Initial Marketing Considerations When Launching a Startup

Launching a startup is an exciting time, but typically it can also be a little frantic as you struggle to juggle competing necessities before your launch date.

Many entrepreneurs focus on their core business, preparing products, establishing systems and procedures, setting expectations, and training a new team.

It’s wise to dedicate your time to getting your marketing right from the start though, as it can be costly if you have to go back and redo it. Furthermore, presentation and promotion that is both visible and appealing to your potential customers can make the difference between early success or failure.

In this article, I’ll outline five crucial initial marketing considerations for entrepreneurs launching a new startup.

1 - Branding

Successful branding conveys the essence of a company while also being instantly memorable.

It isn’t just about your logo, although your logo is an important element of your branding. It isn’t just visual in fact, although there are many visual aspects to branding. In fact, branding is about creating a memorable and favourable impression in the minds of customers and potential customers when they interact with your business.

This can be ,such as when they find you online or when they see an ad or brochure, or it can when they are communicating or interacting with you on the phone or in a physical premises such as your place of business or in person.

Furthermore, your branding should communicate your values and identity in your wider marketplace.

The first step when approaching branding as a startup is to consider who your customers are and what they are looking for along with what differentiates you as a business from your competitors.

This should inform your branding strategy, a document in which you define your brand identity and then start assembling your branding elements to convey your identity in a way aligns your identity with your customers’ identities and desires.

Your branding elements include you business name, your business colour palette, logo, tagline, the fonts you’ll use, your brand ‘voice’ (i.e. language style), imagery style, and your customer service vision.

2 - What is your story?

Storytelling is an ancient and highly effective way to engage people, and having a compelling story can make your brand memorable by invoking an emotional reaction in the minds of potential customers, and one they can spread the word about to their social networks.

Your brand story might be you as the company founder’s story - what inspired you to start the business - or it might be how the company came into being without reference to the founder, perhaps to address a gap in the market or solve a particular problem that you felt no one else was.

Alternatively, your brand story could be invented to showcase what the brand is about, what it delivers and why it is different. Another approach is to tell a customer story, either real or fictional, that other customers will identify with or aspire to.

You can communicate the story on your website and possibly in other places such as in ads or in your place of business, or in your phone hold audio. A short video is often a powerful way to create a story with emotional power, as you can use music too. Remember that purchase decisions and brand loyalty are most often emotional rather than rational decisions. In any case, a brand story should be one of your initial considerations pre-launch.

3 - Setting up a website

While most entrepreneurs know that having a website is essential for almost all businesses today from launch, many believe that simply having up a website is the goal, rather than starting by considering how they want a website to help them to grow their business.

Typically, entrepreneurs start by approaching a web designer, and ask them for a website. The web designer then creates a website that the startup owner likes the look of, then at some subsequent stage they might thinks about optimising their website for search.

From a marketing perspective, a much better approach is to start by researching what phrases prospective customers are using online when they look for your product or service, then set up a website to meet that demand. In other words, the most effective websites are designed to benefit potential customers rather than to please the business owner.

To achieve this, customer and SEO research should be the starting point, rather than tagged on later as an afterthought.

4 - Building and engaging an audience of prospective customers

Researching who your customers are and their personal and search characteristics as part of the process of developing your branding and website is also the ideal time to think about how you’ll find them - or rather, how you can ensure that they find you.

The ideal scenario is to attract a large audience of prospects and then gently market to them over time. This is because it often takes repetitive exposure to a new brand for a someone to develop a level of familiarity and trust that allows them to commit to purchasing from you.

So you might include a newsletter signup form prominently on your website (which has been designed to organically draw traffic from search).

You should also understand which social media channels your customers use when researching services or products like yours, and focus your marketing on building an audience through social media groups, chat rooms, and email marketing. Strategic targeted ads might also form part of your strategy.

Marketers think about creating online customer funnels, where an ad or social media post links to a website landing page that is designed especially for visitors who came from a specific place and for a specific reason to get them to take a specific action. The action may be making a purchase, downloading a free guide, signing up for a newsletter, or getting in touch, depending on your marketing and business model.

5 - Content planning

Creating content can be a powerful form of marketing, and some content can continue driving website traffic and so new business for years after it is created. As such, content creating should be part of your startup marketing plan.

Content should be created to meet search demand for your potential customers rather than for any reason, so you can use the same SEO research that informed your branding, website creation, and audience building plans.

You might for example write optimised articles for your website blog that will attract traffic from organic Google searches, or videos for YouTube or social media.

Articles or videos (or other content such as podcasts or infographics) also serve to highlight and establish your expertise, in turn helping to establish you as an authority in your field so developing prospect trust in you and your new business.