For a startup to succeed commercially, it takes more than just a good idea. You need a good combination of creativity, innovation, technology, experience, finance, and good management and marketing skills to survive the first few years when the going can be very difficult. According to Inc.com, quoting the SBA Office of Advocacy, only half of all new businesses survive the first five years. In a world that is now dominated by digital technologies, every startup owner must be equipped with the right combination of digital marketing strategies. Nine of the best ones discussed in brief:
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) has been acknowledged as one of the most productive digital marketing strategies that a startup can employ to get immediate results. By advertising your startup on search engines, you can reach out to potential customers whenever they are using search terms that match your keywords. Since you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement, you can not only allocate a budget of your choice but are also assured of a high ROI. However, it can take both expertise and experience to extract the most out of your budget.
Social Media Marketing
The huge popularity of some of the social networking platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and many more make them very lucrative hunting grounds for businesses. By leveraging the social media platforms that your target audience frequents, you can extend the reach of your brand significantly. However, you need to master the art of publishing content that your audience will find valuable and post at the times; they are most likely to be active. Needless to say, your content should be distinctively branded to be able to cut through the clutter and optimized for best search results.
Despite having been around for so many years, email marketing continues to deliver the highest ROI among all digital marketing. By using mail-shots to a well-defined subscriber list, you can offer a lot of engagement opportunities such as free trials and demos, white papers, discount coupons, and more. The secret of getting a good response comprises getting the recipient profile right, using email subject lines with high appeal, using contents in simple but compelling language, high quality of presentation, and powerful CTAs.
Increasing the reach of your brand on social media by acquiring followers with the help of posts can take a long time. By engaging influencers, you can access their follower base immediately and make them interested in your business. Using influencers who are credible to your target audience helps you to acquire a sizeable follower base very quickly, established trust and credibility and delivers a very good ROI.
Search Engine Optimization
Regardless of whether the target audience of the startup is local or global, having a website is mandatory as it is one of the most basic steps of establishing one’s presence in the online world. However, websites are of no use unless they have visitors. To be able to generate traffic to the website, you need to implement search engine optimization techniques that will drive visibility in the search results page for target keywords. SEO, when done properly can be very cost-effective, deliver a good ROI, deliver enduring results, increase brand awareness, and earn trust and credibility for the business. Since figuring out SEO can be challenging and complex, startup owners hard-pressed for time may wish to take the help of professional agencies who can also offer affordable SEO packages that do not stress out the budget.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as the process of creating and distributing content that is relevant and valuable to attract and retain specifically defined audiences for driving profitable customer action. Content marketing along with SEO can deliver the best results, though it can take consistent effort and a relatively long time for the results to show. Far cheaper than paid advertising, it can build authority and trust for the startup.
Referral marketing is a well-established marketing strategy that relies on customers recommending your product to others in return for monetary rewards or gifts in kind. This kind of marketing strategy works well because according to studies, the majority of customers trust recommendations made by other individuals. Customers are also willing to refer your product if they have genuinely liked it and would like to get something in return for recommending it. Many of the brands that are big now have used referral marketing at some point or the other to get more customers.
Get Featured on Trusted Publications and Websites
Getting featured on a popular magazine or website, especially if they are industry-specific can give startups a lot of free publicity that can help generate a lot of organic traffic to their websites. The massive exposure, especially if it is times with the launch of a new product, service or technology can mean that a lot of potential customers will get to know about them. Getting yourself featured on these websites or publications is not easy but if your offering is innovative, it can be priceless. If you are stuck for ideas on how to best approach this strategy, it can help to take the assistance of a freelance public relations consultant who specializes in the industry in which your startup operates.
It may be surprising but YouTube is indeed the world’s most popular search engine after Google. This is the reason why most of the smart marketers are using the video channel to reach out to potential customers with vibrant and useful videos. However, since it is relatively rare for a startup to use YouTube to create product or brand awareness, it represents a very good opportunity for them to make their mark and reach out to customers. As a medium, videos offer very creative opportunities for communication of brand and product attributes, which may not be possible on other media.
Setting up and nurturing a startup until it becomes self-sustaining and established in its niche can be quite a task. Apart from a good product idea and a workable business model, startup owners will need to implement a multi-pronged digital marketing strategy that will raise brand awareness and drive sales.
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