You’ve taken the plunge into starting your own business; all those tales of overnight success stories and raking in the big bucks are flying around your head. It’s great to dream big, right?
But annoyingly, the ‘build it and they will come’ theory just isn’t always true. Marketing your business is essential to get your new brand out there into the world, in front of real-life paying customers. And for a start-up the marketing challenge is even tougher, because of limited funds, resources and time. Let’s face it, you’re stretched enough as it is!
But worry not – we’ve got 5 top tips to get your marketing machine well-oiled and working for you, rather than wasting your precious time.
1. What Makes you Different
In a nutshell, what is your key selling point? What makes you stand out from other companies out there? This has to be in line with what makes your customers tick; your USP (unique selling point) needs to resonate with their pain-points so they think Ah! Here’s the answer to my problems!
Know yourself and be consistent; staying true to your brand will only make you more powerful and pack a hefty punch in your industry.
TOP TIP: Don’t switch up your image depending on the audience you’re trying to attract. Make sure you present a united front in all your communications to avoid confusion and keep it clear and simple.
2. Choose Wisely with Social Media
Everyone jumps on the social media bandwagon, without stopping to think are my customers actually using this? For example, if Pinterest’s largest demographic is teenagers, they’re unlikely to be using your geospatial products any time soon.
Talk to your potential customers, find out what social networks they use. You need to market your brand where your customers hang out, or your efforts will be fruitless. For example, surveyors are going nuts over Instagram at the moment. Remember, Instagram is very much a ‘look at me’ medium, so think carefully on how you can attract their attention if ‘surveyors’ are your market.
Spend a couple of hours a week studying social channels to see where your customer demographic is spending their time online.
TOP TIP: It’s better to focus your efforts on one social media channel that truly represents your brand, rather than adopting a scattergun approach across the board. Be precise and focused with your social communications to really get the results you’re after.
3. Identify Partners and People of Influence
Find out who the key influencers in your industry are and start interacting with them. It’s a super-effective way to get more exposure, by simply following and sharing their content on Twitter and LinkedIn.
How does it work? Well it’s all about reciprocation. If you’re sharing and promoting their content, the powers that be will be more likely to respond in kind. The result is your brand being exposed to their humongous followers and all you’ve invested is a bit of your time. Check out Daniel Priestley and his book, “Key Person of Influence” – it’s jam-packed with goodies; including a whole section about ‘partners’.
A great examples are Surveying with Robert (who sells Trimble equipment and has become a world wide name within the Survey Profession for his brutal honesty) or Lee Landman (Surveyor in South Africa who has over 10,000 followers and a true Trimble advocate)
TOP TIP: A little bit of flattery will get you everywhere. Appreciate your influencers work/opinion/prestigious status etc. – everyone loves a compliment!
4. Create Valuable Content
‘Content’ is a bit of a marketing buzz-word right now, for the simple fact that it’s a powerful marketing tool (if done right). Get a blog set up on your website and create engaging posts that reel your customers in to create a following. Focus on two or three potential buyers (Buyer Personas) and address their goals and pain-points with super-valuable posts that leave them wanting more.
This KissMetrics post gives top tips on creating a killer content strategy, including blogging, ebooks, webinars and videos.
TOP TIP: Focus on the buyer persona, create a topic list that is broad, but not too wide-reaching that it becomes diluted. Always keep your buyer personas in mind. Create content that answers specific goals and pain points.
5. Analyse Your Efforts!
Don’t forget to take a breath to analyse how your efforts are paying off. If you don’t, you risk just blindly ploughing on with no real understanding of which bits are working and which aren’t doing anything for your business.
TOP TIP: Use media monitoring tools to analyse engagement levels. Google Analytics is a no-frills solution that offers a wealth of insights into your marketing efforts and it’s pretty user-friendly at the same time.
Remember, your startup needs a marketing boost to give it the exposure it needs (and deserves). In this day and age, resting on your laurels just isn’t an option. You need to get focused, get active and get up to speed with marketing; I promise, your competitors will be.
Fancy getting tips on a regular basis? Sign up to GOT BALLs for more juicy tips!