Marketing Tips for Start-ups
The truth is…. most start-ups are bootstrapping their way towards growth. With limited budgets, most entrepreneurs are forced to get creative and often don’t know where to start in terms of advertising and promotion. How do you decide where to focus your marketing efforts? Where do you allocate your budget? These 8 marketing tips for start-ups are sure to get you heading in the right direction.
In a recent study, BDC highlighted that 30% of Canadian small and medium enterprises have a marketing budget of less than $5,000 per year. We suggest spending a little time in the early stages of your strategic planning and landing on a figure you can comfortably afford. How effectively you spend these dollars is more important than trying to break the bank on your marketing budget.
The most common mistake that newbie entrepreneurs make is the belief that everyone is their target market. Establish what your niche is, who your target market is and tailor your advertising effort toward them. The more you know you know about them, the better you know and the more you can effectively sell to them. This especially rings true for social media advertising… don’t spam everyone in your city with your business ads. Hire a professional or learn how to properly create audiences in the Business Manager for Facebook and your ad spend will go a lot further.
Social media is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Find out what platforms your target market uses and engage with them. Start by following potential customers and engage with them online. Make sure your personal profiles are also up to date Customers will be curious who you are and some may even like your recent content and will return the ‘follow’ or ‘like’.
Be open to experimenting with different strategies and different platforms. Invest in online display ads and make use of email marketing software like Mailchimp; create a WordPress website and schedule social media posts using Hootsuite. Try, try, try until you find one (or more) that works for your business. There are so many options out there for leaving your internet footprint: LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter… not to mention the various groups that are existing and more than likely related to your industry.
Two words: Content Marketing. It’s one of the most effective ways to get people talking about your product and/or service. One effective way is to create a blog and link to it on your social channels. Note what topics are trending in your industry, or local area, and use them for content. Remember: Quality over quantity, keep in mind to post high-quality relevant photos on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Google Adwords and Google Analytics are your best friends. Use Google Analytics to see which pages on your site are performing well. If your content is well written, lacking in errors, and hits the keywords you want, you’re on the right track!
In this digital era, customers have never been more empowered to provide feedback. Go above and beyond to ensure the feedback you receive is positive and if it’s not, ask your customers how you can improve your product and service. You know what they say, happy customers have the potential to do a lot for your advertising, good reviews and word-of-mouth can have tremendous impacts. The majority of ‘review’ platforms are an open source, which means you can’t just delete the bad ones. Be mindful as a person and business owner.
As the owner – you want to market yourself and appear professional. Afterall you are the public face of your company. Take the necessary steps to always appear professional in the eyes of your peers. Present yourself well, create a LinkedIn for your business, be cautious of what you post on social media, and show up at all your industry’s major events. Lastly, make sure to stay on top of recent marketing and business trends by reading relevant books and listening to podcasts. I would suggest creating 2 different ‘friend’ groups in Facebook. Have your ‘close friends’ group, who will see all of your personal posts and have an ‘acquaintance’ group for general professional posts.