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Today’s Soapbox was written by Daleska Pedriquez, a Growth Marketer at Venngage.
Contxto – Creating a company from scratch is a challenge, but promoting it doesn’t fall behind. In the beginning, it’s normal that you find yourself falling short, both in economic and human terms. You’ll find things that hinder your promotion or the launch of large-scale marketing campaigns.
All this while you are trying to keep up with your competitors.
If you only try to outmatch your more experienced competition, with their previously established audience without defining your competitive difference, you will lose sight of your goals and damage your chances for success.
However, it doesn’t have to be like that.
There are a few simple strategies that can shape your marketing plan with a minimum investment and if you use them efficiently to know your audience and learn what the specific problems are, these could enhance your competitive edge over everybody else in the business.
These methods are flexible, efficient, and friendly with your budget. Here you have 8 tips you should keep in mind when starting to promote your startup.
1. Make a detailed analysis of your competitors
Knowing your competitors is a fundamental aspect of any business. You have to know the status quo of your segment to be able to differentiate yourself eventually.
This gives you an idea of the market you’re dealing with, the strategies other companies are using and it shows you the biggest challenges out there.
This analysis of the competition also gives you an idea of the weaknesses other companies have, especially in terms of their communicational issues.
For instance: If you compete against traditional companies, but your target can be defined as “young tech-savvy people”, a social media strategy and Google ranking is going to be essential.
Depending on your product or service you can develop a more modern brand than your counterparts.
That is vital for companies in fintech, which directly or indirectly compete against traditional banking. The biggest challenge would be to build trust within the novelty of the service.
You can use this knowledge to keep up with your competitors, and eventually even rank better. Especially in Google optimization, that any strategy takes time to give results but once it achieves the ROI it can be incredible.
When doing your analysis, make sure you can organize and visualize your findings by writing a report. You can learn how to make a report that helps you communicate your findings and next steps to your team based on your competitive analysis.
2. Create quality newsletters
Promoting your products or services in traditional mass media is one of the conventional practices to promote a business. These practices are useful, but really expensive, and generally have limited access.
They also cannot be measured as efficiently as any other digital effort and therefore cannot be optimized on a minimum budget.
One way to reach potential customers, who have already shown some kind of interest in you or what you have to say in your medium, are newsletters and information bulletins.
Newsletters can give you exposure to your clients without you having to make much of an effort. Bulletins travel by mail and are a flexible way of sharing content without expensive software or hardware.
All you need is to design a quality newsletter that can showcase your business in an attractive way and has a standard managing tool. Even freemium or test tools are very useful.
What you have to remember is that you have to add value to your audience at any moment, and that means that you must offer quality and useful content that shows you as a leader in your area.
In order for you to do this, you have to do the needed research for every piece of content you put in front of potential customers. You must project yourself as a leader; you really have to work for it.
3. Take advantage of social media, but not all of them
Depending on your target, this may not be a priority for you, but if you are going to promote your products or services, using social networks is the right way for you to reach thousands of people.
Emails allow you to reach your clients and potential buyers, but social media will not only attract new customers; they will also help you connect with your audience, test different strategies, and reach different segments of your audience at a time.
Depending on your products and market segment, Instagram may help you tag your location, share live stories and videos, and tag other accounts. There are also other platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter that can strengthen your presence in the market.
Before setting your heart on any social media, research other options to see which one has a better reach to your ideal audience.
It would be a wasted effort if you are looking for potential clients for your online payment fintech in TikTok. Your audience wouldn’t trust you if they saw the CEO dancing to some choreography and the audience you’re getting on a network like that probably isn’t even in the legal age to buy anything.
It may happen the same on Instagram. Meanwhile, on YouTube you can create videos in which you educate your potential audience about how to take advantage of your product. That would be worth it, in my opinion.
Do your analysis, see where your competitors stand and see if it’s worth keeping up with them.
4. Listen to your customers
Customers are the most crucial part of your business and your marketing strategy depends largely on whether your products or services are relevant to them. You can analyze social media, statistics, and other data to better understand demand, but the best way to find the right answer is to speak directly to them.
