#Digital Marketing: The Right Approach for Start-ups

posted 8 Apr 2014, 01:09 by John McVeigh   [ updated 18 Feb 2015, 16:03 ]
Digital Marketing



Modern business owners think about their digital strategies as soon as they start putting their company together. Of course, they don’t always put it in those terms, but it’s a rare entrepreneur who doesn’t check domain name availability when brainstorming business ideas.

Digital is everywhere
The fact is that the digital space is part of almost everything a start-up does, but as there are so many different options available, it can be hard to be sure that you’re doing the right things for your business at the right time.
 
This is especially hard because all of the different options for digital marketing will work - if you have the time and money – but there are some things that are more effective than others for different businesses.
 
Your digital strategy has specific influences
Choosing the right digital marketing strategy and tools for you depends on a few key things:
  • Your audience: Who do you want to connect with? What sorts of conversations do they like to have? What do they want to know about? Where do they hang out online?
  • Your industry: Where do people expect to find a business like yours? Are there any regulations that dictate aspects of your marketing? How can you best show off your goods and services? Do you have a specific buying cycle to take account of? Will people buy online?
  • What you enjoy doing: What’s easy for you to keep on top of? Is there a marketing activity that comes naturally to you?
Digital marketing guidelines for start-ups
There are a few key things that you should do to ensure that your digital marketing is as effective as it can be:
 
1. Know your audience.
Your customers are the ones who will keep you in business, so it’s really important that you know exactly who they are.
 
Firstly, look at who your ideal customers are. You should profile them as completely as possible – make up whole lives for them! Name the customer personas that you come up with and for every piece of marketing that you produce think about how each of your customer personas would respond to it. If you think that they wouldn’t like it, don’t use it.
 
2.  Match the channel to the activity.
Not all marketing activities work across all channels, so you need to think carefully about what you want people to do - this is your call to action (CTA - and then define the best channel for that.
A common example is competitions. Running a competition on your own website will only engage the people who are already visiting your site, unless you can bring them over from elsewhere. However, running a competition on Facebook could bring you new people, if you encourage your current fans to share the competition and/or pay for a promoted post or two.
 
In doing so, you also have to think about the terms and conditions of the channel you’re using – Facebook in particular is quite strict about this.
 
3.  Go for best business impact at lowest cost
Your budget is limited, so don’t blow the whole thing in one place. A common mistake is for a start-up to define their marketing budget and then spend all of it on their website. Not a good plan!
 
Work out where the biggest wins are for you, and map it against cost. This means working out what you want people to do, and the least expensive way of getting more of the right people to do that thing.
 
Don't do cheap stuff just because it’s cheap, and don’t do big impact stuff without considering costs carefully.
 
What you’ll probably find works best for you is a combination of different techniques that are each relatively low cost, but work together to get you the most in terms of impact. For example, social media, email marketing, a little pay-per-click, and an inexpensive website are likely to be good places to start. Don’t take my word for it though; work out if that is indeed the best strategy for you or not.
 
4. Test, test, test
This is another budget vs. impact issue. To save yourself time and money, try out your digital marketing ideas before you go for a big campaign.
 
This could be as simple as asking your target audience if they’d be interested in something you’re thinking of doing, or you might actually want to test a mini-campaign in a live setting.
The benefits of testing are that you will save time and money, as I’ve already mentioned, but also that you won’t open yourself up to huge mistakes that could turn your fledgling audience away from you.
 
5. Stay focussed on your customer
There's a difference between knowing your audience and focussing on giving them what they want, and you have to do both.
 
We both know that you want to get something across to your customer with your marketing. We know that you want them to take a specific action, and that’s good too. However, you have to make that appealing to them, by always coming back to what they want from you.
 
A great marketing trick to help with this is to talk to them about the problem that you are solving more than your solution for it.
 
Another way to approach it is by always talking about the benefits to the customer of using your products or services, rather than the features that it is made up of.
 
6. Speak to just one person at a time
No one likes to think that they're only a number to you, so look carefully at the language that you use in your marketing and make sure it’s directed at each of your customers individually. I’m not talking about going crazy with personalisation (although where it’s easy, you should personalise messaging), it’s more about using the language that works for a one-to-one conversation.
 
For example, 'you may find' is more direct than 'some of you may find'. A tiny difference, but it really matters.
 
If you can follow these guidelines, your business will be in good shape to make the most of the opportunity that digital marketing offers.

Source - Businesszone

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