by Shivankit Arora, founder of MarketingMasala.com
Kick-starting a business is a thrilling experience. However it’s important to keep in mind that the “build it and they will come” theory doesn’t ensure much success.
As a fundamental principle, building a solid foundation is highly crucial before laying the bricks. Similarly, there are bases that you need to cover before you actually launch your startup in the market amidst steady competition.
In this post we take you through the series of steps that you need to keep in mind before your startup goes live:
Invest time studying your competitors.
Begin by analysing the categories, keywords and audiences your competition is targeting. Understand the USPs they are banking on and how you plan to beat them once you’re in the market. You may also audit the type of content they are sharing on social media and their blogs.
Define your target audience.
If you’re aiming to serve everyone out there, you’re already out of the race. Hence precisely defining your target audience becomes important and that’s where a buyer persona comes into picture. A buyer persona helps you outline every aspect of your target audience like job title, age, gender, earnings, goals and challenges and the marketing message you’ll be using here.
Here’s an example of a B2B buyer persona for a customer who is looking for tools that offer marketing automation and assist him in analyzing the social media activities of his business:
Get started with a blog.
Content is the king when it comes to acquiring customers or expanding your user base. While you get started with penning down your thoughts, always keep your customers in mind. Educating them, resolving their pain points and adding value to their lives should always be the priority, rather than simply putting up sales oriented content.
While developing organic content, try a mix of casual, inspiring and educational content. The best form is quotes, visuals and blog posts. For promotional/sales related content, try producing content which resonates with the beliefs of your target customers. This could involve tapping a trend, empathizing with a noble cause or showing off a testimonial from a satisfied client/user.
One of the examples that strikes me is the blog of Williams Sonoma. The company sells high-quality cookware and maintains a blog not just centered around cookware but cooking recipes, eating, drinking pleasures and much more.
Kick-start social media accounts.
Every customer traces a different journey to avail the services/goods of your business. It, thus, becomes essential to connect with them through every medium.
Social media does wonders if you have an eye for content distribution and engagement. While distributing content, narrow down the networks your audience hangs out on and then decide the frequency of distribution on each network.
In order to stay at the top of your customer’s mind you’ve got to put engaging content live. Here are some resources you could bank on
- Share your blog content
- Latest offers and discounts
- Solving the queries of your customers.
Bonus tip: Apart from simply sharing varied content on social media, you could also devise a plan for social media ads to get in touch with a highly targeted audience.
Build an outreach plan.
To spread the word about your the launch of your business, you’ve got to ensure that you get ample attention from the right audience.
If you are a B2B business, your first choice should be LinkedIn.
- Get in touch with the decision makers of the businesses you’re targeting. Start by appreciating their work and then build up to what is it that you are going to offer.
- Building a list of journalists and influencers who are interested in your idea will be of aid here.
For a B2C business, create a press release kit that can be distributed. Q&A forums and communities are platforms where you should start talking about your product/service.
Decide on a release date.
Deciding on a release date for your business can turn the tide in your favour. Continuously delaying or launching your business in an absurd fashion wouldn’t get you the likes of your audience. You tend to generate a sense of curiosity for your product/service if people know the date of launch.
Here are some hacks you could use in your favour in this case:
- Creating a countdown timer on your website and social media channels.
- Coming up with a teaser video informing your audience with your business’s USPs and launch date.
- Offering incentives to people who avail the first set of services/products.
Setup a pre-launch marketing plan.
What most business owners don’t understand is that marketing starts even before your startup enters the market.
This involves building a highly defined and brand relevant keyword list. These keywords will help you rank in search results and should be incorporated in your blogs, social media and your main marketing site.
A simple way to get going with this list is asking yourself or your team that “What query would someone enter into the search bar to find your business?”.
The next thing that you need to target here are referrals from news agencies, PR firms etc. Simply because these agencies have huge traffic on their sites and blogs, they become the best platform to spread the word about your work.
Here’s how Kano leveraged this opportunity on TechCrunch
And finally, defining the metrics that define success for your business. Be sure your core metrics are not just achievable but accurately measurable and specific. For B2B business the metrics you could be targeting are
- Conversion rate.
For B2C your metrics are:
- Web traffic
- CPC and CPA of social media ads
This is where you pivot your efforts depending upon your results. Make sure you’re gathering data on what’s going on across all your business channels. Google Analytics provides an impressive tool to track your website visits and blog sessions. Analyze the quantity and quality of your traffic in terms of demographics, what are the most popular forms of content or topics, and then do more of those.
Track the engagement rates on content that you push live on social media to see what’s driving more clicks, shares, and likes. Check and track your email marketing metrics as your list grows.
In a Nutshell.
Launching a startup sure isn’t a cake-walk. While you and your team will have to burn the midnight oil once your startup enters the market and competes for customer attention, pre-marketing will surely make your ride smoother. Getting ahead on your marketing before the launch will be a key to your success.
Shivankit Arora is a growth hacker and the founder of a startup marketing agency, MarketingMasala.com. You can connect with him on LinkedIn to know more about growth hacking and startup marketing.