We’ve all seen it happen: A startup with a life-changing idea fails because of its half-baked marketing efforts. Unfortunately, the scenario is a common one even though it can be prevented by taking critical steps. BAM’s marketing team, which has decades of experience working with startups in a variety of industries, spills the beans on how entrepreneurs can maximize their marketing spend.
Know Your Strategy
Here are five quick tips every startup should consider when mapping out their marketing plan.
The idea of strategizing before spending may seem like a simple one, but think about the world of passionate entrepreneurs who are eager to share their ideas or inventions with the world. When you’re passionate about an idea, it can be hard to take your foot off the gas.
If you’re determined to create a lasting company, you’ll have to slow down a bit. It’s best to thoughtfully determine how much money you should allocate to marketing.
The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending between 7% to 8% of total revenue on marketing, while some B2B companies may spend up to 10%.
If you’re unsure on how to even start, reach out to a marketing agency with a track record of success, like BAM, to explore your options.
“We’ve all been in a scenario where it feels like we are still building the plane as we fly it,” said Erika Gammon, who leads BAM’s marketing team. “But it’s important to remember that building a strategy centered around goals will determine where you show up for your audience, who you hire and what you ask for your agency, including how to save time and money.”
Know Your Company’s Brand and Story
What is your story? Why is your brand or product important? And, what are you willing to publicly share? Before you send a tweet to unveil your big idea, think about your company story and what is worth sharing.
Take the time to strategically think about what your company’s brand or story is, and why people should care. Customers and clients should understand who you are and what you do within two minutes, and the story should be explained in a way that anyone could understand.
This is when it’s helpful to partner with marketing pros who can help you hash out what’s noteworthy and what’s not. Then, commit to sharing the story.
“I once worked with a business that had a compelling story to share, which served as the purpose for their mission,” Hoa Sanchez, BAM’s content marketing manager, said. “Weeks after grabbing the media and public’s attention, the owners decided they no longer wanted to talk about the story, which led to lost credibility.”
It makes sense that a company or brand can evolve over time, but completely changing your company story is where you lose the public’s trust.
Know Your Target Demographics and Channels
Who is your target audience? Is your product catered toward small businesses? Are you trying to get the attention of health care workers? Or maybe you want to grab the attention of millennials. Clearly identifying who your target audience is will determine how you market to that audience.
It’s important to understand who your audience is and what channels they are on. While ideally you would be on all channels you can be, as you are getting started and time is a precious resource, you won’t have the ability to do it all right away so determine the three to four channels that are the most important to you.
“I worked with an entrepreneur once that was starting a food tour company and his main customer base was tourists looking for activities while traveling. For his business it was more important to be on TripAdvisor than LinkedIn,” Jane Giuffrida, BAM’s account manager, said. “He understood his target audience would be reading and reviewing restaurants on TripAdvisor when determining what to do in the city they were traveling to, and therefore looking to find an activity such as a food tour. This becomes particularly important when you factor in slim bandwidth and the inability to do it all in the beginning.”
Understanding your target audience, how to attract them and what resources to use will help you create a clear strategy. This doesn’t mean you can’t expand to other audiences — it just allows you to first focus on the audience that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Know Your Competition
Here’s another tip that may seem obvious, but let’s elaborate on why it’s important to know your competition. In the view of marketers, knowing your competition can give you a glimpse of what works and what doesn’t.
Thankfully, with technology, you can easily examine data and analytics that will allow you to understand how your competition is spending their marketing dollars and what’s been proven to be the most effective form of marketing. You can also look for loopholes in their marketing campaigns.
Understanding how your competition works is a simple way to maximize your marketing dollars to ensure you’re not making the same mistakes as the rest, while leveraging the proven avenues of success.
Know It’s OK to Start Small
Finally, know it’s OK to start out with a small marketing budget. You don’t need a Super Bowl commercial to sell your product. You just need strategy.
In fact, even if your marketing budget is practically non-existent, know there are plenty of marketing avenues that may not even cost a penny. For example, starting a blog where you tell your story won’t cost a penny. Other low-cost forms of marketing include social media, SEO optimization and employee testimonials. In fact, national donut chain Krispy Kreme is known for skipping traditional marketing avenues to depend on employee’s word-of-mouth recommendations.
You may not have a glazed-out product to offer the world, but know a brand with a great strategy will go further than a brand with a big budget.
Interested in exploring how BAM’s marketing and innovation team can help your startup? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the conversation started.
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