Marketing Your Startup

By, Puja Parekh, Enabler at Espark-Viridian, India

The biggest obstacle for most startups that are still in their infancy is marketing. Their idea may be fantastic, but what good is that, when no one knows about it? To make sure this is not the case, you first need a comprehensive marketing plan; that allows you to grab people’s initial attention, build a reputation in the market/industry and, eventually create an appeal that will rope in money.

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Start with driving your marketing goal from your primary business goal. Do not spend time planning and researching, instead develop untested assumptions and quickly test those assumptions in the marketplace by using tools like google analytics, facebook analytic and others to track your goals. Break down your goal, into short-term goals, implement them, analyze, learn and iterate your plans accordingly. Now before you read further on marketing your startup, leave all your perceptions on marketing a business on the side. It’s the age of starting-up! So here it goes:

Get a mentor! Yes, you heard it right. Getting a mentor will not only help you build a better business and tackle specific issues but it will also help you connect with the right people. From a marketing perspective, having a few good mentors on your side makes your product look more credible during fundraising.

Write blogs about the market, the industry your product is in; mention recent news, and use relevant tags against the blogs in order to drive traffic. Also, make sure that you share these articles on social media platforms to target the right audience. Blogging is not just about sharing what your opinion, it’s about sharing relevant information/ knowledge and doing it smartly.

Participate and speak at events, to be the face of your product. Showcase the superiority/ advantage your product holds. Visibility and presence are key in the ecosystem!

Build your database list, collect and keep a database of your customers, contacts, users or targets from the very start; and populate it as you go along. This is also how you build a network and analyze your reach.

Identify which social media channels
will be most suitable for your service/product. For example, for any physical product, you can use Instagram; for B2B products, LinkedIn will be more relevant and for B2C products, Facebook is generally effective. You can also use other social media platforms like Twitter, Quora, Pinterest, Youtube, Google+, Reddit. Keep in mind, select platforms that work for your brand, don’t just be present on a particular media because someone else is. Again, align your media choices with your goals. Pursue your audience to interact and engage with you- through feedbacks, opinions, or photos of them using your product.

Cross promote startups who are not directly competitive with you by promoting each other’s products in person, at events or on social media. Form alliances to market cohesively.

Invest in building personal relationships by spending time following up/catching up with the people you meet. Good relations in the startup ecosystem or your industry is the best channel for free advertisement.

Last but not least, your passion for your business will be infectious, so be passionate about what you do. All in all, prepare SMART goals(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). Record all activities, analyze, conclude, iterate and keep focusing.

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