Startup companies typically have voracious costs, in all areas, not solely marketing. However, the startup companies which tend to win funding are those which are able to produce measurable results on shoestring budgets. This article specifically highlights suggested ways startup companies might creatively and inexpensively generate significant results.
We are always reading about or hearing about the individuals who start up a company in a garage with a simple idea, and somehow transition to being massive software or technology giants. Yet, we rarely hear how they do it. The common misconception is that they spend enormous amounts of money on expensive marketing techniques. On the contrary, most of these entrepreneurs are very clever and shrewd with their limited amount of dollars. This fiscal responsibility, coupled with their innovative products and ideas, can often lead to the awards of funds from investors, over competitors. Startup companies can further cement their chances of obtaining investment funds by generating the following results:
- Curiosity in their products, ideas, and company
- Confidence in their leadership team
- Belief in the go-to-market strategy
In the 21st Century, the Internet and, in particular, social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook can play a pivotal role in the visibility and success of a startup company. But how does an entrepreneur drive traffic to their pages and feeds? This brings us to our next point, and a very critical one, at that: inbound marketing!
Inbound Marketing Is CRITICAL!
Make no mistake about it: Inbound marketing IS the key. The following vital characteristics are as follows:
- Grab the attention of your target market
- Convert that attention into solid leads
- Evolve those leads into paying customers
- Keep those customers for life
The effectiveness and genius of a successful inbound marketing plan is that, as opposed to traditional methods of advertising and marketing, it does not attempt a “shot gun” approach in which the message is sent to the world, hoping to capture the attention of a few. These antiquated techniques can be very costly. Instead, a true inbound marketing campaign focuses on a select target market, i.e., the demographics most suited for the startup company’s products or services. Many investors view these strategies as signs of maturity on the part(s) of the entrepreneur(s) and make their companies more attractive to them.
Marketing And Sales ARE Different, AND It Matters!
One of the easiest traps that young leadership teams fall into is to hyper-focus on sales revenue, as opposed to visibility and adoption rates. Most companies fail to adopt a true marketing campaign, and then scratch their heads when revenues are not achieved or do not grow. An ideal marketing campaign will be designed around attracting strong, relevant leads, which can seamlessly grow into an initial customer base. This gives a company the “most bang for the buck” and will typically lead to an efficient, successful sales team.
Content Is Marketing’s Lifeblood
A startup company can not produce meaningful marketing results if it does not have “grabbing” or relevant content pervading its web and social media presences. Without interesting or timely content, there will be no true visibility. The most successful companies have utilized all sources of content, not settling with just one or two methods. Below are a few methods which have consistently worked well for many companies:
- Aggressive self-promotion via LinkedIn. Many investors use LinkedIn as a primary tool for “sizing up” potential entrepreneurs. Sayings such as “fake it until you make it” or “assume the close” were never more relevant than on LinkedIn. Many entrepreneurs who present themselves as subject matter experts or knowledge gurus have attracted quite a following and drawn much-needed positive attention to themselves.
- A company’s online presence must mirror the same tone present when leads and clients interact with the company directly at later dates.
- An aura of Thought Leadership and Subject Matter Expertise can and should expand far beyond merely LinkedIn. The Internet is full of so many forums and mediums. The more aggressive that a company’s leadership team is within their space, the more that potential customers and investors and partners will tend to flock toward them.
- One of the trickiest, yet most vital part of ensuring content is visible is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Certain keywords in a blog or on a web home page can catch the attention in a Google or Bing search. The key, though, is not only to show up in a search, but to show up near or even at the top. This is an ever-changing science, and entire careers are made out of this aspect of content marketing.
Trade shows and industry events can be both money pits and traps for the startup company. A lot of costs are quickly accrued and enormous amounts of time are consumed in this endeavour. Traditionally, entrepreneurs and leaders have very little to show for it afterwards. They may even miss their target markets completely. A far wiser use of funds is to channel them into a strong online presence.
How To Give Investors What THEY Want And Need
Thousands of startup companies have made the mistake of showing investors their projected growths and their projected successes, based on any number of factors. What an investor truly wants to see is existing, tangible success, whether it is a product which “wows” them, or a small, loyal, passionate customer base. And if a leadership team has proven evidence of shrewd and frugal spending, that makes them an even more viable candidate for investment.
Above, we have detailed the “what” and the “why.” If you are interested in learning the “how” behind creating an effective marketing campaign on a shoestring budget, then it is time to download our FREE eBook and learn some industry expert secrets.