How to develop a marketing strategy for a startup

Developing a marketing strategy for a brand-new business takes time and careful planning but the investment you make now in terms of time out of your day can lead to a strong foundation from which to grow.

Amongst other considerations, you’ll need to view your product or service in terms of how it differs from your competitors and the best price point to use, but in creating a marketing strategy you’re building a long-term plan to position your startup front and centre in the minds of your target audience.

In general, think about where your ideal customers or clients are and how you’ll reach them with your marketing campaigns. Here are a few questions that could guide your strategy:

  • How much can you afford to spend on marketing?
  • How can you reach your target audience?
  • What marketing channels will you use?
  • How will you measure success?

What types of marketing are effective for startups?

Lean marketing is one technique that requires few resources and can be useful for start-ups looking to develop a defined strategy. It’s based on a business’s ability to be agile and change direction with its marketing methods, when necessary, based on customer feedback.

In general, low-cost or free marketing is best for a startup but the results need to be measured for your strategy to be effective. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

Email marketing

Stay in touch with your customers directly via email – it’s a free or low-cost marketing method and the success of each campaign is easy to measure, allowing you to adjust as necessary as time goes on.

Content marketing

Content marketing involves developing a body of articles, blog posts, videos and other visual content. The beauty of this type of marketing is that you can repurpose your written information to give away as an e-book on your website in return for customer email addresses, or use it to create engaging infographics.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is also free or low-cost, which makes it a great choice for startup businesses. With various tools available to help you schedule posts and measure the success of your efforts, it can be a great addition to your startup marketing strategy.

Building your marketing strategy as a startup

Know your audience

Knowing your target audience allows you to reach them as a group, but also drill down into customer personas and segment them within that group, perhaps based on location, age, or earning levels.

Think ‘brand’

Don’t just focus on your product or service – think about developing and defining a recognisable brand through the use of colours and a logo, but also by articulating what your business stands for – its purpose, goals, and culture.

Get recognised

Social media helps you place your brand in front of a huge audience, but first, consider which social media platforms your ideal customers use and stick with those. You can build brand awareness but also generate a pipeline of leads by regularly posting on selected platforms rather than trying to cover them all.

Decide on a way to measure success with your marketing efforts

Without the data that tells you how your marketing campaigns are faring, you won’t know if they’re worth the time and effort. In fact, it’s important to consider whether they might be costing you more than they’re generating.

Whether you prefer digital marketing or your business would benefit more if you attended in-person events such as trade fairs, you can quickly take your startup to the next stage of growth with careful research, measuring, and testing.

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