India is a Startup economy now. You find the number of startups coming up every year.
As per KPMG the number of startups increased to 50,000 in 2018 from 7,000 in 2008.
Many more technologically advanced startups in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Blockchain technologies are being created in India.
This is a great time to be a start-up!
But the Billion dollar question is: How many of these startups will remain standing once the initial set up is done?
Business is not just about starting up with the latest technology but it all boils down to: Paying customers.
source: atomic dust
One of the lethal mistakes most startups make is to believe in only product development, they work extremely hard to bring a product which has all the necessary features that the founders think their customers need but they forget all about strategies regarding how to reach the end customer.
That is where Marketing comes into the picture!
If you look at any start-up organisation chart today you find Founders, Technical staff & if the start-up is consumer-oriented probably a Customer support team but you never find a Marketing Manager as part of the early organisation chart which makes absolutely no sense.
Marketing is more important to startups than established companies as your company is new & nobody knows about it so Marketing is the push that will get you Sales.
As explained superbly in this article: Why Founders fail to market their products Founders don’t recognise the need for marketing for their startups & by the time they understand how important Marketing is it’s too late!
This is one of the reasons we see so many startups winding off their business within the first 5 years of starting up.
In today’s blog, we will share the “Marketing Guide for Startups” which you can follow to make your startup successful.
Marketing Guide for Startups:
1. Define your Product:
Simple Enough right??? Do you know how many Founders don’t know how to articulate the top 5 things that their Product or Service does best!
Not because they are not hands-on Founders but because they don’t know how to explain to others what their Product or Service can do.
Articulation is the key to making your prospects appreciate the fine features you have to offer.
The best example of articulation is “Steve Jobs”.
Steve Jobs is not a technical guy, he CAN NOT code but he is an inspiration for many founders.
Because he could make his audience fall in love with the products Apple launched, every time he came onto the stage he fired up his employees & customers.
Simply because he could explain the most sophisticated technology in the simplest of words. He would never tell you the inherent technology about a new feature – He just told you what the new feature meant to you – Customer!
That is what you need to master as a Startup Founder.
Either you do it or find a good partner who can articulate what your product is all about – Technical Jargon won’t cut it.
2. Define a Core Audience:
Once you know how to define your product in the simplest of terms – Define a Core Audience.
Its easier said than done.
As Founders of Startups, most people don’t know who their customers are, they are confused & are eager to test their product so they don’t define any customer specifically.
They try to Market to All – Ending up Marketing to None which leads to a lot of frustration
As a Founder, you might think the more Audience you have the better your conversion rates of getting a paid customer.
That is no longer true
“Specific is Terrific”
When you have a “Defined Audience” you can create:
1. A communication message that resonates with them
2. You can choose a Marketing medium that will help you reach them
3. You can target them better
4. Be Accessible on platforms that they are on
Now that we have laid out a Foundation lets segway into Marketing part.
1. Social Media:
Social Media is still the most efficient way to spread awareness regarding your product or service.
Simple – Be where the crowd is & Social Media channels have people waiting to consume your product or service
The only important thing that you need to work out on is – Which Platform is RIGHT for your product or service?
Most Founders create accounts on all the available Social Media platforms – hoping that the number of accounts will let them interact with more people
Ending up with putting up random messages on multiple platforms once in 3 months & expecting miracles to happen
Finally, they get frustrated & give up the whole ordeal assuming social media is not working for them.
Firstly find which platform is RIGHT for you: You can go through our “Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing”
Social Media has changed radically – the inherent fundamental of social media is to now share quality content on a regular basis which can be used as conversation starters rather than post random messages at a regular interval.
So stick to your messaging & to your audience which by now you would have defined through “Foundation” steps above.
2. Build a Keyword List:
Most Platforms except for Facebook nowadays allow you to follow specific hashtags or keywords. So why not make the most of this feature for your own Startup.
Make a List of Keywords which are relevant to your Product or Service. You can research these on platforms for free or you can use a product like HootSuite
source: keyword tool.io
Hootsuite has both Free & Paid versions you can Pay for a month list down all the keywords relevant for your business & start posting content on social media platforms.
These keywords are most relevant for 3 months, you can then go back & get more keywords from other marketing tools.
As you starting using these keywords you will be able to monitor which keywords are working out for you & which are not getting any traction.
You can slowly start eliminating those keywords that are not bringing any traction.
Tip – Don’t overdo it. Don’t use too many keywords assuming they will get you traction. You need only the RIGHT audience, not EVERYBODY so be very clear!
Many Startups don’t invest in a website which seems very strange to me. They think it’s not important to have a website they think Social media is a better alternative for a website.
Well, we disagree.
Simply because “Social Media” is a “Leased Media” you don’t control it & fundamentally if the social media platforms lose its credibility like Facebook did (read Facebook’s Data scandal story here) your followers might leave the platform & thus leave you.
A website, on the other hand, is your “Own Media” which mean you control the data flow, you control what to show to which audience depending on what they click on the website.
Combine it with an intelligent Sales Funnel you can convert all those visitors into Leads to follow which can then be converted into Paying Customers.
