In the last post, I wrote about how social media is not your only marketing tactic which raises the question as to what marketing tactics are best for any start-up to pursue. The answer, unfortunately, is "it depends".
It depends on your target market, objectives for the marketing campaign, the product and service you are trying to promote and the big one, budget. With start-ups, more times than not, it is this last one, budget, that ends up determining the tactics and that's why social media is so appealing. But, let's take a step back and figure out what would be most effective and cost-efficient rather than follow the crowd.
For me, I think the start-up marketing plan can be summarize in four simple words: create content, get found. I believe this is the cornerstone of most marketing initiatives today and there are tactics that you can use to make this possible without breaking the budget.
I talked about how creating valuable content can make your marketing more credible in the past but it's more than that. Content can and should be the foundation for all your marketing campaigns. Creating compelling content can position you as a thought-leader in your industry and helping prospects solve their problem with educational information will lead them to your product.
This content can take many forms and in a lot of cases you can reposition the same content in multiple formats to appeal to a wider audience. Obviously, a website that is deep in content is a good place to start and a blog can go a long way to help accomplish this goal. You can also publish eBooks, white papers, videos and tutorials that are even more detailed. Writing these will take some time but the tools are available to publish these very inexpensively.
Once this content is created you need to make it easy for your prospects to share which is a key way for you to get found. Social media, including Facebook, Twitter and others, can make sharing very easy and once again the tools are free or inexpensive. You can also look into sharing this content on other sites that are specific to your industry or depending on format Slideshare, YouTube and others are a good platform to consider.
But most important to getting found is search as illustrated in a recent study reported on Search Engine Land that nearly 60 percent of cases that end in a purchase begin with search. I've read where that percentage is even higher but the point is that ranking high in a search result is key to getting found so putting some precious money or time into search engine optimization or even buying ads on search engines is a very effective way to getting found. The good news is that producing new content helps you rank higher so one leads to the other.
At the same time, combining tactics to help you get found will also drive more conversions. This same report found that “40 percent of consumers who use search in their path to purchase are motivated to use social media to further their decision making process” so combining search with social media is a win-win proposition to turning the prospects you find into purchasers of your product.
The idea of creating content to get found seems so simple yet many start-ups focus on the latest tactics or feel compelled to try more expensive marketing initiatives and break the budget. Don't do it. These tactics are a good foundation for any marketing plan. Let me know what low-cost and effective marketing tactics you have used successfully with your start-up.