“Our jobs as Marketers are to understand “how” the Customer wants to buy and help them do so. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your Marketing. Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.”
Marketing Topics: Naming, Research, Content, Social Media, Influencers, SEO, Leads, Changes, New Ideas, Monitor, Cash Flow
If your dream has long been to start & manage your own business, there is no time like the present to get started. The cost of entry is at an all-time low, working from home through an Internet website seen globally to turn a hobby or an invention into an online business with good Marketing. But don’t be misled into thinking that long-term business success is assured and low risk – without good Marketing.
Heavy Competition. There are a hundred new websites & businesses created every minute somewhere in the world today. Unfortunately, most of these are never able to declare long-term success. Statistics show that the failure rate for new businesses within the first four years is 50% or greater, even with companies that have a large startup Marketing budget.
Strategies to Survive. In all cases, it pays to understand some proven strategies to increase your chances of success. Here are some key ones that I recommend, based on my experience in business, and my many years as an advisor to entrepreneurs:
1.Choose a Name that works across the Internet and the World. In addition to legal & local requirements, you need a business name that is available that’s unique, but easy to remember. Make sure it has no negative implications in any foreign language or culture. (ie, Chevy Nova in Spanish is no go)
2.Expect to spend most of your Limited Budget on Marketing. All marketing costs money or time, including Viral, SEO, Click-thru & Social Media support. You must continually assess Cost vs Value for the best returns in your effort.
3. Research online Marketing techniques – stealth, guerrilla, grassroots, etc. No matter what industry jargon term-of-the-day you apply to them, they are inexpensive and they work.
4. Have Interesting Content. Internally, create content that interests your target audience. This content can be in the form of Blog posts, Guest posts on other sites, s, graphics, videos, etc. This content should not be promotional and may not even discuss your product. The purpose is to engage & capture your target audience and build your credibility.
5. use Social Media to actively “engage” with your Customers. Customers today are looking for relationships, not just transactions. They want to know you before they recommend you to their friends.
6. Connect with Influencers. When you build better content, research Industry Influencers in your realm. Tools like Traackr, Kred or Klout can help you identify the Influencers. Create a profile of who you are engaging on social media. Then develop a strategy to reach them. (ie, re-Tweet their updates, Like their posts, Comment on their articles. Get involved with the people that drive the industry. Most of them want to help an up & coming startup.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) The most valuable leads are the ones who find you. You could spend a lot of money on Pay-per-Click campaigns, Advertising, Direct marketing, Sponsorships, etc or you could invest a small portion of your resources on SEO. By defining keywords that your target audience searches for and incorporating them on your site and in your content, you will raise your Search Engine ranking results and enable users to find you.
8. SEO: Provide online Content that ranks you ahead of Competitors. Having a website won’t help, if customers can’t find it. You want them to find you on the 1st page (ideally) or 2nd Position ranking is driven by relevant keywords, new content on a regular basis, + inbound & outbound site links. Focus on usability, layout, sound, & video.
9. Developing Leads into Customers. Another very important element is not to neglect the Leads you have already collected. Even if they were not ready to purchase your product at first, continue to engage with them on a regular basis (ie, monthly). Create an image of a competent Advisor with regular Social Media updates, targeted Content that increases their interest. (ie, new applications of use, testimonials of customers, etc).
10. Focus on providing “memorable” total Customer experiences. Customer service is not just about fixing problems. It starts when the customer begins his search for a solution, includes the buying & support process, then extends through follow-on transactions. Delighted customers are your best advocates, bringing in more customers than any advertising.
11.Adapt quickly to the continuous Changes now occurring in the marketplace & within your business – flexibility. If you aren’t making significant changes continually, you are likely falling behind.
12. Try New Ideas. Do not limit yourself to these suggestions. Try new things. Perhaps create a Sweepstakes on Social Media, Create a viral challenge like the recent ALS Ice bucket challenge.
- Start discussions in relevant LinkedIn groups.
- Attend local Meetups or Trade shows where your target audience will be.
Whatever crazy idea you have, give it a shot. You may be pleasantly surprised.
13, Measure your Progress against specific Objectives. Surviving daily challenges is necessary, but not sufficient, to build a sustainable business. Start by setting some specific growth targets, and implement metrics to chart your progress. Plan to update these objectives and your implementation plan, on at least a quarterly basis.
14.Lacking Budgets Does Not Mean Lackluster Results. Startups entrepreneurs operate lean machines. Not having the budget of Nike may mean that you can’t pay Michael Jordan to say your product is great; but, who says you need to? There are cost-effective ways to curate quality thought-leadership content, engage with industry influencers, optimize your site for relevant keywords, and nurture the leads you have. Low Budgets do not mean Lackluster Results Startups entrepreneurs operate as Lean machines. Not having a big budget demands more creativity.
15.Manage Cash Flow continually. A big influx of customer orders may feel like success, but can kill your business quickly, if you don’t have the cash to manufacture product, deliver on a timely basis, & cover receivables until paid. The best business owners manage Cash Flow diligently and never delegate final decisions about spending money.
Conclusion. So, while the cost of entry into business today is low, that doesn’t mean that business success is easy. Don’t let the low cost of entry lure you into a false sense of security. In my experience, there are only a small number of key principles and strategies that contribute large amounts to long-term sustainability and satisfaction.
Comments: Do you know any other Marketing Tips for Startups?
from Startup Sites.com 7/17 enhanced by Peter/CXO
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