13 February 2019

The 5 Most Important Digital Marketing Strategies for Startups – Expert Tips To Grow Your Business

Posted in Public Relations
Raoul Schultz

Author

Raoul oversees all Brand programs at Massive PR. As the senior strategist for all media campaigns and PR activity, he spends most of his days working with journalists to design newsworthy approaches to integrate brands and their executives into the mainstream media.

As a startup business, you can’t afford to lose a single lead that comes your way. In fact, the capacity and effectiveness to convert leads to customers is a definitive gauge of accomplishment for any startup.

Balancing a budget and managing expenditures are part and parcel of every business, but the harsh reality is that most startups are underfunded.  Setting aside an adequate marketing and promotional fund is often out of the question – despite its importance.

Modern business is centered around digitization. Many older companies are now forced to enter the space and often times they lack the understanding of systems, strategies and tools that would bring them success. This migration, for many businesses, can cause numerous headaches and set them back years in terms of profits. When these companies move forward they will be faced with new challenges and as digital marketing grows as a means of advertising, these businesses will be forced to compete in the digital space. As they stumble out of the blocks with corporate approvals, shareholder meetings and other impediments, opportunities to supplant them in the rankings have emerged.

This is your chance as a small business startup to not only compete but overtake those rankings. The time to utilize digital marketing to your companies advantage is right now.

Make no mistake about marketing. It’s often a winner-take-all game. The top ranking on Google averages 40% more sales than #2. That’s a significant number and can make all the difference in the world to your business.

Let’s be real here. You can’t do everything right. But you can be more right than you are wrong. And in doing so, you can be successful. You don’t have to be right 100% of the time. You just have to get things right more often than not. And if you’re smart with your marketing, you can edge out competitors and build your business.

How Massive Approaches Digital Marketing

Before we delve into Massive’s approach, let’s cover a few of the most important areas of digital marketing that you should know. These areas are growing by the day so it’s important to understand why we focus on these areas when creating a marketing plan for your startup.

Let’s start at the beginning. First, you want to create interest in your brand, services and products. Next, you want that interest to lead to the person or company reaching out to your for the service or product and then you want them to buy so that you can deliver it.

The point is not to make this into an oversimplification of what marketing is, just to point out that it doesn’t have to be a complex and confusing activity. As a startup, you should keep it simple.

Begin with an evaluation of your brand, message and service or product. Do everything you can to learn about who will buy your service or product. Who are you selling this product or service to? What’s your message? What makes your product or service valuable to them? That’s market analysis. It’s finding out who buys and making a plan to tell them about your business.

Next, you have to deliver that message. The more people that know about your product or service, the more that message gets in front of your public (the people that buy your product) and the more sales you get. Your message only works for your public, so knowing who they are and what they want is the key to developing your message.

How do you deliver the message? By any means necessary is the correct answer. But do consider that there are effective ways to advertise and many ways to fail. It can take hours or days to develop a strong message and it can take months for a marketing campaign to really be effective. So work at it and have patience. If your plan is solid and you work at it, you can pull it off and launch your business successfully. Some businesses out there seemingly grew overnight into huge successes but the vast majority worked hard and spent years working at it until it became successful.

The final step is monitoring and tracking. For a truly successful marketing campaign, it’s necessary to monitor the progress and make adjustments. In most campaigns, you can have several messages going out at once. Each one needs to be tracked and adjustments should be made as soon as possible. If it works, pour on the coal. If it doesn’t draw back and put that money where it is working. And don’t guess. Know what works and know what doesn’t. It’s your business and your ultimate success at stake, so do what you can to make it happen.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Startups

Each business is different and requires a thorough analysis to develop a workable and effective marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy should take into account who your public is, your message, your goals, your products and services and of course, your budgets.

Online advertising has taken a drastic turn in the last few years. Consumers have ditched the cable box, Netflix has taken over as content provider and Youtube now makes it possible for anyone to be their network with their own shows. The marketing landscape has changed.

Marketing is a numbers game. The more people that see your ad, the more people will buy your product or service, period. So getting your message out to the most people is always the goal no matter what your strategy may be. Let’s cover some ways to go about this using the largest online advertisers out there.

Google – The king of internet searches and data mining. Google offers a pretty complex method of advertising that seems simple (text) but only appears simple as their backend interface is the most complex and changing system ever developed as a method of advertising. The good news is that there is help and support is usually excellent. By simply creating a campaign and spending that fist $50, you can usually get a call from a Google representative who can help walk you through your goals, demographic (public) and work with your budget to create ads. Of course, the more you know, the more effective your campaign will be.

