It’s an interesting time for startups the world over. Thanks to rapidly advancing technology and the internet, it has never been easier to launch a lean company. On the other hand, there are so many new companies coming in (and out of existence) daily that it’s hard to stand out.
Techstartups estimates as many as 305 million startups are founded each year. However, as many as 90% of startups never make it. One of the toughest challenges facing tech startups is growing brand awareness in the sea of competitors. That’s why it’s so crucial to take marketing as a serious part of your business from day one.
However, marketing a startup takes a slightly different approach. In all likelihood, cash and human resources are limited. You probably also don’t yet have as many industry connections as more experienced companies.
To help you succeed, we’re offering up these tips that will help you run a lean, mean tech startup marketing campaign.
Make sure you have an MVP at the ready
There’s a lot of debate about whether startups should focus on an MVP or not. From a marketing perspective, and MVP can be an incredibly effective tool.
An MVP allows you to actually backup all your big talk with a finished product. Even if it is in its early stages. With so much bluster and overselling in the startup business, it’s something that can really foster trust and respect for your brand.
Of course, you’ll make the call on how viable it is to produce an MVP in the startup stage. The average cost of developing an app can be as much as $25,000 per month. If you have that kind of capital, it’s something your marketing team will definitely thank you for.
Establish yourself with guest posting
Guest posting has been around for some time. Despite a bad rap, it’s stuck around and proven itself an indispensable marketing tool. Basically, you create content that you publish on sites other than your blog. These can be general content communities like Medium or industry-specific blogs or news publications.
It’s a great opportunity to network with other industry players and to get exposure to fresh audiences. If you get published on high-authority platforms, you’ll build your brand reputation and become an important voice in the industry.
Having industry influencers or experts write a guest post for your blog can have the same effect.
If you feel you don’t have the resources to take on guest posting yourself, guest posting services can be a cost-effective solution for startups. Taking into consideration its own experience guest posting service Luckyposting.com shares useful guides on how to hold the process successfully.
Leverage your own talent
The underlying talent among your staff is what drives your startup and makes it possible. Why not leverage that in your marketing campaign? After all, who can give a more intimate account of your brand or knows your product better than your employees?
People love being able to get up close and personal with a brand. Giving your employees a voice puts a face on your company and gives consumers someone to cheer for. It can also help to distinguish you from larger, more established but less personable brands.
It can be as easy as involving your employees when coming up with marketing or content ideas. If any of them are skilled writers, and willing, publishing insightful content from your employees can have amazing potential, especially as guest posts.
Furthermore, encourage your employees to share your brand on their social media, blogs, etc. This also helps to put a face to your company and to increase your exposure.
Promote your content across channels
It’s not good enough to rely on people finding your content, you need to be proactive by getting it out there as much as possible. Guest posting is one effective way to do that, but there are many others.
Every time you create marketing material, share it on as many channels or forums as you have a presence on. You can also share it on Reddit, industry-specific forums, or even on Quora answers.
Where appropriate, repurpose content to be most effective on that platform. For example, turn a how-to guide into a YouTube tutorial or add more images for an Instagram post. Repurposing content is way more efficient than running these channels separately.
Take advantage of automated tools
At the critical startup stage, it’s usually all hands on deck. While some marketing functions will require human capital or a personal touch, others can easily, and cheaply be automated. When things get hectic, automation can help you keep hitting your marketing targets.
Not only will automation reduce your marketing workload and free up time, but it can scale your efforts. Sending one or two personalized emails a day to highly valuable prospects or business-critical clients is one thing. Doing the same for your entire email list is another.
Email is the most obvious candidate for automation. However, it’s easy to forget that customer interaction is also a critical marketing process. This, and other business/marketing functions, can be automated using CRM (client relationship management) software.
Tell your story and educate your consumers
In order to convince people to give you their hard-earned money, they need to know exactly what it is you do. What problem do you solve? How do you solve it? Why do you want to be the one that solves it? Why are you the best option to do so?
Although clear website copy may answer some of these questions, you are limited by how much you can say.
A blog will give you the necessary real estate to properly explain your product or service. Customers who aren’t that technically inclined can slowly learn about your company and product by being regular readers. Frequent updates on the life of the company will also go a long way. Research shows people are more interested to learn about a product or service through content rather than ads.
However, you should also have a whitepaper explaining your vision and underlying technology/systems in a more formalized way. One industry where this so so crucial is the cryptocurrency industry which is technical by nature. For more savvy consumers, investors, and other industry professionals, this will show off your know-how and foster trust in your project.
Take the future by the horns
You’ve got an idea that will change the world, or at least your industry. You’ve got the talent. You’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive. Don’t let your startup sink because of a lack of exposure.
If you employ a marketing strategy the right way from the very beginning, it will become second nature. As you can see, it also doesn’t have to drain your resources or require a significant investment. However, the payoffs are very real.