Again, we received a lot of questions about advertising and marketing for startups and we are more than happy to help. We have tried to list below few tips and tricks, that you can make use of-
- Facebook and Twitter is not just for gossips, use it to promote your business. Oh, you don’t have a facebook /twitter page for your company yet? Why would you do that? Studies have shown that, around 75% people search about products on social media platforms to be sure of the customer reviews and followers that the product has.
- An account on the top 5 social media sites: Linked in, Facebook,YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter is a must. Again, you have to research, which platform your target audience uses, make sure that you are on those ones at least. As a free tip, if your product is sound on visuals, make sure you are on Instagram or Pinterest, Facebook can be considered as well. On the other-hand if you are more into information-sharing, you need to be on platforms like Twitter or Facebook and blogging websites.
- I was recently following a show on TV ( Dynamo- Magician Unlimited) where he showed how our everyday decisions were influenced by the images we saw, the decisions are ours to say, but they are solely driven by the images we have been seeing. A video or picture is registered more quickly and for longer than text. Make small, economical and relevant videos and upload them on YouTube to attract attention. It is especially important if you are bootstrapping your business.
- And being there isn’t enough, make sure that you are engaging with your existing customers and also have enough substance to attract more people. Again as an example if you are say a service based startup, keep giving some updates on the numbers you have achieved so far, publish positive feed-backs from your existing customers with pictures. Thank people for mentioning your startup in their posts. Be quick and responsive to the messages that you may get on these platforms.
- Get your self some FreePR – There are websites which offer press releases/ feature your startup for free. Go for them right away. But make sure there is enough substance in your startup for it to be featured, and that it is at a level where you think people will be interested to know about it. If your answer is yes , you can also get featured on Knowstartup, by just filling up a form !
- Online networking: Use Professional networking groups to connect with people, talk to them about your startup, and let the world know. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn, Reddit and YCombinator. That is how people get to know that are are creating something. In addition to that you can get feedback about your idea/ startup. You can even join groups that have your target audience, to be able to predict and design your product based on customer preferences. Present your self as a focused entity, this will enhance your brand value.
- Conferences and Startup events: Make sure that attend conferences and startup events regularly. If you are not yet eligible to participate, at least visit as audience. You will get to know a lot about what you should be doing and more than that these events are a great platform to interact with budding entrepreneurs, angel investors and mentors. Spread the word out about your startup.
- Partnership with established companies and influences: What better time to use your partnerships than this. Identify other people in your segment that can help you advertise your product. If an established entity is talking about you, that adds credibility to your brand as well. Again, I cannot emphasize enough on the role that networking will play here. Identify people in the industry that will help here, someone who has followers from the audience that you want to capture, once they talk about you, their words will be reaching across exactly where they should. And nature of partnership can be different from this as well, you can partner with companies that are not your competitors but have the same target audience. As an example, if you are into bridal makeup business, partner with someone who is into bridal attire, or catering or an aggregator. But when you do that, be specific in your terms – about what you can give and what you want in return!
- Free email services: Be shameless to use emails as a means to reach your prospects and keep your clients engaged. There are many cost-effective email solutions that will work for your startup. Companies like MailChimp have several free plan that allows sending emails to up to 12,000 subscribers per month. 12000 is great for a start as soon as you have more money you can run more elaborate email campaigns.
- Online message signatures: If you own a startup, change your email and all online messaging signatures, update your social networking profiles to mention that you are the founder of so and so startup. Believe me people notice signatures, and once they do , they are sure to ask you about it.
- Press releases are a very effective way to advertise about your startup, but for this you will have to have something newsworthy to report, and it should be something that can capture readers interest. If it is not going to be catchy, don’t do it yet!
- Secondly, identify which newspaper to approach- approach the one that your target audience would read.
- Take due care to frame it in a way that highlights your company name at the top, remember, visuals are a very strong tools, use them to scribe your company name in your audience’s heads. Give a headline that makes people read more.
- Also don’t forget to give contact information about your company in your press release.
- Another thing, not everyone is blessed with effective writing tactics, which is acceptable, so if you think you will not be able to do justice, hire a professional or hand this over to a friend / relative to write for you. Proof read and make sure it is flawless.
- Include quotes, from people in the company, that not only brings more insight but also gives a real touch that makes your press release more genuine.
- Your website – Your website is like your shop, if it is not attractive, clean , crisp, responsive, full of stock, you are not going to get a second visit. Yes, its over and above the effort you are putting in your social media pages, the sole aim of having presence on social media is to get more people( read potential customers) land on your company’s website, to be able to turn them into real customers. Therefore, make sure that you are investing on your website. Make it appealing, easy to use, remove the clutter, make it intuitive and you will add customers for sure.
- Benefits over features: Remember, how while buying even electronics when we compare two products we always end up buying the one that has more benefits, even if that means being a feature or two less than the other product. The buying action is always influenced by the benefit, and not the feature. It really matters how you highlight the benefits that your prospective customer is going to get, over and above the features.
- You can also make use of Guerilla Marketing, which means using creativity instead of money to market your product.
Focus your customer:
- Contests and competitions: Use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to hold contests and competitions. You can provide the winner with a prize or a discount for your product or service. Competitions get hundreds of people talking about your brand in public but you only need to reward one winner. I myself have many photographer friends who got people talking about them and their business by means of such competitions and then offered portfolio shoots for discounted rates, who doesn’t like to get clicked!
- Customers: Remember when you are a startup, you have to leave no stone un-turned to keep your existing customers happy. they are not just your customers they are the ones who also market your brand and that too for free.
- Be a problem solver: Solve a problem that your customers have. This is one of the best form of marketing you can do. Be innovative, when you do that and give them a good solution, your customers will market your startup to others with similar problems.
- Entrepreneurs who are bloggers enjoy a lot of benefits. Start telling your story from day one, record your journey with your audience. Telling your story makes customers connect to you and the company, which leads to high retention rate. With that you are also establishing a brand, getting industry expertise if you are a regular blogger and have managed to gain followers, free marketing and greater visibility for your product.
Communication must not stop:
- If you are in the Service industry make sure you build up a relationships with your customers by caring about them. Follow-up phone calls let customers know they matter to your company. Drop e-mail, text messaging, and social media can be inexpensive and beneficial if used sparingly and in a way that the customer values.
You obviously can choose among these ways and follow the one that suits your pocket and product, but make sure you have a marketing plan in mind for your startup. If you haven’t started it yet, do it now !