Step #2: Reach your audience on the right channels
These 5 channels are essential components of any startup marketing strategy:
1. A website
Websites are versatile marketing tools that work around the clock to help you communicate with your audience and grow your business. Getting started is easier than you may think; there are a lot of tools available to help you build a professional (and budget-friendly) website, even if you don’t have any web design experience.
If you’re not ready for a full website just yet (or you’d just like to create a single page that encourages visitors to take a particular action, you might decide to start with a landing page instead. Landing pages are a great way to collect email addresses, sell an item, or just provide people with a quick overview of your business, your newest products, or the services you offer. If you build a landing page in Mailchimp, you can even use your own domain name to customize your page’s URL and give it a unique, branded feel.
As you’re creating your website, here are a few other aspects you’ll want to keep in mind:
Get a domain name
A domain name is your online identity, so it’s important to choose a name that’s recognizable, that fits your brand, and will be easy to remember.
As you’re considering all the options, be sure to check the availability of each potential domain name on social media. Using the same name across each of your channels can help you establish a unified brand identity and improve your reach. After making your decision, you can buy your new domain name through a registrar (like GoDaddy or Google Domains) or, in some cases, through your website builder directly.
Need some extra guidance? Read our tips for selecting the perfect domain name.
Google remarketing ads allow you to keep your business top-of-mind by displaying targeted ads to people who visit—and then navigate away from—your website. These ads are a powerful way to boost traffic and recapture sales from customers, no matter where they go on the web.
Don’t forget SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process for increasing the visibility of (and the traffic to) your website through search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. And even as a startup, there are a few basic SEO elements that you can incorporate into your website to improve your search ranking, like keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, internal links, and high-quality original content.
For more tips, check out our 10 steps to designing a successful website. Or, if you’re interested in starting an online store, check out this article for a step-by-step walkthrough of the process.
Email marketing is an effective way to build a relationship with your audience and keep them engaged over time. Add a signup form to your website (or landing page) to collect email addresses from visitors, then start sharing updates about your services, content, products, and anything else that might be of interest to them.
If you decide you’d like to take things a step further, you can always ask for extra information from your new contacts, too. Requesting details from new signups—like their date of birth, interests, or location—can help you create even more personalized, relevant content.
(Note: Mailchimp makes it easy to add an embedded or pop-up signup form to any page of your startup’s website. And when you’re ready to start sending emails, we can help with that, too.)
As social media usage worldwide continues to grow, so too does the importance of incorporating social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram into the marketing plan for your startup. Not only can social media be a great way to quickly communicate with your existing fans, friends, and customers, it can also help you expand your reach and encourage more people to check out your website, store, or products.
Facebook and Instagram ads
Facebook and Instagram each have more than a billion users worldwide, which means you’ve got a huge collection of potential customers at your fingertips. With these ads, you can target specific segments of people with ads for your startup—like folks who live in a particular location or are within a certain age range. And if you’re a Mailchimp user, you can create both Facebook and Instagram ads directly from your account.
Twitter provides several different advertising options that can help you raise awareness of your startup, drive people to your website, attract new followers, and more. You can target people by demographics, location, interest, or even based on other accounts they follow or keywords they use in their tweets.
LinkedIn gives startups the opportunity to connect with (and promote themselves to) other like-minded professionals. They even offer the ability to focus your marketing efforts on specific collections of people, like folks who work in a particular industry or have a certain job title.
4. Content marketing
Content marketing is a type of marketing that’s focused on creating (and sharing) content like blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, and infographics for your target audience. Unlike your other advertising efforts or promotional messaging, this content isn’t just about selling stuff; it should provide people with relevant, valuable information that they care about—and actually want to engage with.
Over time, content marketing can prove to be a cost-effective tactic that leads to big benefits for your business. Not only can it help you attract (and convert) new customers, it’s also a great way to establish yourself as a trusted source for information in your field.
Online marketing is the main focus for many startups, but there’s still plenty of value to be found in offline promotion, too. Here are a few ideas:
Create business cards or brochures
Physical items like business cards and brochures are a direct, convenient way to make a great first impression and tell new folks what you have to offer. Design and print professional looking business cards with the name of your business, your contact information, and your logo. Or, create brochures that explain what you do and what type of stuff you sell. Then, look for networking opportunities where you can hand them out to your peers and potential customers.
Go where your customers are
When you’re just starting out, networking can play a key role in developing relationships and getting your business off the ground. Be on the lookout for opportunities to have face-to-face interactions with people who might be interested in your goods or services. Visit trade shows or conferences, attend meet-ups for entrepreneurs in your local area, or do a bit of research and seek out one-on-one meetings with folks who can help you get your business to the next level.
Postcards can help you stand out from the competition and give your audience something tangible to remember you by. They’re a fun way to introduce yourself to new contacts, announce a new release, invite folks to an upcoming event, or anything else you’d like.
Generate positive word-of-mouth
Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools for startups. When people hear that their co-workers, friends, or family members had a great experience with your business, products, or services, there’s a good chance they’re going to give you a try, too. Strive to create a great customer experience and exceed expectations every step of the way.