One of the main successes of a marketing plan for a startup rests on its approach to marketing. Unfortunately, there are so many ways to implement a marketing plan and so little time to capture the attention, let alone the trust of your ideal audience. So remember, it’s all in the planning! You want to make sure that you’ve got your marketing strategy for a startup in line because you’ll be changing it a few times as you grow. In this article, we will present a tried-and-tested approach that is typically rolled out by a step-by-step process over 18 months. We want to help you with your dedicated marketing plan so that your startup can skyrocket and grow in the right direction.
Step 1: Strategically Position Business (the foundation)
Every successful startup launch program deploys strategic positioning to include the early adopters. Positioning determines the direction you will be traveling for at least a year. It’s important to make sure you’re on the right path.
To start, try defining the category within which your product/service exists and who will benefit from it. You want to truly understand who your audience is and not just what you might think it is. This is an important part of your startup marketing strategy. You want to stay as customer-focused as possible. Map out your ideal customer’s segments such as their pains, gains, and challenges. When you are able to work with your small team of dedicated employee’s that handle marketing or sales, then you can craft the right Value Proposition for each audience.
A great resource for this is the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas, along with the Value Proposition Design Book by the folks at Strategyzer (Alan Smith, Alexander Osterwalder, Gregory Bernarda, Trish Papadakos, and Yves Pigneur). This book will help guide you in understanding what it takes to strategically position yourself for success. Make sure you walk out of step 1 with a happy face because now you understand you know who you are truly catering toward for your business.
Step 2: Develop a Memorable Brand (the personification)
Branding is more important than ever before in this marketing-saturated world we currently live in. When developing a memorable brand, make sure you are strategizing through your roots. Really showcase where your brand is coming from and what they are focusing on. Outline why your startup exists, what’s the purpose, and why does it work. You should already be halfway there because of step 1.
After many hours of research and trial-and-error, you should walk out with a few examples you are happy with. You want your brand name, URL and website to all match the same band name.
You want to make your brand memorable, always keep that in mind. If your brand is memorable, it’s obvious how far your brand could possibly go. So take up those extra hours in your day and make sure you walk out with something you are truly happy with.
Step 3: Set up a Web Presence (the campaign headquarters)
In this digital age of social media and marketing, your website presence and startup marketing plan are more crucial and more complicated than it ever has been. Web presence no longer requires having just a functional website; you need a sophisticated website that performs multiple roles. Think of your website as a home base for your ideal customers rather than a simple showcase of useless information. This should be the hub of your startup marketing strategy.
Adding components to your website only increases the likelihood of reaching your potential audience, leading today’s marketers to implement content-rich and customer-centered written content. You want to utilize social media with a dynamic Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter page at a minimum for all your content to be showcased to readers throughout the world. You’ll be surprised at how many people that are business decision-makers are on social media. Depending on the business you’re in, some also develop their own Web apps, Facebook apps, iPhone apps and more, but all carry social platforms also and utilize their website to the fullest potential.
Having a web presence will get your website seen above your competitors and is crucial for your startup marketing plan. Most who don’t embrace change will fall behind in the technology race. With businesses switching to a digital presence now, it’s only a matter of time till your digital presence will need an uplift, but that’s down the road.
Quick Tip: Get your web presence correct before you launch or relaunch! Design of a business or website is super important now, more than ever, and communicates and serves as eye candy. What will make your website flourish is content and resources? Site content should be embedded with the most relevant SEO keywords and clear visual elements. Search Engine Optimization is your key to getting your content seen by your ideal customers. With the never-ending onslaught of mobile devices, be sure that your website is fully responsive.
Step 4: Build an Inbound Strategy (the crowd-pleasing act)
Few businesses these days can get by without successful written content. Quality content is the core of a modern marketing strategy for a startup. It should reinforce the company’s strategy and brand purpose, promote its product/service category, define credentials, build trust, and show how they are the thought leaders of this industry. The promotion of written content on social media is critical to getting the most mileage out of your piece
Your startup’s blog is your marketing frontman. Your startup’s blog section of the website should be set up properly, designed professionally, and managed well. Thoughtful content strategies need to be developed, writers appointed, guest programs implemented and content carefully planned and produced. You can even do infographics, video’s and testimonials as content, but written content is always one of the most effective forms in reaching your ideal customers.