Facebook – If Google is the king of data mining then Facebook is certainly second place in terms of numbers. Google may be able to learn your search habits, history and interests, but Facebook knows more intimate details – like your location, contacts, friends, interests and even knows what you look like. Cool huh? Well when it comes to marketing, it really is great. You can create ads that go to specific people in specific places for specific amounts of money and they can run for specific amounts of time. It’s quite specific really. The interface is very easy to use and can bring great results.

Youtube – Now owned by Google, Youtube has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years. It is now one of the largest advertising platforms on the internet. You can monetize your videos (allow advertisers to insert a commercial into your video) or pay to have your ad placed on others videos. You can also pay for content makers to advertise your brand, services or products. Depending on your business, this can be a great way to put eyes on your company.

Others – Twitter (yes, you can now advertise on Twitter via Twitter ads), Bing (similar to Google but owned by Microsoft), Amazon, and so many others.

A startup should take into account all the ways that can be used to market the brand. A decision needs to be made on how much can be spent and how fast the company needs to grow to be viable (make more than is spent). Should you pay for influencer marketing such as an endorsement by a celebrity and use your entire marketing budget on it if your website cannot even take orders yet? Or should you slowly build up the brand with word of mouth and referrals? Take a look at all the factors and make a call. There’s no right or wrong way in marketing, just effective and ineffective. Developing a strategy based on facts, statistics and solid research usually leads to success if implemented correctly. So do your homework and be effective.

The Five Ds of Digital Marketing

There are five common methods of interaction used in the digital marketing world. Let’s take a look at them and how you can interact with your customers or target audience via these channels:

  • Digital Devices– Applications run on these devices offer advertising via in-app purchases, ads and banners: cell phones, tablets, personal computers, TVs and gaming devices.
  • Digital Data– Information that organizations gather on their clientele including profiles, associations, tendencies, interests and other related data. Law in many nations now protects these.
  • Enhanced Digital Media– Paid, sponsored or owned and earned communications channels for reaching and engaging audiences include advertising, email and messaging, search engines and social networks.
  • Digital Platforms– Applications such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other digital platforms allow interaction via ads, in-app purchases and sponsorships.
  • Digital Technology– Interactive mobile and web applications, email campaigns, real-time delivery experiences and other technology allow the delivery of marketing and promotional messages.

As you can see there are many ways to get your message out there. But, of all these methods, one is growing exponentially and is now considered to be the most important. And that is digital marketing on mobile devices. As a matter of fact, Google has recently stated that the mobile version of your website is now considered the main website. This is unprecedented. Let’s take a look at why this is and what you can do about it.

Digital Marketing for Mobile Devices

It goes without saying that startups need to have a fast, comprehensible mobile website as a primary action – especially if you sell products or services on it. With so many users on mobile devices, chances are that your potential clients will visit your website. You want them to – and you want them to stay, be helped and pay for your services or products.

The growth in this sector is almost unbelievable. When you look at the stats of users and sales, you almost can’t believe they are true. The fact is, if you want to be successful, you need to have a mobile presence and that presence must work for your customers.

The bottom line is – you need to develop and cultivate a strong, mobile presence. And you really don’t have time to waste. Here are some facts:

  • 28% of marketers have reduced their traditional advertising budget to fund more digital marketing (Source:CMO Council)
  • Digital content creation and management now claim the second-largest share of digital marketing budgets (Source:KaPost)
  • 71% of companies plan to increase their digital marketing budgets this year (Source:Webbiquity)
  • One third of businesses are planning to introduce a Digital Transformation program (Source: Smart Insights)
  • 73% of B2B (business to business) marketers use video as a content marketing tactic, and 7% of marketers plan on increasing their YouTube marketing (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

So do what it takes to create and enhance your mobile site today. Call in an expert if you have to but get it done and establish your startup in the most important space of 2019 – mobile.

The Best Digital Marketing Tips for Startups

1. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the process of acquiring attention and getting support through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. It can be an effective, inexpensive and fast means of communication.

With 65% of the U.S. population now using social media, chances are your target audience can be reached through a social platform. According to a Social Media Examiner’s report, 90% of marketers confirmed that social media is important to their businesses and 89% of marketers indicated that their social media initiatives have generated increased exposure for their companies.

A recent study conducted by Buffer demonstrated that most startups choose social media as their preferred marketing tactic.

2. Search Engine Optimization

SEO is considered to be the most important advertising channel for startup businesses.

