Written by Conor Todd
Each year, more and more startups begin their journey, in the hope of great success. However, the first hurdle of that journey seems to be merely surviving, with rates of failure exceeding 50% over the first few years.
Although the reasons for failure are many, the possibilities to grow and avoid collapsing are just as plentiful, given the amount of marketing techniques that can be utilized. Regardless of how incredible your idea is, if people don’t hear about it, it just won’t succeed. This is why companies in their infancy need ambitious marketing campaigns and strategies to make sure they avoid falling by the wayside.
Although a seemingly daunting task, there are a number of ways that startups can propel themselves to success and sustainability. Recognising the techniques valuable to you and implementing them correctly will vastly improve your chances of survival and growth.
Here are a few choice techniques for propelling your startup.
Optimize Your Site for Google Rankings
It’s paramount that you do well in the search rankings; it’s just a fact of life now, but it is possible. Also, you obviously want traffic to come to your website and learn about you. The best way to do this is through content marketing. Give people a reason to continually revisit your site with high quality content. Once people start to recognise the value of your content, they will link to you which in turn will increase the authority and trustworthiness of your site. This leads to your website being well ranked, and once the search engines recognise that you are a trusted site for certain keywords, your startup will be there at the top of the page for millions to see.
For instance, Weebly focused on SEO to become the enormous web-hosting platform they are today. They created a blog to attract prospective clients to their service, writing articles around website building and online marketing. However, with strong competition they had to get ahead somehow and decided to focus on finding niche keywords that would be valuable for them in gaining natural traffic. With millions of websites using Weebly to build their sites, it’s safe to say that SEO works.
Focus Your Message
Consistency is key if startups want to win the hearts and minds of customers. And they should. People are guaranteed to be disappointed if they buy into a brand and its message, only for that brand to move in another direction. It’s key to first create a great product or service, but a meaningful narrative must follow. Airbnb’s vision that their users really could ‘Belong Anywhere’ was originally mocked by many as unrealistic and missing the point. However, Airbnb’s genuine commitment to this statement proved to pay off, as people cite choosing to go with Airbnb, not because it’s the cheaper option, but because they get the pleasure of a place that feels like home on their holiday. So, belonging anywhere. People will buy into your brand, so you better really mean it.
It’s going to be difficult avoiding clichés in this section, but you do need to seize your opportunities. Be on the lookout for chances to exploit. In a world of constant news cycle, you’re bound to hit upon a story that your startup can take advantage of. When an Australian real estate developer made news by claiming millennials couldn’t afford houses because they spent too much on overpriced avocado and toast, student loan refinancer SoFi were moving into mortgage lending, and they seized their opportunity. They offered free smashed avocado toast to every new customer, which the media soon picked up on. This did wonders for SoFi, and all at the cost of some bread and avocados.
You could spend a lifetime trying to create huge buzz around your startup and although some might succeed, a clever way to circumnavigate this process is to piggyback on stories that have already gained huge traction. However, some companies have achieved huge notoriety through piggybacking and have then struggled to cope with the influx of new customers. Make sure you are prepared for the influx of interest your campaign could generate.
Take Advantage of the Newest Marketing Channels
The first people to use an untapped marketing channel are the ones who will achieve the most success from it. There’s no such thing as a successful marketing technique that no one’s ever heard of. The moment a technique is proven to be successful, marketers swarm in and everyone begins using it. This means that the best way to get ahead is by achieving ‘First Mover Advantage’. You can do this by keeping up with untapped channels, like new social media platforms, which aren’t yet swamped by marketing campaigns and then tapping in to their marketing opportunities before anyone else. Many companies will be too afraid to use untested marketing channels and methods, but your risk could pay off massively.
The advantage of using a new tool or platform to your marketing advantage is that people aren’t yet used to seeing it saturated with campaigns. We are aware of places where we expect to find advertising or marketing, and they all tend to blend in, but not with new channels. So, your marketing campaign is more likely to be met with fresh eyes and stand out.
Harness Influencer Marketing
Getting an influencer to endorse your products has become a huge marketing strategy in recent years. It sounds like having a celebrity on your advert, but it’s actually so different to that and that’s why it works. Most of us would say we are immune to conventional advertising now; we’ve seen it too many times, some actor telling us to buy some coffee product. An influencer using your product seems so much less forced because often this is what influencers do. Popular Youtubers and Instagrammers spend their whole lives filming or photographing their day-to-day lives, so the inclusion makes sense. Why wouldn’t they use products after all?
This option can often be cheaper than conventional or print advertising, with startups sometimes offering their product or service for free to influencers and in turn gaining invaluable advertising. Influencers often have a stronger bond with their fans and followers because of social media, meaning those followers trust them, so that when they endorse your product or service, it will be met with much less skepticism than more conventional endorsements.
About the Author
Conor Todd is Head of Marketing and a content writer at FreeOfficeFinder.