Attempting to build your own startup takes courage, ambition and lots and lots of optimism. Right off the bat, every startup founder knows there will be obstacles. Even so, there are situations that still take you by surprise either because you simply didn’t foresee them, you’re not sure how to react or you don’t yet have the necessary tools to handle them.
It’s not enough to have a great idea, team and funding. To grow a startup and become successful you need to generate profit from sales and you can’t do that if nobody knows you’re out there.
In today’s web-dominated world, maintaining an online presence is of paramount importance. A recent analysis found that, before buying a product or service, more than 70-80% of consumers research the company online. The reality of consumer online searches has persuaded many companies to build an online presence, especially medium and large-scale ones.
You can deny it all you want, but we live in the age and having a website for your startup is no longer just a nice addition, it’s a prerequisite.
However, it’s not enough to just have a website, it needs to look professional or you’ll be dismissed out of hand.
One you have it up and running, you need to choose the right combination of online marketing channels.
The most popular ones are:
Facebook – With more than 2 billion users, Facebook is the most prominent social media platforms. You can use Facebook to promote almost any product or service. Since Facebook has such a strong user base, it is commonly used by advertisers to generate mainstream brand awareness. You can rest assured that the bulk of your target demographic is using this platform on a daily basis and that gives you easy access. With just a few clicks, you can send information about your company to mullions of potential customers.
Twitter – Twitter can also assist you in growing your business. It works well for B2B but as well B2C and it allows you to run various kinds of ads.
Instagram – Instagram is a great platform for your company if your niche is related to fashion, beauty, health, fitness, modelling or photography. It works for other categories as well but these are the most popular.
To promote your brand, you can hire widely known influencers or some (less-popular) micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing is one of today’s trendiest marketing techniques and it’s highly effective in helping you gain the trust of potential consumers.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is possibly the best platform for B2B networking, getting professional recognition and generating leads. This platform allows you to set up your own profile and connect with other professionals related to your sector or that you might profit from collaborating with. You’ll get updates from them and you can keep the community informed about changes in your company. You can also publish articles related to your niche.
Snapchat – Snapchat works well if you’re targeting a younger audience, especially for niches like fashion, beauty, food and gaming. It even has its own Business Center you can use for advertising campaigns.
Email Marketing – Email marketing is one of the most powerful and cost-effective start-up growth tools and offers the highest ROI (Return-On-Investment) of around 40x. That means you’ll be getting $40 for every $1 you spend.
This type of marketing outperforms other marketing strategies through the impact of personalized customer interactions. You can tailor your ads for every specific target according to age group, needs, platform that generated the lead and thus increase your conversion rate. You can also customize your messages according to previous purchases and it allows you to communicate with your customers in a more direct and personal way which has been shown to be more compelling.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing is a form of internet-based marketing dealing with search engine analysis and finding strategies to position a website as high as possible in the search results as to achieve maximum visibility and maximize the number of search engine traffic referrals.
SEM in an umbrella term that includes anything that increases search traffic for any given website and has become a vital part of a company’s marketing strategy since most if not all internet users reach by first searching it on Google.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) also fall under SEM, but SEO refers to improving unpaid results by adjusting or rewriting a website’s content and architecture with the aim of reaching a higher ranking on the search engine results pages. An SEO specialist will be using tactics like increasing the number of backlinks, adding relevant keywords to a website’s metadata, conducting competitor analysis, optimizing your website for mobile phones and many others.
On the other hand, Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing uses search engine advertising to derive website clicks, instead of “earning” them organically. According to the experts from Summon Digital, the paid search option can speed up your marketing efforts and combines well with SEO strategies.
Google Ads is a PPC service that lets business and website owners to bid for the opportunity to display their ads alongside Google’s search results as users search for the products and services they sell. You only get charged when someone clicks on your site and, this way you can broaden your online audience.
Content Marketing focuses on creating, publishing and distributing online content. It can be blogs, how-to guides, case studies, podcasts or videos. The idea behind it is that the internet user will be searching for information online and if you generate content that supplies that information but also advertises or links back to your brand, you build up your online presence.
Since YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google, it makes sense that so many companies use this platform to promote their products and services. A company may simply pay to play their adverts during a video, make their own channel and show content relevant to what the company offers, or work with an influencer who will advertise for them during. YouTube Marketing falls under Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing but it has become so wide-spread that its currently in a league of its own.