Previously, I wrote article titled “How to create a detailed marketing plan” which expresses the importance of creating a marketing plan and outlines the steps necessary to create one. Even though it’s a very informative article, I recently realized that I forgot to recommend marketing strategies that are actually effective…my mistake L. As an ex small business owner, I know how overwhelming it is to create a marketing plan, especially when you don’t know which strategies will work and which strategies are a complete waste of time. That’s why in this article, I’ll recommend four marketing strategies that will remove your startup from obscurity and place it in the brightest of spotlights.
1. Content Marketing (Be a Thought-Leader)
One of the most effective marketing strategies is the first step in an inbound marketing campaign – Content Marketing – also known as content creation. Content marketing is creating content for the purpose of attracting and educating customers. It’s sort of the “correct” way to start a conversation with a complete stranger. Think about it, if you were to try to sell a product to someone you didn’t know, they may be disinclined to buy the product (due to the unfamiliarity factor). However, if you educate the consumer on a particular subject, establish rapport with the consumer, and then try to sell them the product, they’ll probably be more receptive and there’s a greater chance that they’ll buy from you. That’s the purpose of content marketing – to establish rapport with the consumer by asserting yourself as a thought-leader (expert) in your industry, educating the consumer on a particular subject, and cultivating a genuine relationship, based on trust. If consumers trust the information that you (as a business) are offering and perceive you as a reliable source, they’ll be more likely to buy from you. The key to an effective content marketing campaign is to create valuable information; information that consumers can actually use. No one likes vague, generalized information. Consumers want detailed, enlightening information specifically tailored towards their needs. Be creative! Content can take any form – it’s not just articles and blog posts.
2. Social Media Marketing (Paid and Free)
Social media marketing is the process of using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and YouTube to connect and engage with consumers. There are many ways to connect and engage with consumers via social media – sharing content, communicating with users, asking for feedback, delivering coupons and discounts, organizing contest, distributing surveys, etc. There are two different types of social media marketing – free and paid. I know free sounds great for your budget, however, paid offers more advantages and is worth the cost. Paid social media marketing gives you the ability to target certain users, which means you can direct all your marketing efforts to the consumers within your niche. For example, let’s say your target market is women between the ages of 21-30 that live in Florida and are interested in cosmetics; using the targeting feature (that’s only available through paid social media marketing), your ad would only display to that particular demographic, which would increase your click-through-rate and your conversion percentages. The best strategy for using social media as a marketing tool is to use a healthy dose of paid and free marketing – that is, integrate the two to build an effective social media marketing campaign. Also, be sure to learn each social media platform you are utilizing for your campaign. Each platform is unique – you have to master each one in order to effectively engage and connect with consumers. For example, the same marketing tactics that work for Facebook may not work for StumbleUpon, or Twitter.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing may be the most effective marketing strategy known-to-man, and if you’re a young entrepreneur and manage a startup, it should definitely be in your arsenal. Matter of fact, even if you just run a blog, you should still utilize email marketing. Marketing through email lists is so effective because it allows young entrepreneurs to cultivate a community of potential customers who are willing to listen to what you have to say. When a consumer gives a company (or any institution) their email address, it means they’re interested in hearing more from the company. It also gives the company the ability to develop a relationship with the consumer, with the intention of converting them into a paying customer and brand ambassador. However, be careful; even though it’s effective, email marketing can be very tricky – if you bombard your subscribers with “buy my product” emails, you’ll encourage them to unsubscribe. Email marketing is all about educating the consumer. Use the email platform to deliver high quality, informative and valuable content that will enlighten the subscriber. Sales and revenue will come once the consumer trusts your company as a reliable source of information. HubSpot is a great example of a company that utilizes email marketing to educate the consumer, and as a result, has earned the trust and business of thousands of people and companies.
4. Public Relations
Public Relations (PR) is a very powerful marketing tool. Once you’ve established your startup and all of your other marketing campaigns, you should focus on contacting writers in order to pitch stories about your company. Writers are always searching for interesting stories to share, therefore, if you can convince them that your company is an interesting story that their audience will enjoy reading about, they’ll be happy to provide your company with free publicity. In my experience, the best way to contact a writer is through email and social media. You can typically find a writer’s email or Twitter handle in the bio section within their article. Make sure you do thorough research! If your startup creates software for Android devices, don’t contact a writer who covers Apple software. Connect with media members and get to know their writing style and the topics they cover before contacting them with a pitch. Also, make sure pitches are brief but informative. Writers are very busy, so they do not have time to read long, fluff-filled pitches.
As a young entrepreneur, take full advantage of all of these marketing strategies – an effective marketing plan is one that incorporates all of them, not just one or two. These strategies also rely on one another to be more effective. For example, content marketing is useless without a way to share it, i.e. social media and email. Similarly, email and social media are useless platforms without valuable content to share, i.e. content marketing. A marketing plan that utilizes all four strategies will definitely bring your company the exposure it needs and deserves.
-Mike, creator of EntrepreLoser
Did you enjoy that article? Duh! (rhetorical question) Of course you did. Now I need a favor. Please share this article with your favorite social network. There are plenty of options to choose from – Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Reddit, Digg, and StumbleUpon – just click on one of the sharing buttons below and wallah, you’re finished. Thanks, I really appreciate it!