Ready to market your startup? Here’s where to start

If you’re launching a startup then you’re probably convinced that there’s a place in the market for your product of service.

However, that place in the market remains open for someone else unless your marketing efforts are effective and timely – so you need to make sure that what you’re doing is based on tried and tested methods that are going to deliver results.

What those tried and tested methods are will be somewhat particular to your business – but there are universal truths that will underpin your strategies that apply to every industry out there. Let us run you through the 5 most important ones:

  1. Get your personal brand right

In days gone by, the formation of a company was enough to hide even the most dubious reputation – but now, there’s no hiding anything.

Getting your personal brand right is like digging the right foundations for your house – get it wrong and it’ll be difficult and costly down the line.

When you’re starting out in business people are going to look for you online. They might be customers, contractors, freelancers, business opponents, investors – and more, maybe even all of them. There aren’t many people on that list that you’re going to be able to operate without, but that doesn’t stop thousands of people taking a serious risk with their personal social media every day.

Air strong political opinions on LinkedIn? Enjoy a slightly bad taste joke on Facebook? Publicly linked to people who do? Well, you’re taking a risk, a risk that you’re going to put someone off you or your product. I know what you’re thinking – it shouldn’t matter, but I’m here to tell you that it does – social media profiles are losing more people jobs and business today than ever before.

Getting it right is easy though. Master your privacy settings and before you share anything and ask yourself “would I say this in a room full of potential customers and investors?” – if the answer’s no, then act accordingly!

  1. Have an effective website

When you’re trying to establish a foothold in the marketplace you might want to reframe the way you see your website.

Rather than thinking of it as a place where customers can find contact details to get in touch with you or someone else who’s got their business soundbite or sales pitch nailed, start thinking of it as a sales person itself.

It makes sense, someone’s taken action to visit your site – when they’re there you might think it’s okay to expect them to jump another hurdle to get to a salesperson – but by doing so you’re losing serious numbers of interesting people.

So, you need some exceptional copy on your site. What I’m talking about here runs deeper than your average ‘about us’ and ‘products’ content – I’m talking expertly written copy that speaks to the real psychological need inside your customer.

Don’t be fooled into thinking your customer wants to know about your mission statement and values, they don’t – at their absolute core they want to know what you or your product is going to do for them. Every word of content on your site needs to be geared toward answering that question – and when it is, your phone is going to be ringing with orders – not just enquiries.

  1. Create effective content

Now, no matter how good your site’s copy is, you’re not going to be able to fake solid industry experience – and that’s where creating brilliant and effective content comes into play.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could work your way into your potential customer’s subconscious and plant seeds there that suggest you’re exactly the right person or product for the need they’re looking to fulfil? Even better – wouldn’t it be great if you could work your way into your potential customer’s subconscious and develop that need – before presenting the solution?

Well with content marketing you can – and there’s no need for any unethical hypnosis! A great example of this is how Atlas Ceramics promote their range of Atlas Ceramics victorian style tiles

Content can be created around every tiny element that’s gone into making your product what it is today. Taken it in one direction when there were a variety of possibilities? Document it. Stumbled and made an error? Write about it. Found a brilliant tool that’s revolutionised your workplace? Tell the world.

When you present every part of your business and it’s workings you’ll find that people engage – and when they’re engaged and reading, you can start to gently steer the ship in the direction you want to take them.

  1. Treat every customer like they’re royalty

It might seem obvious but making sure your initial customers are really well looked is something that a great number of startups fail to do when they’ve got their sites on big customer numbers or the next impressive client sign-up.

It’s easy to think you should be putting your brand out into the world constantly – but actually, study after study shows that if you’re willing to invest your time and care in the people who are buying from you and engaging with you from day one then your reputation grows in exactly the right way.

Don’t underestimate people’s desire and willingness to share a product or service that’s serving them well – and also, don’t underestimate people’s willingness to share a bad experience – a combination of carrot and stick motivation that you’d be foolish to ignore!

  1. Measure, measure, measure!

Our last tip is short and sweet! Measure everything you do – and if you can’t measure it, find a tool that makes measuring it possible.

It’s only by understanding where your marketing results come from that you’ll be able to reinvest your time in the right activities. If you can follow every single enquiry you get all the way through your conversion journey then you can go back and double down on the stuff that’s producing results.

The Perato Rule says 80% of your business comes from 20% of your effort – and 80% of your effort shows a poor return, offering only 20% of your business. When you work out what’s involved in that golden 20% of your effort, you can scale in an incredibly efficient manner…