Inbound digital marketing strategies depend on having an established brand and a receptive audience that you can nurture for lead generation. This can be a problem for start-ups, as most people in your target market will not have heard of your business.
Can you still use digital marketing techniques to grow your business? Of course, but to be effective we suggest you follow these five marketing ideas:
1) Brand Consistency
Successful marketing is all about relationship building. The great opportunity for start-ups, but also the main drawback, is that no one knows about you. This is a shaky foundation for a relationship! So the first thing you should do as part of your marketing strategy is to develop consistent brand messages.
You should really delve into your customer profile and find out what their key needs are. Then create consistent brand messages to address this. Remember, that unlike established companies, you won’t have a recognisable brand identity to fall back on. So you need to make your marketing content about your customers, rather than about you. For the first few months, your strategy should be value driven, providing useful information that your customers want to see.
As a start-up, now is your time to think critically about your messages, your USP’s and value propositions. Customers will be less interested in the details of your company or even the features of your service, but will pay attention when you explain the benefits of what you offer.
Communicating the value of your service frequently and consistently is the foundation for an effective brand identity online.
Put your promotional content on the backburner until you have an established contact database you can use for lead development.
2) Mixed Content Strategy
There are people who like to absorb information through blog posts. Others who get more from infographics to images. Others who like to watch videos and some who enjoy listening to podcasts. Create a mixed content strategy to appeal to the broadest number of people. Written content is going to be the cornerstone of your strategy, so start blogging as soon as possible. Videos important too. At a minimum you should create a couple of instructional or introductory videos to showcase your services, and set up a free YouTube channel so Google can start indexing your video content.
Building and maintaining a content strategy takes time. You may have the resources to do this in-house, but if you don’t, it is more cost-effective to outsource your content to an agency like JDR than make a half-hearted stab at it. Amateurish videos and half empty blogs make a terrible impression on potential customers, who may doubt your skills or even think you’ve gone out of business.
As a start-up it is critical that you develop a brand reputation for consistency and quality, so seek out the most cost-effective content streams but always make sure you publish the best material possible.
3) Smart Use Of Social Media
Social media is your strongest ally when establishing your first following. All the main platforms can be used for free, which is a big advantage, and you can quickly gain prominence on social media that might take months to achieve on the search engines. Use social media smartly. Post frequently on each of the main platforms (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), with close attention paid to your brand messages. Mail chimp and other free automation apps are useful, but don’t over rely on them at this stage. Use your social media platforms to engage with your target market. Interact with them, answer every comment and message and respond to feedback openly and honestly. This makes your followers feel engaged as part of a conversation about your brand, rather than simply the recipient of marketing material.
4) Smart Advertising
Having been a start-up ourselves once, we appreciate that most new businesses are strapped for cash. Fortunately, there are ways to invest in paid digital advertising that don’t involve a huge marketing budget. Small investments in sponsored tweets, LinkedIn’s premium service and Facebook’s pay to play platform will boost your social media engagement and give you a good ROI.
You should also consider engaging with a marketing agency such as JDR, sooner rather than later. Some businesses wait until they are already established to do this, but we have successfully worked with many start-ups, who have seen a faster growth in new business and brand awareness, compared with others who started off more slowly with their marketing.
Working with an agency doesn’t need to cost the earth. We offer a range of flexibly priced packages to suit most budgets.
5) Optimise Your Website For Conversions
For start-ups, most new leads come through the company website, so it is essential that all your pages are optimised for conversions. This is less difficult than it sounds. Simply decide what actions you want your visitors to take when they arrive on each page. If your main focus is building a leads database, optimise your pages for capturing emails by including straightforward contact forms and newsletter signup boxes. If you are an e-commerce business, make sure you have simple and reliable shopping carts on each page.
People won’t always behave in the way you want without some prompting! Incorporate relevant calls to action in your website content, which includes CTA buttons and written prompts in your copy.
Use Google Analytics to find out which pages are being visited most and to track the page to page journey of a typical visitor. Use this to identify the pages with the highest bounce rate and the ones which generate the most interest.
Take Full Advantage Of Your Marketing Opportunities
Start-ups are seen as fun, fresh and exciting by many customers. This is an important card you have in your hand, so don’t be afraid to play it. You may not have the huge budget and brand reputation of some of your competitors, but by making smart use of social media, affordable advertising and content marketing, you can quickly punch above your weight and gain a committed following.
Speak to one of our marketing specialists today about ways to make your marketing budget go further and get a great ROI for lead generation.