ENTREPRENEURSHIP / FEB. 10, 2015
version 5, draft 5

5 Marketing Tips for Startups

Marketing Tips for Startups
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The Internet is rapidly seeping into all the pores of modern day life and business. A sure indication of this is in the exponential rise in the number of startups. As a business venture that almost by definition has very limited funding, startups rely heavily on both conventional and Internet marketing. It is a cost-efficient way to reach a wide audience and gain all-important brand recognition. There are a few key steps you will need to follow in order to stand out in the sea of competitors, and corner the market.

1. Innovate

Consumers today are being constantly swamped with advertising messages. For your marketing campaign to stand a chance of being successful, your message has to be creative and memorable. A marketing strategy that is unique and innovative will engage curiosity and draw in potential customers. This is why experimental, and even wacky, marketing approaches are a very powerful tool in the startup toolbox.

2. Make good use of social media

Social media is free and ubiquitous, so it is an obvious first step for almost any business. Getting it right, though, is not a simple task, and inevitably involves constant posting and content on your part. However, merely bombarding your customer base with dry information about your business will get you nowhere. On the contrary, try to post relevant, interesting and shareable content that will hold value for your audience. When choosing what social media to direct most of your energy on, think about what makes the most sense for your startup. If your product is best portrayed visually, focus on developing your Instagram or Pinterest profile. Twitter and Facebook should be the preferred choice for businesses and services that are best expressed by information sharing. Remember to use both B2B and B2C, as the latter can lead to forming strong relationships within your industry.

3. Be professional

A strong marketing campaign requires a foundation of professionalism in all other parts of the business. Startups are driven by energy, creativity and enthusiasm, but all too often lack professional practices and structures. Make sure all involved with your startup are aware that it is a professional business, and should be treated as such. A good way to stay on top of things is to record interviews, meetings and other important business-related conversations. By doing this, you will have an up-to-date and searchable knowledgebase in the form of transcriptions.

4. Give people incentive to share

Word of mouth, or rather word of tweet, is of upmost importance to startups. The recommendation of a friend is much more powerful and meaningful than, for example, seeing an advert. There is nothing like a bit of incentive to get people to talk about your business. Offer them an instant discount if they tweet about your product or service, or if they share your Facebook page. You can even develop some additional perks for customers who “like” your company. Contests are another great way to incentivize your audience. Organize tombola-like giveaways (of your product, of course) for people who find a giveaway code you have hidden somewhere on your site. There are innumerable ways to incentivize your customers, just remember to be creative and provide them with an experience that they can get value from.

5. Branded content

Branded content is a long-term marketing strategy that allows your company to become closely associated with topics that are valued and pertinent to your industry. Branded content is, and always should be, non-promotional. Its function should not be to advertise the goods or services of your business and blow your own horn. It should, rather, address current issues in your chosen field of business and provide thoughtful commentary, analysis and insight. By contributing intelligent input, you are setting yourself up as a trusted expert in the business. Surveys are also prime branded contact. Conduct surveys within your industry, and publish interesting and relevant findings. The more engaging and memorable your findings are, the more captivating they will be for your target audience.

Leaving a positive impression on your target market will set the foundation for your business growth. Stay creative, keep your messaging consistent, and make sure your customer interaction and support is impeccable.

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