1. Lay the Foundation for Startup Marketing
Before you can launch a successful marketing plan for your business, you’ll want to make sure you have a good foundation. This may mean you need to have a good understanding of:
- What marketing is
- Using market research to help your business
- Using different channels to promote your company
Learn the Basics of Marketing for Startups
Many people ask, “What is marketing?” And even more wonder how to get the word out about their business with a limited budget. The good news is, you can create a successful marketing plan without having endless funds. You’ll just have to get creative with how you market your small business.
From local advertising to search engine optimization, it may be a good idea to get familiar with some marketing basics. These methods can help you sell your business without having to spend a large amount of money doing it.
Develop Business Branding
You want your customers and clients to think of your business first. To do that, you need a strong brand. Business branding involves connecting with your customers so they have a lasting, positive image of your company. This goes beyond just your visual brand or logo. It includes your company’s voice, and a strategy to show the public what you stand for and what your business is all about.
Conduct Market Research
To successfully market your business, you have to know who your customers are, and what they think about your company. That’s where market research comes in. This type of data can help you know what product or service is in demand, which can make your business more competitive.
Market research includes more than customer feedback. For example, you can complete a SWOT analysis to examine your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This exercise can help you figure out where your business stands in the competitive marketplace.
Set Up a Digital Presence
Did you know that 97% of people use search engines to find a business? That’s why it’s so important to make sure your company has a digital presence.1 A good first step to help people find your business digitally is to build a website. It may take time to create, but the investment is worth it and can help you better connect with your customers.
After you launch your website, you can use web analytics to monitor traffic. This will also help you understand how you should update your site to help people find it when they search.
2. Develop a Marketing Plan for Startups
A marketing plan is a written document that describes your business’ promotional and branding strategies. When you’re ready to create your first marketing plan, make sure it includes:
- What your business does
- Who your customers are
- How you plan to market to your target audience
You may want to think about these marketing plan basics to help you get started with your strategy:
Determine Your Value Proposition
When you think about your business’ value proposition, ask yourself what makes it unique. Be sure to describe your business model, products or services, and who you’re trying to market to.
You may also want to create a vision statement to include in your marketing plan. While a value proposition describes your business in present time, a vision statement explains what your company wants to be. It describes how you want your employees and the public to see your business, and it shows the direction you want it to take.
Define Your Target Market
One of the six principles of small business advertising is defining your target market and customer. Knowing important information about your customers, like their age or gender, can help you see who wants your products.
You can also collect customer insights to give you a better idea of what your customers think about your business. This kind of feedback can show you what’s working with your business and which areas may need improvement.
Set Core Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Your marketing plan isn’t complete without marketing objectives. Your plan should include short- and long-term objectives, but don’t stop there. It’s a good idea to include a marketing strategy or marketing tactics with each objective, so it’s clear how your business plans to achieve each goal.
Set a Budget
Your business’ marketing plan can be expensive, which is why setting a budget is important. Your plan can include the total cost, as well as a budget for marketing campaigns you want to run. You’ll know how much money you have to spend for different marketing methods, and you’ll lower your chance of overspending.
After you set a budget and run your campaigns, you can measure ROI. Your return on investment can help compare how much profit your campaign generated with how much you spent to see if your marketing efforts were worthwhile. Even if you realize that one of your campaigns lost money, or had a negative ROI, this type of information is valuable to help you make necessary changes in your marketing strategy.
3. Social Media Marketing for Startups
Your digital marketing strategy for your startup may go beyond just creating a website. You may also need to use social media marketing to help reach customers on a different platform.
Set Up a Social Media Marketing Plan
Social media marketing gives you a bigger opportunity to create word-of-mouth advertising and build your brand. When you create a social media marketing plan, it’s a good idea to integrate social media with traditional media. By having both plans work together, you can multiply your marketing results and may see greater success.
Establish a Presence on Social Media Platforms
When you consider the number of people who use various social channels, it makes sense why you should be on social media. Each social channel gives you an opportunity to market your business. Companies are always creating new platforms, but the top social media platforms include:
You may not have the time or resources to develop a presence on each platform. But including a strategy in your marketing plan to have a business profile on different social channels can help make it more successful.
Develop Relevant, Shareable Content
It’s not enough to just have a presence digitally. Your business also needs to create shareable content. While it’s important for you to post regularly to get people to look at your page, making shareable content increases the spread of your messaging. Think about what would happen if something your business posted went viral. Your social media engagements would skyrocket and significantly more people would see and hear about your company.
4. Earned Media Marketing for Startups
Including public relations (PR) as a marketing channel helps people outside of your company understand what your business is and does. A good public relations strategy creates a strong image of your business.
Develop a Public Relations Strategy
Not sure how to start your PR strategy? Some PR basics for beginners include:
- Press releases
- Event sponsorships
If your business works within a specific area, your PR strategy may focus on local advertising, such as advertising in newspapers or on local radio stations. By advertising to the people who may actually use your products or services, you’ll save money by not needing to do a larger-scale PR plan.
Reach Out to Journalists
Your marketing plan should include a strategy to get journalists to cover your business. Start by sending your press releases to them. If they write a story, more people will know about you, and it’s free advertising for your company.
Incentivize Referral Marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is tried-and-true. It’s an unpaid form of promotion where your satisfied customers tell others about your business and what they like about it. It’s credible, it’s free and it works.
You can add a referral program to your marketing plan. With this type of word-of-mouth marketing, you create incentives for people to refer others to your business. Whether you offer a special discount or gift card, referral marketing can help grow your business’ brand.
5. Content Marketing for Startups
Make it easier for people to find your business on search engine result pages through content marketing. With this type of marketing, you’ll create content about topics and subjects related to your business to help people find your company on the internet.
Build a Blog for Your Startup
Content marketing uses search engine optimization to increase your rank in search results. Your marketing plan should include what types of content you’ll create. Whether it’s an article or video, your business’ content will also help you establish your brand’s voice. So your readers, who may become potential customers, can understand how your business can help address their needs.
Startup Email Marketing
You may want to include email marketing in your strategy. Email gives you a way to send out a mass communication and reach a wide network of people. But you have to be careful not to be overly promotional in your email or you’ll risk people deleting the message. You also want to be sure to have a catchy subject line to get readers to open the email.