Standing out from the crowd can be tough for a start-up. With so many competitors springing up all the time, you’re at risk at being drowned out by all that noise. But don’t let yourself be discouraged — there are ways to be seen and heard by your target audience.
Put these strategies to good use and you won’t go far wrong…
1. Try Google’s Adopt a Start-Up programme
The Adopt a Start-Up programme is all about accelerating the growth of promising Irish start-ups, with digital consultants lending their expertise on getting the most out of the web. You receive 12 weeks of intensive tutoring, including exclusive lectures and workshops where you’ll be put in contact with people with the same high level of drive and ambition that you possess — and what’s more, the best start-up will walk away with €5,000 in prize money at the end!
2. Free trials
Use the freemium model, where you give customers a glimpse of the power of your tools with the promise of even more if they pay to unlock valuable features. Just look at the free products that HubSpot provide, which help marketing and sales departments collaborate better and grow leads. You can find 12 of their free resources here.
3. Know your product persona
You need a crystal clear idea of what your product persona is before you can construct an effective marketing strategy. Base your decisions on reliable data about your prospective customers, look at:
- where you can find them,
- what do they want
- and how do they like to get it?
And if you offer multiple products or services, you’ll probably need to have multiple product personas as well.
4. Web personalisation
The homepage is dead — this is an irrefutable fact. In 2015 Forbes discussed how “at the New York Times, homepage traffic has declined more than 50% in the last two years, according to an insider report obtained by Buzzfeed.” Focusing your efforts on creating a beautiful homepage is not where your time should be spent. Instead you should be creating unique landing pages that are optimised to target the user’s search query. Web personalisation allows you to get closer to a global maximum, increase lead quality, and support account-based marketing.
5. Invite business leaders to speak publicly
Getting CEOs and other business leaders to speak at events or on panels around topics linked to your business, service or values, allows you to connect and make positive associations in the minds of your target audience. Or another effective way to do this (and more affordable too) is to get a spot on a panel or take part as a guest speaker yourself, that way you don’t have to fund and organise the event itself but you’ll still gain exposure. And you can also utilise this exposure on your social channels by plugging the event and tagging the speakers / companies involved to reach a new and broader audience and have them do the same.
6. Marketing the company through thought leadership and alignment
If you work hard to establish yourself as a leading authority and visionary in your industry, customers will flock to you as their most trusted provider. You can do this by investing time in building a blog and producing quality content that will be of value to your target market. Aim to produce at least one piece of content per week and cap it at around 2,000 words. Whilst this may seem like a lot, there are ways to ease the load; for instance, if you’re working as part of a team you can assign a week to each member meaning you will only have to produce an article once every few weeks (ideally). Or perhaps you’re a one- man/woman show, in which case you can have guest writers from other companies get involved and write a piece of content for your blog as a way to promote themselves or their business in return.
Another avenue to really help brand yourself as thought leaders is through high quality newsletters. Many companies feel allergic to the idea of producing a ‘salesy’ or ‘spammy’ newsletter and fear it will only turn potential customers away. But after dedicating the time to creating quality content for your blog it only makes sense to ensure that your content is in fact seen, and by the right people! Set up a Mailchimp account and start collecting emails for your mailing list. It’s free, it’s easy to use and it has opt-in / opt-out options so only your true fans will follow you and won’t see your content as any form of spam (unless you make it that way). Begin small and aim to create one beautifully designed, well thought-out newsletter per month and go from there.
7. Guest blogging or contributing a column in relevant publications
This goes a long way towards reinforcing your status as a thought leader, demonstrating that you’re preeminent in your field. The benefits to guest blogging are endless; you will increase exposure for your brand, improve your website’s SEO & overall traffic by landing backlinks (this is incredibly effective), you’ll gain referral traffic from a new audience via a new platform and you will also form relationships with bloggers and brands along the way – winner winner chicken dinner!
8. Lead an industry case study relevant to helping or educating your industry
A great case study will always drive business, since it demonstrates that your business really does work and that you operate using up-to-date information. If a prospective client has misgivings about working with you, an industry case study will go a long way towards putting their mind at ease.
9. Turn your current clients into brand advocates
Identify which of your customers were most satisfied with your service by asking them to rate their experience on a scale of 1-10 — those who give you 9 or 10 are your potential advocates. Offer these people an exclusive personalised package just for them in exchange for brand advocacy, if they loved your services as much as they originally claimed then they should jump at the opportunity.
As every start-up or small business owner knows, your SEO is an incredibly vital part of your overall marketing and business strategy. What we also know, is that it’s not a simple process, in fact it’s a bit of a minefield! Here are a few simple to use tools that will do the heavy lifting for you!
Image source / Huffington Post