Start-Up Marketing Strategies
Every day, big name brands are using their multi-million dollar advertising budgets to burn their company name and slogan into the minds of a target audience. As a small start-up, the task of gaining market share from these Goliath companies may seem nearly impossible, especially on a minuscule budget. While all hope may seem lost, entrepreneurs can use the following five start-up marketing strategies to give their company a fighting chance.
Focus on the customer base. Although a countrywide broadcast may sound appealing to any new start-up, marketing dollars go much farther when focusing specifically on the target customers. By honing in on the radio stations customers like to listen to, the websites they like to visit, or their approximate age and gender, each ad becomes more likely to draw in the maximum number of customers.
Brand the content. By providing the target audience with material they enjoy reading and watching, entrepreneurs who brand their content will see long-term dividends from their upfront work. A financial start-up that is trying to build a following of middle-aged professionals who are seeking investment and retirement information can offer to guest-post on popular blogs in the financial industry. By providing helpful, not promotional, information and including a link back to one’s company, entrepreneurs can begin branding themselves as industry experts with the target audience.
Maximize on the social scene. Start-ups need to engage potential customers on their social turfs. If most target customers like to spend time on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, having a strong presence on each platform will allow customers to connect and become brand loyal to the start-up. Rather than spouting purely promotional posts and tweets, social media marketing works best with interesting and sharable information.
Build strong alliances. A strategic partnership with an established brand helps provide instant credibility for a new start-up. The best partnerships exist among companies that offer complementary services, allowing each business to refer customers to the other without worrying about the competition. If company partners oppose a customer referral agreement, monetary incentives may be enough to get them to change their minds.
Incentivize social sharing. If a start-up is experiencing difficulty creating naturally sharable content for Facebook and Twitter, offering an incentive for sharing may help get the ball rolling. For example, a free report or an immediate discount off a purchase may be incentive enough for customers to spread the word with their friends. Another option may be to offer a monthly raffle or drawing for those who share or re-tweet the start-up’s newest product or service.
Before spending one dollar on advertising, entrepreneurs should take into account two essential criteria. First, business owners must implement exact goals on what to expect from advertising. This may include gaining social followers or simply building brand awareness. Second, start-ups need to decide the unique value proposition they bring to the industry landscape. If entrepreneurs pride themselves on a fast turnaround rate, their marketing should focus more on that than on any other company characteristic.
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