The most exhilarating experience is starting your own venture. Some of the big questions that follow are how to reach masses, how to make your business resonate, how to drive your business results, how to be successful, and how to fulfil your dreams with a shoestring budget?
Let’s begin with a very basic question, why do startups need marketing? Startups solve problems for their users, and connecting with right users is about personalised marketing at scale. They need to build their own brand identity and a slow growth in this fast-paced competitive world can be detrimental to the startup’s health.
Why digital marketing and not traditional forms of marketing? In digital marketing, there are organic ways to grow your consumer base without incurring large amounts of money, it has low entry barriers and scale. A lot can be done with less and sharp targeting leading to less wastage.
As a startup, how can digital marketing help you? It builds awareness and positions your company and brand. It builds a consistent flow of traffic, gets the first few users. This form of marketing also drive leads and online sales.
Keeping the budget constraints in mind, startups need a few techniques/tools that they can use with minimal cost. Let’s look at some of these tools and what can be done to approach these.
- SEO – This is cost-effective with measurable, long-term benefits. It increases the visibility and organic traffic to the website. Using this, there is free branding and it builds trust and credibility. A big advantage is that it opens your business 24*7.
What needs to be done to be SEO friendly? – Make your site mobile friendly and secure, especially if is an e-commerce website. Do ensure all pages are working, use appropriate tags/headers/descriptions. Optimise for faster page load times, create good content on the site, and focus on online PR – get users to talk about your site.
- Content marketing – This generates more traffic, more leads, and builds brand awareness. It also builds relationship with current and prospective clients.
What to focus in content marketing? – Publish great and relevant content on a regular basis. Formulate unique selling proposition. Set up a blog, tell stories, and work with other publishers to post your content/write-ups. Also communicate user stories.
- Social media marketing – This is cost-effective and a platform to build voice. It is way to engage with current and future customers. Pick the right platforms as per your business – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram.
What shall you do on the platforms? – Think about why someone would become a part of your community or follow you (what is in it for me). Seed the platform with the first few pieces of content. Let the users take over, while you monitor. Do use groups/Q&A/chat effectively.
- Email marketing – This is simple, cost-effective, personal, customisable, and measurable with high ROI. You can communicate with an audience of any size. Email has nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined.
How to go about email marketing? – Identify a service provider. Do-it-yourself platforms are good, few are: Constant Contact, MailChimp, Aweber, Amazon SES. Set up a calendar and very important is that ‘do not always sell’ – majority of the email should be about free service.
- Growth hacking – This is low-cost and innovative alternative to traditional marketing.
How to go about it? – Offer something for free, set up a referral programme, and go with exclusivity. There should be an element that helps your product go viral.
Try these techniques, start right and let success follow you.
About the Author:
Amitabh Verma is the CEO and Founder of AMP Digital, a firm into the online training and agency space. He is a business leader with extensive experience in Digital Marketing, Sales, Operations and Customer Service and has worked for global MNCs as well as startups. He is an MBA from IIM, Kozhikode and has done his masters in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics.