Killer Marketing Plans for Startups


Need a plan and some advice for marketing your startup?

Hit the ground running with digital marketing help from MercDigital.

Finally taking that step to launch yourself into the business world can be exhilarating! Marketing a startup takes time and commitment. When you’re starting from scratch, you’re usually limited in the most important marketing resources – time, money, and experience. 

These helpful marketing tips will give you a competitive edge so that you can gain the biggest advantage from every effort.

 1. Make a Roadmap with Flexible End Goals

It might be tempting to try and define your end goal for your startup. But why limit yourself? The beginning of your journey is not the time to put blinkers on. While an objective and a goal-plan are essential, try not to be too focused on a make-or-break end goal.

Set yourself a path for growth with benchmarks to meet that are flexible enough to cope with market changes and your own personal growth as you become more experienced. Use the insights you gain from your customers and mentors to revise your plans and stretch your goals as your business evolves. Even established businesses go through periods of transformation. Don’t be afraid to let go of a strategy if you find another is more successful!  

“I learned a lesson from watching other companies who held onto things too long. If you look at the history of companies that have succeeded and the ones that have failed, there’s a pretty clear pattern that the ones that have succeeded typically morph every couple of years into something new. And that change is fairly uncomfortable.”

Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram.

2. Build your Brand with a Consistent Message

While you need to leave yourself room to adjust as your brand matures, it’s essential that you market yourself in a way that is authentic. Find your voice. Define your style. Make sure your team is onboard with your brand message. Write it down on a piece of paper and sticky-tape it somewhere prominent. This is you! This is what you want to bring to the world. Every decision you make from the font on your website, to your product design, and the terms of service in your contracts has to stay true to your brand and message.


3. Identify and Define your Audience.

You might have the best idea of the 21st century. You might have designed a product or a service that has you so fired up you can barely sleep at night! But do you have customers? Who might be interested in your amazing idea or product? What’s the best way to reach out to that market?

It takes market research to correctly identify the best target demographics for a startup. And then it takes some out-of-the-box thinking to find ways to capture their interest and get your message out there. You need to be able to relate to your audience, engage with them, communicate your ideas, get feedback, and establish yourself as an authority within your market niche.

It’s also important that you understand the customer lifetime value that each new client brings to your business and target your market accordingly. 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of customers! Your startup’s success depends on your ability to deliver targeted content to the segment of your market who are spending the most money on your brand.

4. Create Content Based on Keyword Research

With a defined brand message and audience, it’s time to define your keywords. What would your audience type into Google to find your products or service? Start with a series of core phrases and specific keywords that are based on your core value proposition. Use these keywords to shape your primary online content and website design.

Create additional content (like blog articles or videos) based on a range of secondary keywords that encompass your products and brand message. Use Google Ad’s Keyword Planner to help find the right keywords for your business and gain insights into consumer search behavior.

5. Get Social

Social Media has the power to make or break your startup. Whether you want it to or not, social media will speak for your company. Harness the power of real-time audience engagement by spreading your message across the right channels. Make the most out of social media by creating buzz around your brand.

Your individual brand message and your choice of target audience will determine the most influential social media channel for your startup. The different social media channels each support a different market and have a different vibe when it comes to the way you will interact with your potential customers. It’s likely that you will need to promote your startup on more than one channel with your marketing strategy customized to suit each social media style.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the most popular social media platforms for launching startups. Creating and sharing original content and encouraging fan interaction is the fastest way to grow your brand’s online presence.

6. Nurture your Customers

Building trust and credibility is essential for your startup to succeed.

The way you nurture your happy customers and reward their trust in your brand will shape your future interactions. Equally, the way you respond to negative feedback will have a huge impact on your reputation and your brand. Negative reviews offer you the chance to either reflect upon your product and make improvements, or to re-state your brand message. The world is watching! And potential future customers will be reading. Learn how to turn negative feedback into an opportunity to reach your target audience. Brand mention monitoring and hands-on reputation management is essential right from the start.

8. Use Actionable Metrics

Don’t be sucked in by vanity metrics, like pageviews or social media followers. Instead, focus on actionable metrics, like downloads or click-through rate. Your start-up’s success relies upon solid analytics and data-backed spending.

Vanity metrics are not tied to genuine growth. Determine what the key indicators of growth and success are for your business and then seek to optimize them. Right from launch you should be tracking the primary conversion rates such as customer sign-ups, email subscriptions, content downloads, and completed sales. Assigning values to each goal completion will give you a more accurate picture of your overall business performance.
Use analytics to test, measure, reflect and refine your campaigns to ensure optimal performance.

“If you’re a business, the takeaway is that sharing without analytics is essentially useless, that engagement is not as valuable as insight, and that seeing things in context is more important than being popular.”

– Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter.

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