We continue with our list of 20 fantastic marketing strategies, here is part one incase you missed it, 20 Fantastic Marketing Strategies Part 1.
Now lets continue with with the strategies that will help you to take your business forward.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Strict budget plan
This step seems so obvious and simple that many novices forget about it. Please, remember: your cash will run out even before you realize that fact in case you don’t keep track of your spending. It doesn’t matter how you are going to approach your customers; try to strictly work out the cost. Never estimate anything. If you have suppliers – contact them for actual quotation. You may use MS Excel to record your cash flow data, but don’t forget to edit it regularly. This way you’ll see your potential budget deviations and threats in time.
It’s great to design a simple chart (e.g, gantt chart) to have an overview of your marketing plan progress and try to keep balance with the amount that runs away from you bank account. Improve your marketing plan as soon as you see that something is going wrong. We also advise you to have a back-up amount to cover “must spend” marketing expenses in case of necessity.
14, 15, 16. Strong brand & brand identity
Expert marketers assert that it’s impossible to build a solid product/service offer and marketing strategy without a strong brand identity. Building it should precede SEO, social media sense, quality content, and so on. A startup should first of all figure out who and what they are before writing any content for a website because namely your brand impacts your design, your language, your approach, etc. People relate to brands the same way as they relate to people. If someone’s not sure of who they are, it’s noticeable, and you’ll hardly pal up with the person. Just the same thing happens to the inconsistent brand.
Let’s enumerate the internal branding drivers: company product, mission, vision, goals, targeted audiences, and employee perceptions; and the external ones: all outreaches to the audience, as well as how the public perceives what you do.
Of course, you can pay for branding, but if you are strapped for cash, simply decide for yourself what kinds of questions do you want to answer, and use a simple survey tool to get them answered. Ask yourself and your crew questions like: “Why are you in business? What does your business do? Who are your customers? Who are you biggest competitors? What is your product? What is the biggest problem your product is solving? Where do you see the company in 5 years? How would you describe your company culture?” If you have no customers yet, start with these types of internal drivers so that everyone in your team was, at least, on the same wave.
Once this research is complete, you can look at how you want to present yourself to the public. You should also be able to glean your market segments from this exercise and create some customer profiles, which will help you target and message to each segment appropriately.
With those building blocks in place, you can develop appropriate marketing materials. At the bare minimum, these may include (depending on your product):
- A website and mobile website or app;
- A sales presentation;
- A brochure;
- A best practice on how your product will offer value (continue to build this content as your business takes hold, as these are your best selling points).
These 4 simple things will make you look professional, have a sales pitch, and show value.
Next, think about an integrated 6-month marketing plan based on your budget. Marketing outreaches include:
- Direct mail;
- Social media;
- Events (either as attendees, speakers or booth hosts);
- Web events;
- Media (press releases, article pitches and placement, radio, TV).
Mix paid and unpaid outreaches. Regardless of what you can or can’t afford, just make sure your marketing is integrated: it takes up to 7 touches for something to sink in for your audience, so if you run a campaign, make sure your outreaches are consistent with content and graphics, and spread across several mediums. Whatever you do, find a way to capture an email.
Include a CRM technology system to support your efforts.InfusionSoft is recommended for small businesses, but there are many others you can choose from. As you begin to build a client database and track who opens your emails, you can create a sales funnel that will narrow to actual sales. Don’t expect one email to result in a sale; instead, keep narrowing the field through multiple touches until you can pick up the phone and call someone directly – or better yet, they call you.
After a sale, make sure you have a good customer retention plan,with ongoing customer communications and training. Keep those clients happy and continue to document the value they find in your product. Bring them together to share best practices, and move your way forward to the leader in whatever industry you’ve entered.
17. Social media
Direct interaction with your current and potential customers via social media is one of the most valuable techniques for initiating a movement over your product or business. This method is cheap, if not free, yet rather efficient. Creating your brand through one-to-one interaction is a good practice that will pay off in the long run without fail.
18. Employ a bottom-up approach
Attempt to reach the crucial stats, such as conversion rate, as quickly as possible. This allows you to calculate how much proverbial runway you have, and approximately, what your CPA is, and see further down the tunnel.
Once you have this established with delta change under 12% or so, you can then start throwing traffic at your sales funnel.
If you start with adcenter for example, and are seeing ROI, do remember you can always port a campaign over to other similar channels, in this case – Google Adwords, with relatively the same conversion rate. Your costs will be higher, but this also gives you a fall back.
At this point many changes can simultaneously be made to product, always attempting to make conversion rate higher. Worst case scenario is you still have version A to fall back on.
Other crucial KPI’s such as CLTV will come later, but you need to establish important metrics lower down the funnel first.
This is known as a bottom-up approach. It works great in finding product/market fit before investing much more resources.
19. Quality content
Interesting, helpful content is the foundation for SEO and social media. Be sincere with yourself when generating it. Answer yourself a question: “Is my content really share-worthy?” Give users the reason to visit your website; quality content is a good one.
We sincerely hope that our list of start-up marketing strategy tips from industry experts will help you raise your business quickly and frugally. Summing up everything said above, we would like to highlight the most important moments once again.
Of course, much depends on what you are selling, but some of the best marketing strategies for a start-up could be:
- SEO – is a long term strategy (6-12 months);
- Blogging – always helps if content is valuable and well distributed;
- Social media promotion is ambiguous and highly sensitive to your audience. It’s free. People are using Pinterest, tumblr and others in very creative ways;
- Adwords is short term but pricey;
- Klout – controversial but worth researching influencers impacting your product. Engage them via Klout.
And the last option, which we hope you won’t use – if all attempts fail, hire a marketing agency.