Startup marketing advice

Here is some startup marketing advice: Don’t jump straight into frenetic activity – start by creating a concise marketing plan | Focus on customers and their needs | Create marketing processes | If you have a team, involve them in your marketing | Spend more time on marketing | Get some external help.

Here is a 4 step approach:

1.  Strategy comes first, in the form of your marketing plan
2.  Website comes second, based on your marketing plan thinking
3.  Thirdly, you need to get the word out, via an integrated promotional mix
4.  Fourthly, you need to be excellent at sales and online conversion

1. Marketing plan

Begin with a concise, written marketing plan. This will help you to think through the key issues. What are your objectives? | What is the big idea behind your brand? | What are your key messages? | How will you stand out from the crowd? | How will you create awareness? | What are your marketing resources? | What will you measure?

2. Website

Your website should act as: Your marketing hub | An online brochure | An information resource | An SEO platform | A place to find your blogs | A place to connect with you via social media | A media resource where journalists can find helpful information| An e-commerce platform (even if you sell services) | A way of contacting you

3. Promotion

There are 300 promotional techniques to choose from. Some techniques work well for awareness, i.e. PR. Others are proven to work for direct response purposes. Your choice of techniques and the way in which you use them are crucial to your success.

4. Conversion / Sales

Keep track of sales activities. Have a sales pipeline, within your CRM system. Become a better listener. Learn the art of professional selling. Setup sales processes and stay on top of them. Know what your sales conversion rate is.

Startup marketing advice checklist

If you are a startup, or if you are thinking of launching a new business here is a startup marketing advice checklist.

If you have been trading for some time and if your marketing results are flagging, ‘thinking like a startup’ could be just what you need.

    1. Have a concise marketing plan and get everyone on board with this. Writing everything down will help you to think through the key issues.
    2. Identify groups of customers that you want to market to. These are known as ‘market segments’.
    3. Select the products / services that you are going to promote to the segments that you have identified in the previous step.
    4. Select the geographical footprint where you will focus your marketing efforts: local, regional, national, international?
    5. Decide on your pricing strategy. Avoid ‘as cheap as chips’, unless you are launching a supermarket.
    6. Decide on the key messages that you are going to use.
    7. Create a visual brand identity, including a brand name, logo, font and brand colours. Use them everywhere.
    8. Select a website domain name.
    9. Build (or review) your website after you have created your marketing plan.
    10. WordPress is a free website CMS (Content Management System) that looks good from the start and will grow with your business. See: WordPress tips
    11. Your website has to work as an online brochure and bring in sales leads / sales.
    12. Choose your promotional mix carefully, i.e. the different ways in which you will get the word out about your brand, products and services. You can ask questions about promotion here: The Marketing Compass
    13. Think about what you could share for free in terms of useful, helpful information.
    14. Write something every day. This could be a blog, web page, newsletter, press release or a social media piece.
    15. Start working on your in-bound marketing using SEO as soon as you can. Start with a keywords list and read this article on SEO strategy.
    16. At the same time, contact potential new customers. For example, this can be done via Facebook and LinkedIn.
    17. Use video to explain what you do and deliver. Create a YouTube channel and upload videos there.
    18. Use MailChimp for your newsletter. It is free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
    19. Have a newsletter signup form on every page of your website.
    20. Start to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) as early as possible.
    21. Encourage referrals. Let your customers know that you welcome referrals. Remember that people trust what their friends say.
    22. Start talking to journalists. Tell them why you are launching your new enterprise and what is different about you (take this from your marketing plan).
    23. Always follow up on sales and marketing activities.
    24. Have a system for improving your sales conversion rates.
    25. Continually review your marketing results.
    26. Get some external advice on marketing.

Startup marketing skills

Creating a startup business requires creative thinking, planning, delegation, financial, learning, problem solving, communication, copywriting, selling, training and software skills. Impartial advice and feedback can make all the difference.

I hope that you have found this startup marketing advice to be helpful and I wish you all the best with your business.

Nigel Temple is a startup marketing consultant.