In order to get your Start -Up off to a good start your going to need to put a significant emphasis on marketing. I wrote an earlier posts illustrating the evolution of marketing and 101 tips from small business bloggers both of which deliver insightful ideas about marketing.
This Post is much more than that. Consider this a blueprint if you will. A blueprint from experience, of the things small business owners need to do during the first 90 days to survive and progress not only from a marketing standpoint, but as a business as well. Success is made up of small accomplishments. While business plans are great tool for attracting investors, but as far as the detailed operations on the day to day, business plans’ 5-10 year projections just won’t cut it. Studies have shown that 90-day increments work best for this application.
Few things to remember… The list is made up of strategies. Strategies are meant to support organizational goals and do not flow far from “The Big Picture”. Build a sound marketing strategy – identify goals, build your messaging, pinpoint target audiences – before you start implementing these strategies.
Here are 10 marketing strategies every start-up should consider implementing within the first 3 months of operation:
1. Build a clean, easy to navigate website.
I know. Obvious right? You’d be surprised how many miss this crucial step. Remember this – you have between 3-10 seconds just to convince a visitor to move further on your site.
And if you’re a start-up that doesn’t think you need a web site at all, I wish you luck. No need to read further. If you’re a start-up looking for help with web design or any of these strategies, StrotherWeinberg Ltd can certainly help.
2. Create a blog, post quality content, and learn how to market it.
You’re still reading this post because you find the content interesting and the site doesn’t look half bad. You’re here because you found the content via a search engine, another website, or perhaps a social media property like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
If your website is your brochure (and hopefully it doesn’t look like one), then your blog is your platform to express your ideas and distribute some of your marketing content.
3. Spend the time to do the basic SEO work, or have someone do it for you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), generally speaking, rarely will impact your business in the short-term. That being said, don;t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t worry about effective SEO strategies, because they do make a difference. Even the most basic SEO work, if done appropriately, will pay significant dividends eventually.
4. Do some public relations, or at least a press release announcing your launch.
Not many start-up can afford to spend thousands of dollars a month on retaining a public relations agency, but don;t let that be an excuse to ignore public relations. Empty pockets never held anyone back only empty heads and empty hearts can do that! You can get a high quality press release written, distributed and pitched for as little as $1,500 – $2,000, even less if you do some of it yourself.
5. Get involved in social media.
Please be clear, do not go social media crazy, joining all 10,000 social media properties and start posting. Social Media is all about building relationships.. listening, learning and posting. Many start-ups make the mistake of join and post. They skip right over the listen and learn part. Typically speaking, start-ups are in such a rush to show some traction, and unfortunately some judge traction on Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and LinkedIn connections.
6. Make your first customers raving fans, and squeeze everything you can out of them *This is Key*.
Those who have launched start-ups know that you rely on your immediate network for feedback and funding during the first stages of operation. Provide exceptional service to those customers, solicit as much feedback as possible, and then use those customers in press releases, case studies, testimonials, videos, etc. Of course, I would recommend asking for permission from those customers first.
7. Send an email newsletter on a monthly basis if possible.
If you’re executing on some of the items above and below, you’ll have plenty of content for a basic email newsletter that updates customers, prospects, investors, media, friends and family on the company’s progress.
Much like public relations, is there a good reason NOT to send a quality email newsletter to 500-2,000 people that have some level of interest in your business? For more information check out my post A Business Guide to Email Marketing on how to execute an email marketing campaign.
8. Install web analytics. Monitor it. Don’t obsess over it.
Web analytics packages are a great way to visually chart your progress. Being able to see all the cool stuff that is trackable on your website, is such a great motivator.
Go get web analytics installed on your website, couple it with pay-per-click advertising and let the fun begin. Look at the results once a day or once a week, whatever makes you feel comfortable. Just don’t get too caught up in why your site attracts more visitors from Idaho than Florida until you have enough data to make reasonable judgments.
9. Start considering distribution partners “Win-Win Situations *This is Key*
Granted this is easier said than done. Unless you are pursuing the most unique target market in the history of the world, there are likely other companies that have already climbed that mountain and can claim thousands of customers in your target market. You need to start conversations with these types early, as partnership deals rarely happen quickly.
This should start during the 90-day period, but likely won’t show results during those 90 days. That being said, imagine the marketing cost savings of reaching a partner’s existing 2,000 customers vs. attempting to acquire those 2,000 customers through traditional marketing means.
10. Get organized and actually create your 90-day marketing plan.
Especially in a start-up, whoever is responsible for marketing needs to be one of the more organized people in your organization. Chances are you don’t have a lot of marketing dollars to spend, and therefore you need to be extremely efficient with the tactics you execute. Disorganized people are never very efficient.