Creating a marketing strategy is crucial for your startup or business, in general, to be able to reach your target audience. Growth is what defines startups and creating a marketing strategy is a must. You should define a marketing strategy for your startup by knowing which marketing channels to use for the target you want to address. This will heavily contribute to pushing you to succeed.
Having a marketing strategy in place is important at every stage of your business. Are you building a startup? Have you run a business for a long time? Regardless, you need to have a marketing plan!
How do you define a marketing strategy?
Next, which marketing channels should you use? I am going to help you define your startup marketing strategy by giving you the minimum marketing strategy that I believe every startup should have. This includes 11 steps.
#1 Define your target
First of all, I strongly recommend that you define your marketing strategy before launch. It should not be a long-term marketing plan but already knowing some elements is vital.
Try to make a profile of your buyer/user personas. Who would be your perfect user or customer? What is their age? Gender? Hobbies? Location? Profession? Behavior? Knowing this will define your positioning to guide your startup branding and set the tone of your message.
To create your user/buyer persona, there are some questions you should ask yourself when defining your marketing personas.
“My startup doesn’t have a target, everyone could use our product”
You should never think this way. Maybe my grandmother from Italy could use my product or a friend living in Tokyo but I am sure one of the two will be more interested in your product than the other.
Facebook has 1.7 billion active users. So, I suppose you could say that their target kind of is everyone. But did they start like this? No. Initially, their target was Harvard students. Then, they scaled to other universities, teachers, and their target grew but they started small. Your target should be pretty accurate but you have to be ready to adapt in case your target changes.
By defining a target, you will also be able to position yourself according to your competitors.
#2 Study your market and competition
“My startup does not have competitors”
Another statement that you should not be thinking. Your startup always has competitors and if you don’t think so, you should be worried. Not having competitors proves that you either don’t know your market that there is no market even there.
It’s actually somewhat of a good thing to have competitors. If there is competition, it means there is a market. Being the only one in a market is often not good for your startup success. Having competitors will give more attention to the market thus giving visibility to the market and your startup.
Knowing your competition is also a good sign for investors. If you are a startup looking to get funded, telling a potential investor that you have no competitors will certainly make them question the market your are wanting to enter. The investor will not believe you or just won’t be interested. It’s important to show that you have identified all the players in your market.
You can also benefit from competitors by learning what works or what doesn’t work. Getting inspired by them, or even starting a strategic alliance can be beneficial to your business and increase your sustainability.
#3 Use your network
It is very important to tell your friends, family, ex-colleagues, and whoever else you know what exactly you do. Try to find people in your following that might fit the target. Explain to them your product or idea and how you think it will work. Tell them to be as honest as possible.
A lot of people don’t want to use their network, their friends, their contacts, their families. It might be by pride or by shame but if people don’t do it, you are missing out tremendously! Using your network is very important and this is one easy but very important marketing tip for startups.
#4 Promote your website
I am guessing and hoping that you have a website (If you don’t, make one quickly even if it isn’t perfect. It still needs to be nice and must be mobile friendly). You don’t need to be an SEO expert to submit your website to search engines. Your page title is important as well as the keywords you use on your website, and how your website looks on different browsers or when shared on social media.
For a full SEO strategy, you need to surround yourself with the right people. However, you need to know that an SEO strategy is a long-term strategy. According to Forbes, it takes at least four months for a good SEO marketing strategy to start giving results. A complete SEO strategy should be handled by experts. Search engines take more than 200 factors to create their ranking. It can hardly be handled without experience in it.
So, if you start to work on SEO and don’t see much results after two or three months, don’t panic. Be patient as the results come with time. SEO is for your startup to get sustainability but note that it won’t bring fast results.
There are many digital marketing tactics available to you to promote your website. From search ads to remarketing, you need direct traffic to your website. To help you promote your website, there are many marketing and growth hackings tools you can use.
How to define and execute your marketing strategy
#5 Use Local Offline Marketing
Another way to promote your website and your startup is by going to local events in your niche like a local event or trade show. Startups always think about Internet marketing and forget offline marketing. When defining a marketing strategy for your startup, use offline marketing too. You can either go to startup events around where you live or go to trade shows related to your industry. You will be able to promote your startup as well as getting inspired by what others do. Nonetheless, you will probably get some great insight and feedback.
