Turning your great idea into reality always feels like the most difficult step in getting your startup off the ground -- until you realize that nobody beyond your family and close friends knows about your amazing product or service. This difficult lesson evades many aspiring entrepreneurs: The success of your startup is limited by the number of potential customers who know about it. About half of all startups fail after five years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To avoid that outcome, you have to grow your customer base.
Ideally, you’ll market your startup well before you’re open for business. Building a brand takes time and care, and it’s much easier to construct a thoughtful strategy when you’re not haemorrhaging money on rent, payroll, utilities and other overhead costs. In reality, however, your new business is likely strapped for cash. What's more, the launch date has come sooner than you expected. And you need to spread the word quickly to gain customers.
In other words, your core marketing strategy shouldn’t be swinging for the fences and trying desperately to create a viral video. Rather, you should be focusing on the following basics to increase exposure in a sustainable way.
Define your brand.
Because you’re starting with a clean slate, now is the perfect time to find your voice and establish what your brand is all about. Your brand should reflect your company values and do so in a way that relates to customers personally and makes them want to be associated with you.
Resist the urge to imitate competitors that you perceive as successful. They started out just like you, so you should focus on differentiating your business instead of assimilating it to the industry. Ultimately, your branding will be one of the main reasons consumers choose your product over a competitor’s.
Reach your audience in smart ways.
To really connect with people, you’ll need to meet them where they spend their time. Identify those hangout spots, whether they’re online or IRL (in real life) and place your messaging there.
Offer valuable content to individuals in your audience, and identify influencers who can help spread the word about your brand.
That’s why many brands utilize their reach to amplify messaging to millennial and Gen Z audiences. Find out how to leverage unique influencers for your own business, and you’ll be surprised by the effects.
Craft an SEO strategy.
After clearly defining your target audience, figure out what keywords they’re searching for. Your keyword list will help direct traffic to your site’s landing page, your blog and your social media pages, all of which should all be highly relevant to your brand. While it’s nice to win traffic from highly competitive keywords, instead start by targeting keywords with low competition and lots of traffic.