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Startups Should Plan For Marketing
Startups often plan on marketing only after they are established and generating revenue, but it is essential to their business from the beginning. Startups should make it a priority to gather as much advice from marketing consultants as they would from financial advisers.
Few business owners don’t think twice about consulting with attorneys or financial advisers, but many still think that marketing is something they can tackle by themselves. Two of the most important concerns for a startup business should be finance and marketing. Startups should be utilizing the advice from marketing agencies from the beginning, even if it is just sitting down and chatting about current trends and how a startup can incorporate them in the future.
Many people think the best form of advertising for a startup is traditional print and media advertising, while in most cases developing a business’s social media presence, using targeted digital platforms and in-store promotions are far more cost-effective options.
Social media is not only effective, but a great way for startups to begin building a community of loyal customers. One of the biggest flubs a startup can make is assuming that they know how to use social media to market their business, just because they know how to use it to talk to family and friends doesn’t mean they know how to develop a social media strategy. Think of it as going to a cocktail party where you don’t know anyone, you don’t walk into the party and start broadcasting your opinions to the crowd. Instead, you look for a group of people you want to talk to, and then begin dialogue that's relevant to the topics being discussed and start additional conversations that you feel will be interesting to them.
Many business owners are disheartened with social media when they don’t see any consumer engagement, but you can’t expect people to listen to you unless what you're saying is interesting and something that they can identify with.
Also, keep in mind that through social media a company can talk too much about their product. A company needs to know their customers and entertain them while still building brand awareness - even better if they want to share your posts with friends. I had a client that markets gourmet coffee, they hired our agency to work on their social media strategy. The company had thousands of Facebook Fans but their engagement was less than 20%. After reviewing their posts, I quickly realized one of their biggest problems-all they talked about was coffee. They had some good ideas with weekly contests and trivia, but it was all about coffee. Now, I can’t survive without coffee – but like their customers, I am more interested in the type of conversations that happen over a good cup of coffee. After a few suggestions, the company started posting about topics other than coffee and their social engagement went up by 60%.
This is an example of the kind of knowledge that an agency can bring to a startup and doesn’t require a huge marketing budget. An experienced marketing professional has insight onconsumers’ behavior, what they want, how they want to be talked to, what type of product they are interested in and how to turn them into a loyal customer.
My advice to a startup? Whether a startup has a Ramen Noodle or a Fortune 500 marketing budget, don't waste money guessing at what marketing might be effective, invest in your company’s future and consult with marketing professionals. Find an agency to work with that understands your business and can help take your company from a startup to a successful company.
Thought Leadership - Pay-Per-Success
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