The world of marketing can be a very confusing and complicated place. Throw in the 100 other things that are happening simultaneously in a start-up and it can all seem quite overwhelming. There are however, some basic principles and channels all start-ups should be implementing to ensure your marketing efforts produce some solid results and aren’t in vein.
#1 If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Every business, no matter how big or small needs a marketing plan. Without it, marketing efforts can become something you just do when you have spare time, with no real structure or objectives in place. A marketing plan should include the following as a minimum:
Basic market research – understanding your market is incredibly important
Identify your target market – what is the problem you are trying to solve, paint picture of your ideal customer
Marketing Mix – Define the brand’s unique offering by defining the Product, Price, Promotion, and Place commonly referred to the 4 P’s of Marketing.
Competitor analysis – who are you competing with? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Goals, Metrics and KPI’s – think website traffic, social media growth/engagement, leads generated, lead to client conversion and overall Return on investment on your marketing efforts
And finally, budget – what are you going to spend and where are you going to spend it? Is it going to provide a Return on Investment?
#2 Don’t put the cart in front of the horse
Building on tip #1, you don’t want to launch your new product/service without first thinking how you’re going to attract customers. Your initial marketing should focus on building awareness and buzz around your start-up. Get in touch with local media and provide a press release for your launch, get your social media presence happening early to promote some early brand awareness. For as little as $10, you can reach a few thousand people in your target market via Facebook.
The highest priority is to build brand awareness in your target markets. Once you are confident your brand has penetrated sufficiently into these markets you can move your marketing to the next level and focus on lead nurturing, lead generation and customer growth.
#3 Engage your audience, don’t just sell to them
In the early phases of your start-up, your instinct may push you to constantly try to sell to everyone you meet. Although it’s important to promote your brand often, it’s important to give your start-up relevance and participate in discussions that don’t solely revolve around your business. With social media, it’s becoming easy to engage your target audience without looking like you’re directly selling or advertising to them. For example, you could leave encouraging comments on people’s photos that are relevant to your industry, or share content for people in your target audience such as a “retweet” or “regram” (Twitter and Instagram shares for those who don’t know!).
Hopefully that’s given you enough to get your start-up’s marketing rolling! If you have any comments or questions, please leave a comment below or if you’d like to contact me directly, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Nic Roberts – Digital Marketing Manager at Real Estate Bookings.