Starting a company is no easy task. From marketing to operations to funding, there’s a countless number of responsibilities for a founder to handle in order to start a company off in the right direction. But, in my opinion, there’s no greater task for a new startup than to gain traction. Traction allows for greater funding, more growth, increased cash for hiring, etc.
Since marketing for startups is such a unique case, this guide should give founders a good place to start. As your business grows and expands its presence, it may attract customers through word of mouth. Until that happens, though, you should prioritize the following marketing strategies to spread the word about your startup.
1. Send Emails
Email marketing is an essential strategy for attracting customers to your startup for little or no cost. Once you have a prospect or customer's email address, you can send him or her emails to promote your startup. To take advantage of this marketing strategy, you must first collect prospects' email addresses. If you have a website for your startup, consider placing a newsletter signup form on it. Alternatively, you can ask customers directly for their email addresses. The key thing to remember is that you must diversify your emails with non-commercial content like guides, how-to articles, videos and infographics. If you only send advertorial emails, subscribers will probably opt out of receiving your newsletter.
2. Start A Blog
Blogging is a powerful strategy that can help your startup generate the exposure it needs. One report found that businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than their competitors without blogs. With a blog, you can position your startup as a leading source while also attracting organic search traffic to your site. The secret to creating an effective business blog is to publish content that your audience wants to read. If it's valuable and worth reading, search engines will reward your hard work by ranking your blog at the top of the search results. And when your blog ranks high, it will attract more visitors meaning more people will learn about your startup.
3. Post On Social Media
Statistics show that more than 2.4 billion people use social media, so it's important to incorporate this channel into your startup's marketing strategy. As your business's presence on social media grows, more people will see and recognize it. Furthermore, most social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, allow business owners to pay for traffic and exposure. With Facebook Ads, for example, you can create ads that appear in users' news feeds or in the right column of the Facebook website. It takes more than just a profile to succeed with social media marketing. You must post engaging, relevant content that gives users a reason to follow your account. And once you've attracted followers, you should encourage them to stay by responding to their questions and comments.
4. Use Paid Search Advertising
Paid search has become a popular advertising channel for startups. It allows business owners to buy laser-targeted traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. Google AdWords and Bing Ads are two of the leading paid search networks, both of which feature keyword targeting with a cost-per-click (CPC) pricing model. Using either of these networks, you can create custom ads for your startup that appear in search results when someone searches for a keyword related to your business. If your startup sells enterprise-grade cybersecurity software, for instance, you can target keywords like "cybersecurity for enterprise," "enterprise cybersecurity software" and "enterprise anti-malware." The most appealing feature of paid search is its CPC pricing model in which you are only charged when someone clicks on your ad. Ten thousand users may see your ad, but if no one clicks, you aren't charged. Of course, you'll generate plenty of clicks if you create relevant and engaging ads, but you are still only charged by the click, simplifying the process of optimizing your paid search campaigns for a higher return on investment (ROI).
5. Sponsor An Event
Finally, sponsoring a local event can help get your startup on your prospects' radar. You'll pay the event's organizers a small fee to become a sponsor and promote your business with signs, stationary, banners, booths and other marketing materials at the event. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement that's highly effective at driving sales when done correctly. Business owners should sponsor events that are relevant to their operations or what they offer. If your startup business is a mobile health and wellness app, for example, perhaps you can sponsor marathons and 5K and 10K runs. If your startup sells anti-malware software, on the other hand, maybe you can sponsor cybersecurity and other information technology (IT) events.
The bottom line is, don't let your startup's market share slip to its competitors. Consider these five strategies to promote your business and generate more sales.