Whether your startup is simply a thought in your head, newly launched, or on its way to being a huge success, as Forbes stated recently: 90% of your success is going to fall on the shoulders of your marketing. That statistic remains even if you are forgoing big paid advertising campaigns and lofty TV ads. In reality, your startup is not a household name (yet), which means it’s up to you to get the word out there.
Essentially, the number of users you are going to aggregate, how much you can charge for your product or service, and the amount of capital you can raise by certain deadlines are entirely dependent upon your marketing. Fortunately, with a little planning, research, and passion for spreading the word, startup marketing doesn’t have to completely break the bank.
So how should you market your startup? Here is our 7-point plan for getting everything organized and ready to go.
1: Define the Objective
This might sound self-explanatory, but you would be amazed at how many startups start throwing money at different advertising channels before they all sit down and identify what the goal really is: to sell the startup? To make money? To change the world? To improve a failed service?
Answering all of these questions will help you define your audience. This is the ideal consumer that is going to use your creation. Where can you find them? Are they young? Old? Female or male? Wealthy? You get the picture. For example, if you are targeting a 22-30-year-old female, then look no further than apps like Instagram (70% of users are female), or Pinterest (81% of users are female).
2: Stay Strong with Brand Messaging
Do not rush step one because, by the time you get to step two, there is no going back. Consumers are easily confused today, and given the competition through the Internet, they are simply going to find the next startup that is able to maintain consistency. Find your brand, your brand voice, your logo, and your aesthetic, and stick with it. This kind of branding will make it easier and easier for consumers to identify you and your product offering.
Think of the most popular brands in the world, like Google and Amazon. We bet you can already tell us their logo colors and jingles. That’s because these companies have stuck with brand predictability since day one. As a startup, you are working against an established market. Consistency is key if you want to maintain legitimacy in your market.
3: Research the Market
Numbers don’t lie, and fortunately, we have trillions of numbers at our disposal through the Internet today. Among the most basic elements of data will be your startup’s total addressable market (TAM). Knowing exactly who your customers will be is a great way to hone in on this number.
But that’s not all: once you have this number figured out, it’s time to do a thorough sweep of the competition. Where do they excel? Can you estimate their total earnings? Which competitors are less successful? Why? Where do these competitors drop the ball, leaving room for someone to come in and clinch the market?
With all of this information, you will be able to create an effective positioning statement, as well as a brand, that is based on tangible information. Instead of taking a shot in the dark, now you can actually rely on some form of success in the future.
4: Identify Your Channels
As we mentioned above, at some point, you need to decide where you are going to exert your marketing effort. As a startup, you can’t possibly devote the same attention and resources to 15 different channels. You need to first discuss the umbrella categories, like social media, TV, outdoor display advertising, print ads, email marketing, affiliate platforms, influencer marketing, and the list goes on.
Make sure to curate a mix, selecting at least 3 different channels so you can compare results. Within the channels, keep it tight at first until you really have a feel for it.
5: The Money
Although you can get creative and do a lot of social media marketing on free platforms, at some point, you are going to hit a paywall. Be sure to budget out the available funds before you dive into marketing since shutting down marketing altogether at any point is simply not an option. Once you have this budget identified, now you can make a 1 or 2-year plan with how you intend to spend it. Whatever you do, budget out your funds so that you will never run out of marketing money.
Although your team will be working hard telling the world about your startup, you need more than just 7 people: you need a referral network. Word of mouth advertising is still the most effective way to spread the word regarding a new service, given that people make purchases based on trust and credibility.
So how do you get this circle going? Ask customers for feedback and make them feel special – showcase customers on social feeds and show your responses transparently. Make sure you hide nothing. Open yourself up and create a community surrounding your brand.
7: Influencer Marketing
Influencers, known as individuals on social media with a significant organic following, are some of the most important marketing tools available to you today. As we just mentioned, these individuals have an organic following, meaning their following trusts their opinions and judgment. If influencers are not already part of your marketing plan, they need to be. It’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to introduce your marketing concept to 500,000 people overnight.
Here at Tomo360, we specialize in curating unique marketing strategies that will leverage your startup into 2019. It starts with you, your startup, and a detailed and organized plan. Contact us today.