Startups lack the sales momentum enjoyed by mature businesses. Starting from ground zero is a ‘tough ask’ of any new business, and it’s made worse when you add a small marketing budget.
So how can new businesses get the word out, and secure new customers quickly? Well, it can be done when you use a two-pronged sales and marketing strategy.
Ideally, you will want to do a lot of the marketing yourself to use your working capital for other expenses. Therefore as a startup, when you hear the word free, it’s exciting as you get to hang onto your money a bit longer. However, there really is no such thing as free as your time is not free, and you only have a finite number of hours in the day!
Choose how to use your time on marketing and, in particular, social media wisely.
Use technology, i.e. online marketing platforms that enable data capture automation and provide segmentation, so you don’t need to manually grow or segment your audience for your email marketing messages.
For example, ESPs (email service providers) like MailChimp can work with your API to add people to your account. When someone signs up via a form on your website, the data is programmatically shared with your MailChimp account. You can also use their RSS feed to programmatically generate and deliver new marketing emails from your blog posts.
What’s worth noting here is, social media has not replaced email. Not everyone is or wants to be on social media; therefore, your business needs to do the lot, i.e. write blog articles, post on social media and send out email marketing messages.
Email is a trusted communication channel, and it’s ideal for promoting new products or services, offering discounts and freebies to secure new business.
A regular email newsletter is also an excellent way of keeping your business at the forefront of people’s minds. Therefore while your email list is growing and the messages are programmed to create and deliver automatically, what’s left for you to do? Create the relevant content.
Google loves dynamic content, and it works for your SEO and where your site ranks in search organic results.
Writing articles, aka blog posts, is time-consuming and takes practice, but it is rewarding once you’ve honed the skill. Also, you can use free tools to help you with developing your content, including:
Struggling to work out what to put on your blog? Use a keyword planner like Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner or HubSpot has a blog ideas generator.
There are lots of ways to get help in crafting your blog articles. For example, using hashtags on Twitter or other social media sites will show you trending content. LinkedIn is ideal for finding out what content other businesses are sharing.
Grammar and spelling checker
If stringing sentences together is not your strong point, you can help grammar checkers like Grammarly. You can now focus just on what you want to say and let the grammar checker add in the commas, improve sentence structure and so on.
Your content will fail if it is copied from other sources without acknowledging the sources. Use a duplicate content checker to make sure your content is unique, and Google will love you for it.
Use a search engine like google to find similar content on the same topic. You can find valuable reference sources to add to your content as outbound links to assist your readers who want more information.
Practice improves confidence
With practice comes perfection – well, not always, but you will gain a lot of confidence from just doing it. Putting your thoughts into words succinctly, i.e. in a few hundred words, will provide your blog visitors with tips and advice.
Your articles presenting your knowledge about your products and services and how they meet customer needs will convert to sales.
Blog writing is also perfect for creating a reputation as a trusted advisor, and it can become a KPI that differentiates you from your competition.
Our blog has tips on content writing. Remember to mix it up too to include other types of content, like infographics, videos, quizzes, and games to improve visitor engagement.
Building an active social media presence on platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram can reward your business with many targeted prospective customers.
Social media is for communicating, not just selling. Focus on creating relationships with current and potential consumers through interacting with their posts, i.e. adding comments and liking. Using this strategy will also help retain clients as they value your availability over a competitor’s aloofness.
Facebook is said to have a small organic reach, which puts many people off the idea of using it to secure new business. However, commercially speaking, Facebook certainly has its uses as it can be used as a fantastic platform for finding potential customers and growing brand awareness.
When you join the Facebook groups, your target audience is also members of you. You have made a connection. Seek to understand their issues, needs and wants and provide the solutions. Your helpfulness won’t go unrewarded.
Your profile will be viewed and shared, and before you know it, prospects are buying from you. This process does not cost anything but your time, and before you know it, you’ve created FAQs, and you’ve worked out it’s now a job for someone else in your business, so you’ve got your time back for other initiatives.
You could also look at the traditional Facebook advertisement too as it’s also highly effective when targeted using personalised data collected from members.
Have you heard of Facebook quizzes marketing? Businesses use the quizzes differently from the notorious Cambridge Analytica, so give this feature a go. Your business can create a Facebook quiz within the rules, and it’s a strategy that works well in monetizing data.
Do you go for paid adverts like Google Adwords or focus on your organic search listing? You’ll need both and this article lets you know why you will need a budget for paid ads to attract new customers and continue with your content and SEO to improve your organic search ranking.
Follow Up Old Clients
You can never be too sure where your new clients will come from, i.e. which sales strategy tipped them to make a purchase.
Perfecting the entire client process is the first important step, so you can ensure that it can go as smoothly as possible each time. You can include following up with potential clients that never completed a purchase.
If you don’t restrain trade from your earlier occupation, follow up with past clients. You may be pleasantly surprised how receptive people who have dealt with you in an earlier role can be, and there’s no harm in asking the question. Your business needs sales, and in this new business phase, where you’re starting from scratch, you need to call on all your resources and a prior occupation and people network to find new customers.
Check your email marketing responses. You may have emails from potential leads who had inquired but did not email you back following the initial contact.
Collaboration For Good
Look for opportunities to do good in your local community if you’re a local business. Hold fundraisers for local charities or donate a percentage of each sale. The same altruism can be achieved for a global cause if you’re an eCommerce business.
Nothing propels your startup to dizzy heights with more sales and followers on your social media profiles than showing your business values giving back more than profit.