This past week, Provo was overrun with entrepreneurs attending StartFest. It was awesome for us here at Wallaroo to see so many business owners with so many great ideas all in one place. During the week, we hosted a number of different workshops and presentations including one on how to market your startup with our Director of PR and Social Media Strategy, Adam Durfee. Many people have asked for his presentation or for tips on how to market their startup, so we’ve included some of the key points and slides below.
If you’re trying to build a startup company, chances are, you feel completely overwhelmed. Where do you start? What is most important? What fits in the budget? How can your idea turn into a career? Start with these seven points, chronologically if you’d like, to try and help give you a map to follow with your startup.
One of the most common mistakes startup owners make is believing that everyone wants to buy into their product or service. While that kind of brand penetration is obviously the ultimate goal, funding a marketing campaign to reach “everyone” is probably not in your budget. Instead, focus on defining a very specific audience. Who absolutely cannot live without your product or service once they discover its existence? Learn their demographics, behaviors, and complete a total profile of your target audience that will define your future marketing efforts. To learn more about targeting an audience, read this article on getting to know your audience.
Line 1: plan to spend some money here.
There are plenty of times startups need to be careful with spending, but if your website doesn’t give the professional, polished image of a serious business with a serious product, then you can’t expect an audience or customers to take you seriously. Take some time to sit down with a graphic design team and a programming team to lay out your website, explain what the goal of the site will be and how it needs to function. New to the world of design? No worries, we have some tips for non-designers!
Based off of your target market’s search habits, develop a list of keywords and phrases to use in optimizing the back-end of your site. Leverage free tools likes Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner and Trends tools. Focus future written content and landing pages around these phrases.
Please be careful here not to get scammed! SEO is a rapidly changing industry and clients come to Wallaroo Media all of the time in need of help because some “SEO guy” ruined their site. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Refer back to your target market (Do you see a trend here?). Which of the hundreds of social media platforms do they use regularly? Identify a few and then become an expert in those platforms. Optimize profiles, join conversations, be involved with where your market congregates socially and you can find success in this sphere. Utilize a good posting strategy too. Social media isn’t just about selling; it’s about relationships. Spend 90% of your time adding value to the market, the industry and your audience and only 10% on promoting yourself and your own products and services. If you’re skeptical about the world of social media, read this social media case study.
What does your target market read and share online? If you’re not sure, BuzzSumo is a great place to start. Remember, it’s not always about doing something new, just doing something better. Looking at what your most successful online competitors are doing can give you a good idea. Set a regular schedule for posting new content to your blog, plan out a variety of content types (video, infographics, articles) and topics and stick to your schedule. Sometimes new business owners have a hard time coming up with fresh ideas, jump to this article for some amazing content inspiration.
The name of the game here is publicity. Who speaks to your target market? Where do they congregate online? The idea here is to get someone else to share with your target market a few things about your startup. Start by finding blogs, podcasts, writers, forums, subreddits, etc. where your target market gathers and make a plan to get yourself in there as well.
Be advised though, sometimes, this does require some out-of-pocket-expenses. Most of the time, major online influencers blog, podcast, vlog, etc. for a living and will often require compensation for sharing a message. Be prepared to provide free products, service subscriptions or pay cash for many types of digital PR placements.
Pay per click (PPC) ads are a great way to gain visibility right away, but you need to be thoughtful about how you approach this. Dumping thousands of dollars per month into advertisements that will display on a long list of vaguely related keywords will probably be a waste of thousands of dollars. Test multiple ads on multiple targeted keywords and chop what isn’t working. If Adwords aren’t doing themselves justice, consider social advertising, Facebook and Twitter have great advertising platforms. Outbrain and LinkedIn can be alternative sources of online ad spend as well.
Marketing a startup takes a lot of work, and ultimately you have to decide on the right marketing plan and budget for you. Don’t be afraid to try different tools though and if you have questions, need help, or want advice, please contact us! We love startups and are more than happy to chat with you about marketing yours.
CEO + Founder