Don’t forget to add Call-to-Action’s at the end of your written content pieces. You want your reader to want more information about whatever their challenges consist of and how your solutions could be the answer.
Videos and Guerrilla Marketing
Both B2B or B2C startups can gain a lot by implementing video and/or guerrilla marketing programs in the right way. These tactics can increase awareness and word-of-mouth. They should be strategically produced and put into play, without going overboard. Doing so too fast or the wrong way can cause this method to backfire for your business.
Videos and guerrilla activities rely on original ideas, content, relevance, and production. Some of the highest viewed videos cost next to nothing to produce. Get creative and remember that good humor almost always works.
SEO and Link-building
SEO and link-building initiatives must be applied to ensure that your website, blog, and social media marketing activities have a strong technical infrastructure. This ensures that your content is effectively processed by search engines for maximum exposure to your audience.
A smart link-spreading and link-baiting strategy should be closely orchestrated with the digital PR and social media marketing program. Keywords are important. Research them, develop them, expand upon them, and let them help drive your content with your startup marketing strategy.
Quick Tip: Do whatever you can to receive the proper research and strategy in place. Starting to implement content without proper direction will cost you lost time, energy, and money. Working with a certified Inbound Marketing group (like ourselves) will allow you to create these strategies for a wide range of clientele, and to expedite the process and get the components in place for successful content. It typically takes a whole team to finish the process of content marketing for a business of any size.
Once you’ve established your startup’s brand and are creating steady content for your potential customers, you’re in a better position to develop an effective Outbound Marketing (advertising) program.
Step 5: Build with The Right Outbound Strategy
Online Advertising (PPC)
When the previous steps are put in place, you’ve now created a strong and cost-effective launch program for your startup’s marketing. Once you implement this and begin running the program, be ready to always update your current strategy and enhance it. This is what this step is all about – kicking off an online Outbound (advertising) program. Outbound has generally been annoying with customers in this digital age and is hard to measure. With the right outbound efforts, make sure you guide the ideal customer to read your content.
A Google AdWords program (pay-per-click) is typically the best place to start. If you harness it well, it can be cost-effective, flexible, and highly scalable. Other search engine ad networks like Yahoo/Bing, Facebook Ads, and other strategic banner campaigns should also be considered. Facebook and LinkedIn ads are very useful for social media outbound marketing efforts.
Public Relations has changed a lot over the years, and like everything, it’s gone digital. To really stand out as a business, you need to be even more strategic than previous businesses were in the past.
Once your brand and service are well-established it becomes effective to develop PR initiatives to strategically drive events, high profile awareness campaigns with big media, and high impact events. This allows you to build brand recognition with the right audiences. Putting your web presence and content in place helps make this even more impactful, as people can stay engaged with your brand.
Taking advantage of exposure to audiences in relevant media, critical conferences, and eventually, radio and TV can offer you valuable visibility when appropriate. The only setback with Television is the cost factor for the time you’re given.
Campaigns that are crowdsourced have become another tool in the social marketing toolkit. Both early-stage startups and large companies are tapping into the power of people for contest-based campaign ideas as well as viral content marketing development.
You can also use crowdsourcing for cost-business development, market research, opinion gathering, customer service support, and more.
Speaking and Briefing
After your reputation and awareness have been established, a targeted speaking and analyst/media briefing program should be created to ensure that your brand stays top-of-mind and is relevant. Try out speaking at other conferences within the same industry, you’ll be surprised at how many like-minded individuals you could benefit from. You might find out that your startup marketing plan might be missing a few things here and there.
The Big Takeaway
Always remember, a well-developed business model, brand, web presence, as well as content and marketing strategy for a startup are the basis for making an impact on your overall direction of the business.
The steps we covered detail the proven order that successful startups take as they mature into steady businesses. Following this marketing plan for a startup growth when launching your startup (after Series A/B funding) will help ensure the best possible opportunity for success.
If you want to learn more about how to leverage the best marketing plan for a startup, feel free to grab our complimentary eBook: The Ultimate Startup Marketing QuickStart Guide for Startups with Series A or B Funding.
If you have any questions about how to get started with an Inbound Strategy to grow your startup, don’t be shy, reserve a time to speak with us today!
We’re here to help!