A crucial part of any start-up is the marketing and self-promotion. Without this, your fantastic product or service will have zero customers. So, what marketing activity and strategies work for start-ups? How do you make a splash amongst the more established brands in your sector and how do you do it with fewer resources than they possess? The lower and lower costs of building a website and the use of social media to create awareness make it possible for new companies to compete. Let’s explore how you can use these in your marketing strategy to get your brand out there.
- The Power of a Website.
A flagship website gives your company credibility and allows customers from all over the world to find you. The website never sleeps, unlike a physical store, and you can create links to it from search engines and online directories to make finding it easier. More on that later. First, what do you need to make a website? You need hosting, a domain name and a website design. The domain name is one of these ingredients and can be tricky because the domains that instantly come to mind may have already been taken and registered. A great tool to help you come up with ideas is the domain name generator from Wix which gives you available domains based on a search term or your brand name.
They also have logo makers and great design templates to help with the setup and launch of your website.
- Social Media Marketing.
Social Media encompasses the now established platforms of Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn but also newer platforms like TikTok and Medium. Combined, these platforms provide an insane 2.4 billion users to target. Compare that to a £15,000 ad in a national broadsheet with a circulation of maybe 400,000 readers and you can see why starting with social media in your marketing plan makes sense.
The other great benefit social media has over traditional media is that you can track the views, engagement and actions of users to understand the popularity and effectiveness of any post. With most of these platforms, you can build the following quickly, especially if you invest a small amount in paid ads or paid boosts to your posts, which disseminate your posts to a wider audience. From click costs as low as 5 pence you can add a follower or reach another 1000 users.
Many companies overlook a very important component of social media and that is the 2-way communication that it allows. Instead of just preaching to followers, use the platforms to listen to their feedback. Of course, filter out the trolling and argumentative comments and use the comments to understand your customer base and what may improve your offering. It could be something as simple as responding faster on messenger or emails or something as insightful as your products need to include extra cushioning materials or custom box packaging to protect them during shipping.
- Google Maps and Online Directories.
The final strategy we recommend for start-ups is the use of Google My Business and directories. Google My Business is a must-have for any local company that has a physical presence. It helps customers navigate to your location but also gives them valuable information like opening hours, parking information and in today’s climate, policies on health and safety. It is not perfect and relies on user input, sometimes they can show the wrong business or incorrect information on opening hours which can harm your image. So, regular review and updating of the information shown on the listing are vital.
This leads us to other directories like business directories, trade directories and address directories. Yelp for example, according to a study by Wiideman, appeared in the top 5 search results for as much as 92% of searches for a city business.
A high domain authority online directory can give you an improved search ranking as users often go to them directly to search. A listing will help your business’s visibility and particularly for industry-specific directories you can reach the target customers you are after. E.g. For plumbers and electricians having an up to date listing on Checkatrade.com can give you a stream of leads from exactly the type of customers that are looking for your services. Likewise, for lawyers and real estate agents, having a listing on local business directories can help find customers in your catchment area.
If your marketing budget is limited and you’re not sure where to start, the first thing is to not spread the budget too thin across multiple campaigns. Even trying to post on 5 different social media platforms is going to dilute the quality of your posts and use up too much time. Stick to 1 or 2 posts with unique content on each. Quality beats quantity every time and remember the beauty with online advertising is that you can see the data almost instantly and tweak the budgets accordingly. These 3 marketing strategies are plenty to get started on and enough to get you noticed.