Starting up a business is an enormous endeavour that takes a lot of time, effort and grit. There will be inevitable obstacles and challenges along the way so without a structured approach and carefully planned strategies, most startups fail within the first year.
The first step is preparation and creating a good business plan. This document presents the basis of every business even before its launch. It outlines the company structure, the product/service it offers, the target market, basic goals and objectives, strategies how to achieve them, ways of dealing with changing trends in the future and the expected budget to cover all the costs of running a business.
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The marketing strategy is an essential element of planning. Even if you have the greatest product ever, if you don’t advertise it properly, the product on its own simply won’t be enough. The same can be said vice versa – there is no amount of excellent marketing that can sell a product of poor quality. Therefore, a good marketing campaign must be one of the priorities for any startup.
Unfortunately, it all comes down to money. Initial costs of starting a business are always huge, there are debts and loans to pay back and it’s challenging to allocate the resources. Your budget will dictate your marketing strategy and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all marketing recipe. Therefore you must create one that works for you best. It may seem unachievable, but there are ways to do it by being resourceful, creative and making use of both offline and online marketing opportunities.
However, before you engage in creating your marketing strategies, there are two very important aspects to cover – make sure you have a strong brand identity and a clearly defined target market.
Without a strong brand identity, you can’t have a strong business. Your brand represents you, as well as your values and principles. It’s your strongest asset so it needs to stand out from the rest. If you’re struggling with the logo, design, originality and style, turn to existing examples for inspiration, such as the unique industrial design in Melbourne, or any other that can entice your imagination.
Also, be sure to narrow down your target market since you can’t cater to everyone’s needs and if you try, it will simply scatter your marketing efforts too much. Be focused on a specific target group, and find a suitable approach and platform to deliver what they need.
Online marketing strategies
Digital marketing is on the rapid rise and it offers numerous opportunities to spread the word and raise your brand awareness. Here are some of them:
- An active online presence: it’s not only imperative for your online success to have your own website, but your consistent presence is what also counts. You need to update regularly, post relevant documents and publish reports or video materials after attending local events or meetings. It’s then easily shared among participants, organisers and website visitors. Also, open a channel of communication with your customers and deal personally with their questions and complaints.
- Social media marketing: this gives you enormous exposure, direct interaction with existing and potential customers, improves search rankings and generates more leads. However, you need a balanced mix so choose the right marketing channel.
- SEO: this is a must for every startup business, but it’s also a big challenge. It’s worth investing in it as it will increase traffic to your website, build trust and a good reputation.
- Influencer marketing: this strategy is cheaper than traditional marketing to which many consumers have become immune. It focuses on influential people in the industry rather than the target market as a whole, and it’s a great way to build trust in your consumers since the authenticity of influencers is what appeals to them the most.
Offline marketing strategies
Even though digital marketing is powerful, offline marketing still plays an important part in raising your brand awareness and exposure. Old school never dies and here are some effective ways of undertaking it:
- Printed material: here, the options are countless and many of them are quite cheap, such as distributing business cards at social and business events, printing flyers, leaflets and posters. Product brochures come in handy when meeting new clients and contractors. Press releases are great to advertise new events in your company.
- Attending and eventually hosting events: you start small by making guest appearances on local radio shows, attending fairs and local meetings, volunteering at benefits and move onto eventually hosting your own events or even organising webinars for a larger brand’s audience if your audiences overlap, so it’s a form of a cross-promotion or partnership – a win-win situation for both sides.
Building a startup is a continual process of fighting the competition, learning from your mistakes and re-inventing yourself. With the right choice of strategies and the right marketing tools, you can excel in your field.
My name is Alex Williams. I am a journalism graduate and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to the wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog | Facebook | Twitter