With CMS platforms you can build great looking websites which are relatively cheaper & come with lots of features like:
1. Chat Plugins
2. Pop-ups etc.
We have covered “Top 5 CMS Platforms to Build Your Website 2019” you can read it here
So make use of these platforms to build the perfect website for your business. You can also reach out to us if you need help building a website for your product or service on email@example.com
You can Love or Hate it but you can not ignore it – That is the power of Google.
Google is the world’s biggest search engine so make sure your product or service ranks on google.
Simple Scenario – Let’s say you went to a Networking event & met a few people that you think are relevant for you. You exchange cards & have a pleasant conversation.
You come back home feeling overjoyed because these people have mentioned they will keep in touch
Now the other person who might have really liked your concept will not keep your card in hand & type your complete website URL, he will probably type your company name in google.
If he does not find you on the first page of google he will take the pain to call you or pursue your company anymore.
This is the age of “Dwindling Attention Spans” once the attention is diverted that prospect is gone.
So make sure your presence is felt on google – you could use these mediums:
1. Proper SEO on Website
2. Optimising Social Media Profiles
3. Wikipedia Pages
4. Google Ads
Having a Website without Optimising for Search Engines is like opening a store in a lane full of stores without a name board.
There are 2 billion websites on the internet, how can you expect your website to rank in Google if you don’t tell Google what your website is about?
Search Engine Optimisation is the most used & the most misunderstood concept of Digital Marketing.
People think SEO is easy & once an agency is hired it hardly takes a month to see results.
That is not true.
Even with a proper agency, it takes anywhere from 4 months to 6 months to see consistent results for SEO.
A proper Digital Agency will also explain the concept of Content Marketing to you so you as a business also participate in creating the concept.
Branding by Pixels is Hyderabad’s Top SEO company, some of our success stories include:
Ranking our preschool client consistently in the first page of google within 3 months without spending a single rupee on ads.
Reach out to us if you a website which is not ranking on the first page of google on firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Advertising Budgets:
We see a lot of reluctance from start-up companies to advertise about their products or services & I don’t blame them.
Most of us entrepreneurs come into business only because of our pig-headedness otherwise we would have been in a regular job earning good money for our efforts.
But it is this drive & this stubborn attitude that makes us take the leap of faith to build something that we will be proud of.
That attitude of ours propels us to think that our product or service is unique & people are craving for it so we don’t need to advertise which is much farther from the truth.
No matter how good the product or service you still need to coin in some budgets for advertising.
For example, look at coca-cola:
Coca Cola is a $31 Billion revenue company as of 2018 & is the market leader in the soft drinks industry but in 2018 alone it had an advertising budget of $4 Billion.
That is the extent of seriousness that Coca Cola has towards advertising. If an established market leader has no qualms about advertising then as a start-up you should also understand the importance of sketching up certain portions towards advertising.
7. Google Ads:
Now that we have advertising budgets chalked out in the above step, let us try to understand ways to advertise about our product or service.
The biggest audience in the world is on Google so its a no-brainer that we should definitely leverage this platform.source: udemy.com
Google ads (previously Google Adwords) provides with options to target your potential prospects using:
1. Keywords (Remember you already have listed these down in Foundation step 2)
2. Demographics (Age, Gender)
The best part of Google ads is the Reach but it is very costly.
If not planned properly you will not get any value for your money but only wasted clicks.
Many people think since the platform itself helps you with options you can run these ads by yourselves but it is imperative to hire an agency who can help you make the most of your ad spend.
Don’t look at their consultancy charges as an expense as they will get you more targeted clicks who have higher rates of converting than you running these ads by yourselves.
Using our Google Adwords strategy we have been able to:
Increase the admission rates in a preschool from 20% to 70%
8. Social Media Ads:
One another platform which is a cheaper & more targeted option is “Social Media Ads”.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn provide you with an opportunity to target specific audience depending on their “Interests”, “Life Events” etc. which are very helpful if you are in startups which have very niche targets.
Another point for opting these platforms are the “Brand Awareness” campaigns like “Traffic” are much cheaper on these platforms than on Google.
Start with a lower budget, create enough traction, study what sort of ads are working for you & then increase your budgets.
Also, you can hire a digital agency who will run optimised ads for your brand on these platforms
9. Create a Blog:
We talked a bit about Content Marketing when we were discussing SEO. Blogs are part of Content Marketing strategy & are the best way to express yourself as a “Subject Matter Expert” & to engage your audience that you drive through traffic ads on google or social media.
As humans, we still like to engage in conversations through these conversations have moved to platforms like Social media platforms, whats app screens etc.
The best way to create rapport with your prospective clients is to engage with them on a conversation by choosing topics that elicit such response.
Blogs are a way to do that. Blogs also give you an opportunity to optimise your website for new keywords & drive relevant traffic to your website.
So make the most of this tool.
I hope these above Marketing Strategies have been useful.
For any Digital Marketing requirements for your startups feel free to drop in an email at email@example.com
We would love your comments on this blog so please do leave us your comments below.