When you start an online business, its promotion can either lift it up to the skies or descend to the sinful earth with all its headaches, deadlock conditions, money issues and whatnot. But if we want to reach success, we should think positively. And we will try to. However, a start-up without a strategy is like a journey one doesn’t have a map for. So the aim of our today’s blog post is to give this map to our respected readers so that they never get lost in the sticky and wild jungle of marketing.
Marketing strategy of any company always depends on several factors: your product, your market and your business model. But eventually, it always comes down to money. We don’t think that anybody will argue the fact that budget dictates the strategy. Undoubtedly, a marketing strategy must be highly specific in every separate case. Nevertheless, there are few universal things important for each particular venture. They are:
- Who are you catering to? (Your targeted market segment).
- Why should people buy your product? (How they can benefit from purchasing it).
- What differentiates you from your competitors? (Your USP – unique sales proposition).
We are not going to beat around the bush, but rather get straight to the point. Now, when we identified three general items essential for any type of business, we can state a kind of guidelines for marketing strategies any start–up can use to rapidly grow into mature corporation. We decided not to mention experimental technologies as a start-up company simply can’t afford the risk and keep to the time-tested marketing strategies that always work.
1. Make use of all marketing foundations
By this point we mean: try everything. Cover off SEO, e-mail and social marketing. Involve paid advertising (Display/PPC/etc.) when you need a reliable lever for driving revenue/conversions quickly.
Choose your targeted audience. Don’t try to please everyone as this is the road leading nowhere. Let us quote Sally Hogshead’s book “Fascinate”: “If you’re not generating a negative reaction from someone, you’re not fascinating anyone.” Icebergs don’t freeze overnight and you don’t have to be for everyone immediately. Start with something smaller, focus, and then broaden later. By the way, Facebook once was for students at specific universities, and look what is happening now. We, our teen kids, moms, dads and even grandparents have their Facebook accounts. This is a bright example of the right focus.
3. Address the reasons of customers’ wishes
It makes no sense to ask customers what they want because by the time you get it built, they’ll want something new. (Here we paraphrased Steve Jobs’ quote a little bit). So, what is the right thing to do? Bring to light why your customers want this or that thing. This way you will address the reasons why people want what they want and be truly unique, creative and disruptive.
4. Understand the economic drivers of your business
By this point we mean that you should analyze and clearly understand your customer’s lifetime value. This will inform your allowable customer acquisition cost which then will show the marketing channels, strategies and tactics you could afford to employ. If this monitoring prompts that you need to generate traffic extremely cheap, you may use tactics like SEO, PR, social and viral marketing. Maybe it will be better for you to spring into action a totally different strategy of renting e-mail lists, sending direct marketing mailers out to potential customers, employing a telesales staff and buying media at scale across the web. As you see, everything depends on the economic drivers of your business.
5. Satisfied customers
To succeed in your start-up adopt the simplest and most cost effective medium to communicate and deliver your product/service in-time as nothing can be more distressing than a belated delivery. Think over on creating a system to remain in touch with your satisfied customers. Don’t give up on the unsatisfied customers either, identify and respectfully deal with them to convert the abused clients into happy ones by means of your behavior as well as by your product/service. Encourage your satisfied customers become the volunteered salespersons.
6. Apply A/B testing
A/B test everything. Your product and potential users are unique and unfortunately there are very few black & white answers in marketing. The key to your answer can be found in the question. Start with a proper strategy before you start to think about execution, if the strategy is set the execution should be easy to figure out.
7. Inbound marketing
This strategy is applied to achieve low-cost organic leads. It’s not a quick solution, this method takes time to mature and grow. However, it’ll yield high quality leads. Want to know how to start? Present yourself as a thought leader by writing about your industry in your blog. You can also use guest blogging in established publications as well as infographics, white papers, case studies, and the like. All these efforts will keep you in the loop of your industry.
8. Outsmart, but not outspend your competitor
Your goal is to outsmart and not outspend your mature competitors. For instance, you can create a compelling story around your product or marketing campaign. Plus, your product should be really great as no amount of marketing is going to make up for a poorly made product.
9. Realize the fact that marketing starts and ends with the customer
A focus on only making a great product (or service) doesn’t work in real life, that is, nobody will start buying it immediately for that reason. You need segmentation to understand the potential sources of growth. Group customers according to the choices they make.
After you’ve understood the various groups which can be your potential sources of growth, you need to choose the ones against which you’ll direct your marketing resources. Here you’ll have to fight the temptation of going blindly after the biggest segment (in volume or value). While it can be the segment with the biggest potential in itself, but the timely question to ask oneself is that can you even begin to serve the specific needs of that segment, and are you, given your present available strengths, well placed to succeed in that segment, which will be targeted by multiple other competitors for obvious reasons. You must match your target segment’s needs with your own strengths (if you want to win, of course) by making informed choices about your target audience, and ignore the others.
Positioning is something which isn’t done to your product, but actually in the mind of your prospect (as most people use their minds, rather than their brains, to make a lot of choices). And thus, for conceptualizing and executing a successful positioning strategy you need to decide on a positioning that’s unique, differentiated, ownable and sustainable over the long-term, while keeping in mind your target audience’s profile, the competitive frame in which you operate, and your key point of differentiation.
10. Start from very basics
When you just trying to launch your business shuttle, we advise you not to chase big ideas. Start with your unique selling points. Focus on your unique product’s characteristics in comparison with your competitors. Based on the above info, identify your targeted customers. At the very beginning, it’s highly recommended to focus on small specific groups, the tastes, preferences and demands of which you are sure about. Watch them; study their behavior, their interests, their desires… Then it won’t be too complicated to find out the channel of approach your targeted customers. Make everything as simple as possible. You can’t afford to make short & mid term effort and money investments.
For part 2 of our fantastic guide please click here – 20 fantastic marketing strategies part 2