This will help you to grow your existing network. Going to networking events or conferences where you will meet leaders or other startups in your industry is important to get connections. Take the opportunity to see what others do but also share your idea with people in your industry. You will quickly see if there is a demand or a market or if you need to pivot.
Most companies and startups just think about digital marketing but old-school marketing tactics still work!
#6 Create a landing page
A landing page is a recurrent word in the startup world and I am sure you know what it is. The goal of a successful landing page is to create a tease of your product and collect valuable leads. In order to get relevant and qualified leads, defining your user personas is important in order to address your message well.
Choose a short and compelling message to make people want to click on your offer. Your message should be understood easily by your visitors. Any time you create a new page, think about your SEO keywords. Your Call-To-Action button should be clearly visible and placed in strategic locations. Your startup branding should also be present on the landing page: similar colors you use, your logo, your font, etc.
#7 Build a community on social media
It is impossible to ignore social media today because it is such a powerful tool for your startup visibility. There are numerous social media marketing tips and tactics you can apply to your startup. Using social media is crucial to promote your content and startup. You don’t need to use all of them, but focus your efforts on the ones where your target is most likely to interact.
You can run successful marketing campaigns on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media channels to build your community.
With a website running well, a target, a landing page to get leads, and social media, your startup should be ready to launch. If you don’t have those, think about delaying your startup launch a bit to put that in order.
#8 Create a blog
There is a saying: “Content is king”.
I’d rather say “Quality Content is King”. If you address your target audience well, a blog will increase your startup visibility and will be easy to communicate about your product. The evolution of content marketing showed us that we are at the time of blogging. If you don’t have a blog yet, start one now!
The biggest challenge comes with bringing users to your blog, keeping them interested, and making sure they share your blog. Blogging could really have a viral effect when used properly. This is why quality is king. In order for people to come back to your blog and share it with their community, you need to give them relevant content — content that they will like, find interesting, funny, or shocking and that they will share. Your blog post could be a written post, a video, an infographic, e-books, an interview of one of your users, or a question that you answer.
You should make it easy for people to navigate through your blog and website. When having readers on your blog, you want to keep them in by showing your readers another one of your blog posts they might be interested in. With a long-term content marketing strategy, you can significantly grow your startup revenue with a blog.
#9 Social media optimization and marketing
You should already be taking care of building your community on social media. This is another step involving social media because it goes further. Now, the goal will be to show your content to your community. Promote your product, interact with your followers, answer their questions, etc. You don’t have to apply a very complicated social media strategy in the beginning. An easy social media strategy for startups is enough to start with.
When you work on social media optimization and marketing, you don’t want to do everything manually. You want to automate your processes and work with marketing automation software.
#10 Email marketing strategy
I was surprised to see how many startups don’t use email marketing. This is the marketing channel with the highest ROI (Return-on-Investment).
It is so important that your startup creates an email marketing strategy. Emails give you the opportunity to personally talk to potential or existing customers. You will be able to know more about their needs and adapt your product or offer toward them. To convert leads, email marketing is vital. If you are a startup entrepreneur and you don’t have a marketing strategy in place, I recommend you start working on it today.
Creating great email marketing campaigns is a must for your startup to convert leads into sales. This is the best channel to do so.
What did we learn about startup marketing strategy?
So, this was how to define a marketing strategy for your startup in 11 steps. We learned that it’s important to know your startup target by defining your user/buyer persona in order to address the right message to the right people. To promote your startup, you should at least have a marketing strategy with a website, an offline marketing strategy by going to local events related to your industry, a social media strategy, and a content marketing campaign to get leads. Additionally, an email marketing campaign is crucial to converting your leads.
Also, for a winning content marketing strategy, I recommend you to tell a story. It could be your story, your team, your startup, etc… People love stories. Hope you will follow my advice and implement those strategies (There are many other strategies you can implement but the ones above are the one I believe any startups should implement).