor actions and lack of patience are all often factors contributing to the down fall of startup business in all different sectors and industries.
But something also which is crucial is the way in which you market a start up business in order to create the presence, awareness and visibility of a company with the potential to with stand the challenges of the first few years.
Marketing is such a vital element for all businesses no matter what stage they are at. Marketing effectively is the difference between growth and survival. Going back to basics, if people don’t know who you are, what you do and where they can get it from, you essentially have zero. The best product in the world could be in your possession right now. But if I can’t see it, you may as well have not bothered. It is that crucial. And of course there are levels to marketing. The fundamentals, the scale and the minimum requirements. Then it is a much more intricate game. Creativity, unique ideas, angles, branding, advertising, public relations, content and discovery channels.
Competing to not only have the best product or service, but the brand behind that and the perception you have created. This all equates to the authority you possess and the more likely you will be visited, assessed, reviewed and converted. Your marketing funnel should not be taken lightly, and as a start up, you need to be thinking differently.
Nobody knows who you are, there is no reason to justify a purchase, no referrals to support you and no history to back yourselves up. It is a clean slate. You need to build authority by being clever, engaging, relevant, creative and visible. Visibility at every opportunity possible where you can be found (or find) your ideal customer profiles.
Let us take a look at five main focusses you need to maximize, adapt and utilize in order to survive the startup period and progress on to greater things.
Brand is everything when you are a startup. Your name, your logo, your messaging, your purpose, your colour scheme, your business strategy and unique selling point. It is your identity, what you stand for and what sets you apart from the competition in the market.
This needs to be perfected and aligned with every ongoing stage from web design to social media marketing and prospect / customer communication tone.
Your website has to be good. This is a minimum requirement of all start-ups. You have nothing else to go from, very little authority so at least have a website which is clean, functional, informative and appealing. Further to this it would ideally be optimized for conversions with a complete navigation process for the perfect journey around your website.
Also keep into account the domain name you have chosen for Search engine optimization purposes. This allows it to be found amongst the relevant audience and is helpful if your business in specialist locally.
- Social Media Marketing
As a start up with limited access to funds, in many cases, you need to take advantage of the social media channels available. Set up accounts on all of them, brand them specifically and start flooding the internet with your name and content attached to your brand. It is a springboard to everyone and there is no restriction. Become obsessive in prospecting and delivering messages through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Experiment with ads, stories, consistent posting, imagery, advice, articles, everything. But social is your outlet to the world. You must take advantage and experiment. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Put stuff out and see if it gets traction and learn from the results.
- Public Relations and Events
Beyond social media marketing you can begin creating positive impressions through public relations and events. Invite a media list of journalists, bloggers and other relevant people from your industry to a drinks, or launch event. Create a buzz and start growing the awareness and interest in your business. It can be worthwhile spending a bit of money into this project for the long-term benefits you can gain through relationships and just being fun and relevant. Never underestimate these simple qualities when starting a business. Kindness and effort is appreciated.
Create a situation where the people who write about businesses in your industry are on an informal level with you. This will only lead to excellent opportunities, coverage and growth potential.
- SEO and Content
An excellent content funnel built around the topics in your industry is a solid way to build up traffic and awareness with a side bonus of being an industry thought leader.
People are coming to you for information about side topics. Start with top of funnel content and gradually filter it down to more specific and ranking for greater optimized keywords. Building back links through outreach and guest posting will build your sites domain authority and allow you to rise to the top of the search engines and from here, your start up is sustaining as your lead generation will be consistent.