By Sweta Patel
Business owners tend to forget that marketing isn’t only about acquisition. It’s also about the end-to-end customer experience.
I often help business owners create marketing strategies using cost-effective, non-traditional methods. Non-traditional methods focus on growth, and rely on testing, tracking and scaling. Here are five ways to upgrade your startup’s marketing strategy today:
Research Your Competition
As business owners we all have competitors who sneak up on us to find out what is working and what isn’t. To gain the upper hand with competitors, I check DataFox to gain insight in the private technology sector. For other industries I recommend Talker Walker and configuring it to match the competition’s keywords. To find those keywords use ispionage. Then use WhatRunsWhere to find out which ads the competition runs. This information helps me design specific banners and ads for my paid sources.
Next, focus on rankings and the competition’s audience. Use Similar Web and check for the competition’s inbound links, top performing pages, link domains and anchor page using Open Site Explorer. Last, I use Nibbler to get a free report on competitors and the accessibility of their sites.
Best Practice: Make a list of your top 20 competitors and create a spreadsheet with six columns to compare and contrast the information. Technology evolves, so repeat this process every three months. Go for it; research your competition.
Create A Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing has helped my startup clients achieve marketing initiatives. Content marketing is powerful because it educates your prospects. Content marketing takes the sales person out of the equation and keeps the prospect closer. When you create content and distribute it within your channels, you will find that you are automatically turning your cold leads into warm leads. For content ideas, we use the content idea generator and Buzzsumo to find articles. We check the data to see which content is performing best and make our implementation decision from there.
I use Evernote to organize all my content because I never know when an idea will strike, and when it does I may not be at my desk.
The fun part is crafting the content. First I start off with Contently. This platform constantly gives me feedback on how I can improve my content to achieve business results. Then I use a combination of Canva and VideoScribe to create content our audience loves. To improve content we use Content Auditor to re-evaluate all prior content.
Lastly, rinse and repeat by discovering and distributing new content. We use Foster to distribute and discover new content. Then we use distribution services such as Slideshare, HackerNews, Inbound and Reddit.
Best Practice: Start by mapping your content in an organized fashion. Here is a great article that supports Content Mapping. Then figure out the content workflow to keep your content marketing strategy consistent.
The Twitter Marketing Strategy
Most social media experts I know acquire new followers by frequent tweeting and using hashtags. But I’d propose a far simpler solution. In the ubiquitous world of Twitter, reciprocity is one of the best ways to increase reach. It also helps to transform strangers into passionate customers.
We use a Twitter management tool called Flutter to help us identify our competitors and import all a competitor’s Twitter followers into a dashboard that shows accounts that have been active in the last 24 hours. I recommend only following accounts that are active in the last 24 hours because reciprocity is feasible when a follower is active.
Best Practice: When trying to stir up beta testers for your minimum viable product, use Flutter to find viable prospects for product-testing. Try to evaluate 100 accounts a day.
Marketing Through LinkedIn
One of the easiest ways to upgrade your marketing strategy is by becoming a top influencer in your industry on LinkedIn. This strategy has been a game changer for a few of my clients who became top influencers.
First, join 50 industry-related groups on LinkedIn. Then sign up for a pro account with Hootsuite for $10 a month. Now create a Hootsuite team with all your LinkedIn Groups. Then program in all your posts once a month (should take about 2 hours) to all your groups.
Best Practice: Do not include any links to the groups, because they are not favored by LinkedIn.
Launch A Funny Video
For example, the Dollar Shave Club killed it with this video. The best videos for startups introduce the problem, introduce the bad alternatives, explain the solution, show why the solution is the right choice, and, most importantly, show how the solution works for others who resonate with the viewer. And then there is the call-to-action.
Here is how you can organize your video to upgrade your minimum viable product marketing strategy.
- Start out by creating a storyboard (layout) for your video.
- Add visuals.
- Add attention-grabbing voice-overs and sound to give your video that extra appeal.
- Make a rough cut and send it to your beta tester list before you create the final version.
- Create the final version and send it to your audience to critique.
Best Practice: Create 3 videos and 3 storyboards. Pick the one that speaks to the hearts of viewers.
So, upgrade your startup marketing strategy with these five ingredients: competition check, content marketing strategy, LinkedIn, Twitter, and a funny video. What did I miss?
Sweta Patel is a San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur whose company is Global Marketing Tactics.
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