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Advertising for Startup | How to Promote Your Startup: Basic Ways, Channels, Approaches

Monday, November 22, 2021

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

In any business, advertising is the engine of progress. If people have not heard about your startup, do not know what product or service it offers, they will not buy. We realize how to promote a startup right: why it is relevant to know your client's face and what to pay attention to when choosing channels for promo.

Step 1: Identify the target audience

In order to understand how to advertise a startup, you have to get a good look at your potential client. Why? Marketing strategy development starts with your target audience because it is impossible to sell a product or service to everyone. Having realized what your client is, you can correctly deliver the product, solving «pain» and buyer’s problems.

How to get a portrait of your own target audience? Fill in your client's questionnaire in detail. It should include demographic aspects (age, gender, marital status), geography (country, city), economy (field of activity, salary), social sphere (hobbies, lifestyle), behavior and psychology (consumer characteristics, nature of purchases).

After filling out the questionnaire, segregate your target audience (TA) —  this will allow you to sell different services or goods to different groups of people. Mark Sherrington’s 5W methodology, based on five questions, is suitable for segmentation:

  1. What? (What?) —  a description of the product or service you offer. You segment the audience by product.

  2. Who? (Who?) — who buys your product? You can focus on the portraits of the client proposed above.

  3. Why? (Why?) — the reason why customers will buy the product from you. What customer problem does your product solve? What motivates your target audience to buy?

  4. When? (When?) — at what point do consumers need your product or service?

  5. Where? (Where?) — where will your customers buy your product, through which sales channels?

How to  get information about  the target audience? 

  • Use Google Trends, Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica search queries.

  • Keep an eye on your competitors: who they interact with.

  • Leave the application form on your website.

  • Attend thematic events, conferences, trainings, meetups and communicate with your target audience live.

  • Use social networks: you will be able to view the profiles of your potential customers in thematic public sites.

Step 2: Develop your marketing strategy

Marketing strategy is the basis without which the promotion of your startup is impossible. She answers 3 questions: 

  1. What to do?

  2. How to do?

  3. In what order?

First, conduct a primary market analysis. With the help of Wordstat and Google Trends services, you can check the number of queries on your topic. For example, type in "T-shirt design in Minsk" and see the number of requests. 

Analyze your competitors. Make a list of competitors in your niche and evaluate the following indicators: 

  • What benefits do they bring to customers?

  • What psychological techniques do they use to motivate the customer to buy?

  • Conduct monitoring in social networks: brand mentions, reviews.

  • Compare their call-to-action, pop-up forms.

  • Find their strengths and weaknesses, how they stand out in the market.

Analyze the cases of your competitors. At this stage, you need to realize how you will be able to stand out from the competition and which ways of promotion you should use to attract leads. To search for competitors, you can use parsing services, response sites, marketplace, view advertising activities from thematic bloggers, and hashtag recommendations.

Determine the capabilities of your product. Determine the advantages of your product among competitors that distinguish it from the rest.

 Step 3. The main ways to promote a startup
  1. Use email marketing. Create a database of contacts of your potential customers. Post a newsletter subscription form on your website.  Take care of the mailing: it should be interesting and useful for your clients, so dilute commercial messages with practical guides, instructions, infographics or video. If you send only advertisements for your product, subscribers will stop reading you.

  2. Start a blog. Company blogs lead to organic search traffic. Publish interesting content for your audience, optimize articles, and attract more subscribers. Remember that your content should be of interest to your target audience and solve their problems: only the company’s news will be of no interest to the readers. Do not forget that you can also get clients from social media where you post your blog posts. High quality and useful content will allow you to convert readers to clients.

  1. Pump up social networks. By correctly adjusting advertising on social networks, you will be able to pump traffic and find customers. Publish relevant content, communicate with subscribers — be the mouthpiece of your startup.

  1. Develop your personal brand. Feel free to post news or content about your startup on social networks, especially if you are a founder. This strategy will help you increase your reach and find customers many times faster: after all, no one has canceled the rule of six handshakes.

  1. Set up targeted advertising. Paid keyword search is a well-known and profitable way to promote a startup. Your ads appear in search results when people search for phrases or words related to your business. For example, if you sell custom-designed T-shirts, you can target the phrases "T-shirt design online", "your print on clothes" or "create your own clothing design online". The CPC (Cost per Click) model is attractive because you pay only if a person clicked on your ad. At the same time, a much larger number of users see it, but you do not pay.

  1. Sponsor partner events. Choose an event that is interesting to your audience and become its sponsor: your presence will become your advertisement. This is a pretty good way to interact with your audience and promote your startup.

  1. Cooperation with the media. Mentioning your startup in various media will allow you to tell about your project, increase your recognition, build your reputation and promote your product or service. Make a list of specialized media that reach your target audience and actively promote your content from comments to reporters and expert interviews to guest blogging on feature sites. Remember that content is king, so try to build your content strategy and reach as many resources as possible.

  1. Create a reputation for yourself with the help of reviews from satisfied customers. According to a HubSpot report, 38% of agencies surveyed rely on recommendations to attract new customers. Reviews of happy customers are a great start for young companies. It's no secret that a client is more likely to believe another client than a company or brand. You can add reviews to your website. In addition, attract bloggers and influencers: send them your product or service with a request to test it. By the way, now many bloggers advertise only those products/services that they liked.

  1. Free gifts and discounts. To encourage the customer to buy, think about the possibility of providing free gifts (T-shirts, thermal mugs and other souvenirs), as well as discounts and gift coupons for the next purchase. Giving away free T-shirts is considered one of the most popular strategies to increase brand awareness.

  2. Optimize your website. Visitors to your site (= potential customers) want to receive everything at once. If your site takes a long time to load or its interface is incomprehensible to the user, then your potential client will not stay long. Google also doesn't like to scan slow sites. Make sure that every page of your site is optimized. For a growing company, SEO audit and clear UX design are very essential for further growth and development.

Which promotion channel to choose for my startup?

At the beginning of the journey, startups often do not have a budget for paid promotion. Use inexpensive channels for this, but keep in mind that in this case your promo will not bring results soon. You can create an advertising campaign on Facebook in 15 minutes, while writing a blog post will take several hours (and you will have your first clients only after a selection of posts).

Find out the purpose of your promotion (for example, it may be online sales) and analyze in detail the portrait of your target audience. After that, choose the most suitable channels where your target audience lives.

Find the key channel where your audience is sitting, add to groups and communities and launch ads.

Let's say you're making an app to reduce stress in the workplace. Your target audience: white-collar and IT professionals from 20 to 35 years old, working in medium and big companies. They are prone to burnout, often change jobs, love memes, take off TikTok (and stick to it), drink a lot of coffee at work, at home and in the city, and are interested in various methods to improve their lives. They spend their free time online, browsing TikTok and YouTube, flipping through Instagram and Telegram: why not run ads in these channels? 

What if there are two or more good channels? Test one, but don’t put the whole budget on it. Become a superprofessional on this channel. But if you see that promotion is not converted to sales, use another promotion channel.

Follow the situation and trends. The key is to be relevant and prepare the content you need here and now.

Constantly check the metrics: the data will show how successful your marketing efforts are. If you can't measure some indicators, you won't be able to optimize them. For analysis, use Google Analytics, HubSpot, Semrush, YouScan.

Be patient. Quite often, startup owners abandon the promotion channel at the most inopportune moment. Remember that fast promotion costs a lot of money, so do not jump to conclusions and continue the promo.

22 Nov 2021


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