The lack of complete information has plagued the market since its inception, resulting in price discrepancies and unreached customers. The best product would not be sold without first educating consumers about it. Marketing is a bridge with which companies can attempt to provide more information about themselves and their products to reach uninformed customers.
Marketing is a function that makes or breaks a business, dealing with the complexities of human psychology behaviour in an attempt to convince the consumer to become a customer. Over the years, experts from the field have developed new strategies for the various factors like industry, target customer, business stage etc.
We will be focusing on 5 strategies that are essential for startups in today’s age:
Before jumping into maximising the most popular marketing channels, a company must first develop a brand which requires 2 simple factors – audience and message. Branding is complex and carries an extremely subjective definition, with its meaning varying across different people. It can represent an image, a product type and even a qualitative impression.
Brands connect to consumers on an emotional level. A strong brand message invokes intended feelings in consumers that shape the decisions they make. Creating such emotions requires depth in the message, while maintaining simplicity to connect to the audience. For example, Coca-Cola’s “Open happiness” is extremely simple, while giving a meaningful message to be happy.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
“Google it” has become one of the most common answers to any question. Google holds 90% of the search engine market and averages 5.6 billion searches per day, giving users a mountain of resources to gain the information they need with the first page captures over 70% of the total clicks. This means that not being on the first page will probably cost you at least 70% of your potential customers even if your product fits their needs.
The first and most important step is to master keywords, understanding industry jargons and what potential customers search when looking for your product. Next, have regular content, keeping the webpage active pushes the website up the ranks. Lastly, create a network, by building relations with related content creators and enticing them to link their content to yours. This can also be achieved through spreading content through social media.
As smartphones continue to take over as the primary computing device, optimising websites for mobile usage is also crucial to stay ahead of the game. This is one of the factors Google uses when feeding search results in mobile phones.
Email marketing has been around for decades, showing the effectiveness of a well-crafted message over the years. It is an excellent platform for nurturing leads on a personal level, using data such as products viewed to get better feedback and provide deals that entice potential consumers to become customers.
Besides offers and deals, email marketing can be used like a blog to address a target audience on a particular topic or introduce information. This is effective for startups, who would have few followers on social media platforms, to reach consumers with their message.
4. Social Media
It has been the buzzword in the marketing industry in recent years. As companies take to social media, with CEOs such as Elon Musk and Mark Cuban tirelessly using social media to brand themselves, it is like a warzone fighting for the attention of consumers. Social media has changed the marketing scene tremendously due to its low cost and abundance of space, companies with the highest budgets no longer own the space.
This provides startups the opportunity to reach consumers without having to budget an exorbitant amount just to publicise advertisements. However, the use of paid advertisements and influencers can turbocharge the arduous task of building a strong follower base from scratch.
Working together with influencers that personify the brand message and invoke the same intended feelings through their words. Posts are an effective way to reach the market today. It is important to ensure that there is an alignment of values and branding between the company and influencers to ensure the intended message is sent and received well.
Referrals are arguably the best form of marketing, with the lowest cost and the highest reward. 78% of B2B marketers have claimed that referrals result in better leads. The best feeling that consumers can have towards a brand is trust. Referrals allow companies to leverage the trust built with existing customers to gain the confidence of prospects.
However, the key to building a strong referral system hinges on customer satisfaction. Startups must understand that delivering on their promises is imperative to hiring the best salesmen – their customers. Making excuses and underdelivering simply diminish the referral system.
The next step is getting customers to put in the effort to make referrals. Experiment with different ideas and programs to understand which works best and is most valued by your customer segment, using feedback channels to improve the system. A strong and effective referral system can be an ace in the hole for any startup with a market.
Having a strong product is only half the battle won. Implementing marketing strategies may seem difficult with slow results. However, a well-established brand will carry itself across the marketing channels as the messages weave together and form a strong emotion in the targeted audience. This goes beyond generating leads but induces brand loyalty from existing customers.
About BlackStorm Consulting
BlackStorm Consulting is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and manufacturing.
Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.