If you have a website, build a section where your consumers can educate themselves about your products and share their point of view. Social media chats and live videos (Facebook live) are a great idea.
Another option is to research your audience’s possible interests and create quality content for them based on it. For example, if you have a startup that offers online yoga, you may be interested to see how interest in meditation has increased in recent months.
This allows you to make decisions based on quantitative data and to be able to produce content that you know your target audience is interested in consuming.
Once you know what your clients expect of you, you can change your business techniques accordingly. In this process, you won’t necessarily need to invest money, but you will need to install some management tools and create proposals with the information you gathered.
5. Focus on word of mouth
A client trusts other clients more than any business or brand. This means that your chances of closing a sale increase every time your promotion comes from a satisfied client.
Building your reputation or social approval using testimonials from satisfied customers with your product or service is a good start. You can add these tests to your website or content.
This model is especially true for start-up companies and marketing agencies, that relly on the delivery of a service. According to this report by Hubspot, 38 percent of surveyed agencies relly on referrals to attract new clients.
This implies that you also have to pay attention to your user experience, especially when providing a service, since a bad reputation will backfire on your future efforts.
Once you´re done with this, you can try other ways to get referrals, through affiliate marketing, or referral programs.
6. Pay attention to the speed of your website
Consumers don’t want to wait for a website to load, this undoubtedly generates a bad experience for them. Google also doesn’t like to invest a lot in scanning your slow website.
You need a site that can load all of your content in the shortest time possible, usually within a few seconds. The speed of the website and therefore the user experience on the page is also a factor for SEO positioning.
Make sure your website is optimized on every page. Try installing some quality SEO tools to analyze your website and carry out a speed test. Also, consider doing an SEO audit, to help you objectively analyze problems and possible solutions.
This may not sound much like marketing, but ranking high on Google in terms relevant to your business is essential to organic sales and brand recognition.
When starting to promote your startup, surely developing your website is among the first efforts, so recognizing that it has to be fast and understanding why will help you avoid future headaches.
7. User-Generated Content
As a startup, creating quality posts for social media or other mass media can be a bit difficult, especially if you have a limited budget to buy cameras and lights. The best way to fix it is to use user-generated content.
As its name implies, this content is created by the user so there is no investment, no complicated editing, and no procedures that require much effort. You can create a platform to collect the data, select suitable publications, and use them.
Even the most stable businesses, like Amazon, eBay, and more, use this resource.
This of course depends on what type of startup you have and what you want to achieve: generate leads, brand recognition, among others.
Your fintech clients are probably not making stories on Instagram about the online payment they just made. On the other hand, online yoga clients are surely posting their routines.
8. Consider free gifts
The most successful way to promote your business is through your customers, as I mentioned before, a good experience with your service can help you positively influence another sale.
The client who is aware of your brand and online presence will know everything about your product or service and, in turn, will also have some people in their personal network who will be willing to buy. In this way, you access an audience similar to that of your informed client.
So, what those people need to promote your business is motivation. A great way to incentivize them is to offer referral discount coupons, a small gift when making a purchase, or a refund that can be used on the next purchase.
For example, giving away t-shirts is a fairly popular tactic that marketing teams use to build brand affinity with their customers. There are countless companies that can print T-shirts on demand, at a very reasonable price.
What is not measured is not optimized
Any effort needs to be measured, this is a very important thing to keep in mind. Every email, every post needs to be measured to eventually learn from what you’ve done, so that you can optimize future efforts with what you already know works—or what doesn’t.
Interact with your team, create a system that can compare your ROI and show you the success rates of each marketing strategy.
Being able to analyze the results of your strategy with reports or other documentation will be very useful when creating future marketing strategies.
Daleska Pedriquez is a Growth Marketer at Venngage with experience in content marketing and SEO for companies in the tech industry. She has a degree in communications and a specialization in marketing from the Andrés Bello Catholic University in Venezuela.