Aaron Orendorff’s wrote an interesting article about the new book of Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost into Profit. Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more.
Effective promotion of your startup: essential steps you should make
Every startup faces this problem right after launch: how to promote itself to save money and get maximum exposure? In fact, promoting on low-budget should be a go-to strategy for a startup since they need to focus more on development and service to offer customers a high-end product.
One of the main things here is paying close attention to marketing trends and latest strategies most companies use. Thus a startup owner can escape many mistakes and direct the necessary effort to implementing the best strategies for startup promotion. Since startups cannot afford spending million-dollar-budgets on traditional marketing channels, they should focus on unbiased and creative ways of promotion.
There are 3 main factors that impact startup success:
- The right niche choice. It’s one of the first things a startup owner should think of. What niche to aim for, who will be the startup’s competitors and how strong they are.
- A proper target audience. Remember the proverb saying that you can’t sell ice to eskimos?! It’s a common truth - you won’t sell a product to the audience that doesn’t need it. Reach out the group of people that have a strong desire for your product.
- A team of like-minded persons. You can’t sell anything to a group of strangers if you can't sell it to your friends or relatives. Sell your idea to your team members first.
If you get together all these factors, you will get some ideas on how to attract customer and investors to your startup. Let’s check out the main strategies you can go for promoting your startup today.
Tell a story
Modern users are different from those who “ruled the web” a decade ago. Millennials give way to Generation Z. These customers are more picky when it comes to purchase and rarely follow direct advertising when deciding to buy. More and more modern customers wish the companies speak to them and provide their ideas instead of flogging the goods.
So you have to create your brand narrative to tell your existing and potential customers who you are, what are your goals, message, values, what makes you so special. Whatever you’re selling to the audience, you should be able to show up what sets you apart from competitors and why people should choose your product instead of other ones.
Optimize your website
No small business can survive without a website nowadays. It is a main communication channel on which you will be posting the latest updates on a product/service, gather users feedback, publish blog posts, etc.
You can go for any kind of a website: from a simple landing page to a fully-functional website or a complex application. But you should carefully optimize it for search engines and establish a solid keyword base to get traffic and leads.
You can research your keywords in a few ways:
1. Try to google them. Figure out how potential customers may search for your product. Thus, they may not be searching for a ‘wifi-compatible coffee machine’. Instead they may type into the Google search field phrase like ‘wireless coffee maker’ or ‘smart coffee brewer’. You should also check out the “related searches” area blow the SERP to get more keyword ideas.
2. Check out your competitors. If only you haven’t invented an eternal engine or something like that, you probably have lots of competitors. Check out their website in any advanced tool like Ahrefs, KWFinder or the other - and you will see what keywords they are ranking for in the Google’s Top10. Try to target the same keywords with better content from your side - and you may outrank them fast.
Note: Don’t rush for any keyword you think would be a good fit for your niche. Always check out their metricks like search volume, estimated traffic or difficulty to understand what it may take from you to ranks for those keywords.
Establish strong content strategy
Gone are those days when you could blindly dropping some mediocre content across a bunch of platforms for maximum exposure. Google now closely follows the quality of content and treats spammy links more roughly.
Go for quality and don’t chase after posting frequency - it’s not essential anymore. Post regularly but post wisely! Create engaging content that people would love to share and read. Inspect your niche keywords and create content that people search for. There is no thing as just ‘good unique content’ anymore, Rand Fishkin said. You should create great content that is 10x times better than anyone’s and answers all user’s questions in one place.
Build high-quality backlinks to your website with media and blogger outreach. This is one of the best ways of getting attention to your brand and its products. Thus, you kill two birds with one stone: you get a good visibility in search since Google treats backlinks as one of the Google’s ranking factors; and you establish a good brand awareness among your target audience with a placement of linked content across the right media. You can check out what media is right for you at the PRNews.io marketplace and start building your media promotion right away.
Engage brand influencers
Word of mouth today is worth more than thousands of fake reviews on aggregators and hundreds of advertising banners. People trust more the ones they know - friends, relatives, even their facebook connections. Thus you should focus on your loyal customers, nurture and cherish them. Len Davis from PUREi, claims that "Marketing to the people who already know you can be just as effective. When you think about it, 80% of your revenue will come from just 20% of your customers."
Pay attention to those people who already tried your product or service and is satisfied with it. Make them your brand's ambassadors, offer them reward for their loyalty and online reviews. Listen to their critique and collect their feedback to add or remove certain features.
Implement videos in your strategy
Forrester research has revealed that 1-minute video is worth 1.8 million words. What makes this kind of content one of the most powerful instruments of marketing and promotion for startups. A video may help with the previously mentioned strategies: it can tell a story, engage wide audiences, raise your brand awareness. It may even go viral and attract attention to your startup in a couple of hours.
Te get the maximum effect of videos, you should make sure your video provides value, catches interest and perfectly tailored to your target audience's needs. One of the best things about videos - their price. Today it’s easy to create a perfect-quality video with minimum efforts, time and on low budget. there are multiple platforms that allow making videos out of photos or amateur shoots with various effects, filters and background music.
Opt for user-generated content
it’s a fast and cheap way of building trust to your startup as well as create a nice community. It’s a perfect way to sur emotions and let your customers to play a vital role in your business. It provides them with their own sense of worth. And you will show that you value your users and trust their opinions.
Another great side of UGC is the fact that it saves you from a routine of generating tons f content yourself. Of course, it doesn't mean you may take UGC as is and post it everywhere. But it requires less efforts and time investment than in content creation from scratch. UGC is not only testimonial and user reviews about the product. It can also be interviews with those who already tried the product and wishes to share their thoughts (opinion leaders will be a perfect fit). Videos are also amazing way of creating virality and offering great content to others. Photos that users post online can also be added to your website. But don’t grab those shoots without permission - ask first!
Cross-channel marketing campaigns
It’s impossible to boil the ocean, so you shouldn’t try to present your startup across all existing marketing channels . However, getting exposure on the most of them would be great. Marketing is a complex measure and the most success gain those startups who manage to implement content and email marketing along with social media scope, SEO, crowdsourcing etc.
In this light, startups should also pay attention to offline marketing and various activities that can be promoted with the use of various channels. This could be local networking events, conference backstage and after-party, where startup owners may establish new connections and hand out business cards.
These are the main but not the only strategies that startups can implement today. In combination with traditional marketing activities like crowdsourcing, SMM, outreach etc., these strategies will help any startup reach wider audience, attract investors and get their first customers.