SEO is sometimes ignored as an activity when it comes to setting priorities, but it can be very useful in:

  • Establishing your startup’s authority
  • Reaching a wider audience
  • Building traffic and brand awareness
  • Improving engagement
  • Generating interest in your business

Startups can improve SEO by following a series of steps that can help them improve their online presence and find a new audience.

a) Set your goals

These goals have to be measurable and clear to help you decide on specific ways to achieve them. For example:

  • Double the number of visitors to the site in the next quarter
  • Increase blog traffic by 30% in the next three months
  • Generate interest from 20 new prospects in the next month
  • Increase sales by 20% until the end of the year

b) Keyword research

A keyword analysis can be invaluable. Determining the words and phrases that people use to find a business like yours is incredibly important to your success. Done correctly, a keyword analysis can help tell you who your audience is, what they are looking for, how they are trying to find it and keywords that you can use to generate more business.

c) Optimize content

There are many ways to optimize your content for search engines including changes to your URL structure, titles, meta tags and site map.

When you consider the various advantages SEO can offer to your startup, you will understand that it’s not really a cost. It is a smart marketing strategy that promises positive outcomes in the long run. The challenge is to optimize your site properly.

3. Influencer Marketing

As much as 84% of seasoned marketers have stated that they will employ some use of influencer marketing in the next 12 months.

Influencers can be:

  • Celebrities – known by everyone in their industry and have thousands or millions of followers
  • Authorities – views respected by anyone “in the know”
  • Journalists – write for multiple high-traffic publications and have large audiences
  • Bloggers – hosts of highly-engaged communities in their niche

Influencer marketing is a highly effective tool for startups to grow their brands. The best thing is that it’s inexpensive compared to traditional marketing channels.

4. Content Marketing

Content Marketing is characterized by advertising approaches concentrated on making and circulating important and reliable content to draw in and retain a specific audience.

90% of B2C organizations are committed to content marketing, and 88% of B2B marketers agree that content marketing is an important part of their marketing programs. Startups should take advantage of this powerful digital marketing strategy, which is highly effective and significantly cheaper compared to more traditional marketing efforts.

Content Marketing can take various forms such as:

  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Ebooks
  • Blogs
  • Emails
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews

There’s no shortage of content out there. Much of it is marketing. We are bombarded with advertisements every single day. As a startup, it’s important to recognize the methods that others are using to be successful. It’s not necessary to model your entire operation on someone else’s strategy but you can learn from other’s success. Take a look around. You’ve probably seen at least one great content marketing ad in the past few days. Wouldn’t you like to have one for your business?

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing is alive and well in 2019. A cultivated list of subscribers that love your product cannot easily be beaten when it comes to ROI. Emails provide an effective way for organizations to stay in touch with their audience and send updates, offer specials, make announcements and provide useful information.

In a recent survey conducted by Demand Metric and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), email marketing had yielded an ROI of 122%, which was four times higher than the other marketing channels that were analyzed. Those channels included paid search, direct mail, and social media.

  • Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social. (Source: org)
  • A message is 5x more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook. (Source: Radicati)
  • 24% of visitors from email marketing buy something, compared to 2.49% of visitors from search engines and 0.59% from social media. (Source: McKinsey)

Summary

Today’s marketplace is thriving. As a consumer, there are thousands if not millions of businesses out there vying for your business. You can learn something from the success of other brands – especially when you look at how those brands are influencing you this very moment. Are there brands that you love?

How did they influence you to feel the way you feel about them? The chances are that they did it using digital marketing. Surprise, surprise, it works! And you can use it to invoke those feelings on others. If you are a startup and have a great service or product, why not have people fall in love with your brand? You can – if you learn all about digital marketing and create a marketing plan that gets results consistently.

Your startup can set itself above the fold and rise to a point of stable and sustained growth. And your marketing plan will play a critical role in your success. Learn all you can from successful companies, look around at businesses that you admire, find local people in your community and ask them what they like. Develop a strategy that works for your brand and utilize all the tools at your disposal.

Go out there and tell everyone all about your startup. Make it known. Make people love it.

Here’s to you and your certain success!

Raoul Schultz

Author

Raoul oversees all Brand programs at Massive PR. As the senior strategist for all media campaigns and PR activity, he spends most of his days working with journalists to design newsworthy approaches to integrate brands and their executives into the mainstream media.
As a startup business, you can't afford to lose a single lead that comes your way. In fact, the capacity and effectiveness to convert leads to customers is a definitive gauge of accomplishment for any startup.

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