5 Organic Marketing Activities to Kickstart Your Startup
When launching their business, entrepreneurs get very excited at the prospects of finding clients, but also anxious about how to do it. While there are many priorities for them in terms of business operations, building up the right teams, or maintaining their cash flow, organic marketing isn’t one that should be neglected or postponed.
Do you remember when in the past all that was needed for new businesses was to hang up their ‘We’re Open’ sign on the building and wait for customers to come running in? No? This is because it was never the case.
Setting up a business and not marketing it is the same as posting on an Instagram account with zero followers. The posts might be great, but no one will see them. The same goes for startups. The product or service might be amazing, but nobody will know about it without marketing.
What do entrepreneurs need to do when starting marketing for their startup?
First things first: when thinking about starting marketing activities for their startup business, entrepreneurs need to know this:
Marketing for a startup is different to marketing for an established business.
Why? Because a startup, by its definition, doesn’t have a well-known name, an authority, or a community it can build upon for creating its sales funnel. It’s just starting up.
How to use marketing in the right way for startups?
Keeping in mind that we are living in a digital world, the right way to use marketing for a startup is by combining process with agility. Here are 5 steps that are essential when doing marketing for startups:
Market research is often an undervalued marketing activity. Without research, the foundations of the marketing strategy might be built into a wrong, or inconsistent direction, not aligned with the business objectives.
Before launching into marketing campaigns, startups need to cover insightful research that must include:
a) An assessment of the startups’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
Yes, we’re talking about SWOT analysis. It doesn’t matter how evolved marketing is nowadays, SWOT analysis will never be outdated. This analysis will help entrepreneurs define their unique selling proposition, understand what specific aspects of their business need improvements, and how to overcome threats, while building on opportunities.
b) Digital Deep Dive
To step more in the digital era, a digital deep dive is the next step to take. This will provide insights into the startup's digital presence, or what needs to be done to build one that reflects its brand personality.
Things to cover in the Digital Deep Dive include:
- Website dive (domain of authority (DA), site speed, mobile friendliness or user experience)
- Technical SEO (check the on page SEO, metadata, make sure the Analytics and Google Search console are set up, look at the mobile friendliness, etc.)
- Blog dive (what content you should be creating for your targeted audience)
- Social Media dive (are you on the platforms where your target audience are?)
- Newsletter dive (do you have a sign up form, and are you creating emails for your members)
- Keywords (define the high popularity keywords, as well as those specific, or topical for your industry)
c) A clear understanding of the startup’s target audience
To understand who the targeted audience, or target market for a startup is, there must be specific defined groups of potential buyers of the product / service that the startup is selling. When defining the potential buyers, several aspects should be considered: demographics, location, income or lifestyle.
For better understanding the different segments within the identified market, it is required to create several persona cards representative for these potential market segments. The persona cards should describe a fictional character, with identifiable demographics, locations, income, lifestyle, and role. Moreover, persona cards should also indicate the needs and wants, and current pain points, to which the startup’s product or service will provide a solution.
d) An analysis of the competitive environment
Knowing the main competitors, understanding their marketing strategies, how they promote their brands, where (on what channels) and what type of content they cover is essential before you start your own marketing activities. Using tools like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner is recommended, in order to understand competitors’ domain of authority (DA) scores, the keywords they’re using, but also the content they cover.
2) Promoting your startup
Once the research is done, it’s time to be bold and start promoting the startup everywhere it’s relevant in terms of brand building and lead discovery. Here are some main digital points to consider.
Having a website is mandatory, as this is how people can discover your startup, or it’s where you’ll send potential leads and customers to view your products or services. A good interface, an intuitive user experience, and relevant blogs that naturally link to product pages are things to consider at this step.
b) Google My Business
Not many companies claim their Google My Business (GMB) profile, although it is an excellent platform to promote a business for free. GMB is particularly useful for local searches, showing businesses what users are looking for in their location. The more reviews a business has, the greater the chances to pop up on users’ mobile phone among the top results when they initiate a search.
c) Other directories
Listing your startup in other directories, especially industry-specific directories can help placing your company in front of your targeted audiences, actively searching for services within your niche.
d) Social Media platforms
Briefly, when deciding to start marketing through social media, you need to know where your audience spends their down time, because that is where you want your startup to be too, building your social media community. There’s no point being on TikTok if your targeted audience is likely to spend their time on LinkedIn, and the other way around.
One thing to keep in mind is that the way you communicate will differ from one platform to another.
3) Build authority
Building authority for your startup is not an easy journey, mostly because most probably your company doesn’t yet have a high or any DA score. An important part of authority building is link building. The more websites/blogs link to your website, the higher your DA score will be.
Other opportunities to increase authority for your startup is through guest blogging (where articles under your startup’s name show on other blogs), and Public Relations (PR). As intimidating as it might sound, a good press release, with valuable information for readers will qualify as a PR article.
4) Build communities
Once you get started with social media, you’ll find out that it’s quite a competitive place. And while you are just starting promoting your startup, you might lack followers and engagement. Before you get discouraged in using social media, there are several directions to pursue for growing your startups’ social media presence.
- Use influencers to promote your social media accounts
- Build social media groups to engage with your followers
- Organise online events / webinars, sending members to connect to your social media accounts
- Send out newsletters, encouraging members to follow you on social media
5) Create and optimise content
In order for your startup to be discovered, you need to create, optimise and promote content that is relevant to your targeted audience.
Blogs can answer the pain points of your potential customers. Offering solutions to their problems through well-optimised blogs (on-site and metadata optimisation with relevant keywords and search queries), can bring your blogs higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
b) Whitepapers, reports, and other resources
Creating high-quality reports, whitepapers and other resources valuable for your potential customers, will bring more users to your website. Telling your website visitors what you can do for them through these resources will likely boost your sales funnel.
c) Landing pages
Naturally, a landing page is where you want to drive your potential clients. While landing pages are about the products or services that you offer, it should also be about your clients, and how these products or services are answering their identified needs and shortcomings.
Besides a sound description that includes your offer, bringing a trust signal, like product reviews, demonstrating how the product/service works, and having a simple but engaging Call To Action (CTA) should be included on any landing page.
The right way to use marketing for startups is the agile way, meaning that you always have to be flexible and adjust your tactics to new trends or changes in your industry or the business environment as a whole.
The current COVID-19 global pandemic shows that agility is the key to surviving as a startup. Threat Essentials, a cyber security startup launched in the midst of the pandemic is the perfect example of why agility is the right approach for startups in an ever-changing world.