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Content Marketing Digital Marketing Lead Generation Marketing Strategy SEO

5 Things I’ve Learned While Marketing for Startups

I have been a part of many startups including a production company, a real estate website, and a tech company innovating a new type of battery. In that time, I have seen patterns emerge that lead to success and I have seen the red flags of failure over and over again. I want to share the top 5 things that I’ve learned while marketing for startups so that you can see the success you can achieve, as well as some dangerous potholes in an already bumpy road. 

1. Build, then market.

Before you even start to think about marketing your brand, you need to build it. The excitement of your new startup might motivate you to start running for new connections, but it is so much harder to run before you’ve even put your shoes on. Some key infrastructures that need to be in place are: 

  • Logo/brand image: Can people tell who you are at a glance? 
  • Uniform social media platforms: Will people feel the same way when visiting your Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and website? 
  • One message: Is there a strong “why” behind your startup that people can grab onto? 

2. Become or Hire a Generalist. 

SEO, social media, lead generation, content creation, data analysis. There are so many factors to marketing in today’s world. Big firms will tell you that you need to get a SEO specialist to ensure that your website gets the right exposure, or that a social media expert is needed to make sure that you connect with your consumer base.  

All aspects of marketing are equally as important to startups in their early stages. Hiring a specialist or only learning how to do one thing well may bring you success for that one aspect of your business, but this will hurt you in the long run because have neglected everything else.  

Give your business a strong foundation by generalizing. Doing everything well is important to make sure that when you grow you will be ready to bring on specialists.

3. You Will (Probably) Need to Spend Money.

A lot of marketing can be done for free; SEO, content building, developing a social media presence. But you should not be afraid to spend money on it. If people don’t know about your new product or service, who’s going to be your client?  

Designating some of your budget for ad spend is just as important as hiring that new part-time developer because if you don’t have a client base, you won’t have a startup for much longer. 

4. Don’t SellEngage.

If what you are doing is completely new, people probably won’t even know why they need your product or service. At such an early stage, you have the ability to engage your consumer base and share your central why behind what you do.  

Help them understand why they need your product or service by explaining the future you are creating. You can do this with: 

  • a promotional video; 
  • blog posts; or
  • responsive communications on social media.

5. Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Your Community.

Being a part of your local community or the community of your peers makes a big difference to your startup. If you scratch their back, they will do the same for you. 

Sponsoring a community event can be a great way to gain exposure and to network with people you may need to know further on in your development. When you are involved in the community of your industry peers who are more established than you, you may be able to learn from their mistakes and seek help or advice from them. Don’t forget that networking is an essential part of marketing. 

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Content Marketing Digital Marketing Lead Generation Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing Tactics vs. Strategy

Why Your Advertising Isn’t Working 

As a business owner myself, I am often (almost daily) informed about some new way to advertise my business or some new online tool that is going to revolutionize my business. These tools could be super useful, and the advertising method may attract attention and maybe even clients. 

However, the reality is often that the new advertising method or tool doesn’t result in new clients, and business owners like us are left feeling like we threw our money away.  

Here are a few questions every business owner should be asking themselves when it comes to their advertising and marketing opportunities: 

  1. If I’m attracting attention, what do I have in place to make sure its the right kind of attention? 
  2. Do I have tools working for me that ensure I achieve the maximum benefit of the attention I get? 
  3. The buying cycle is about the clients decision-making process, so how am helping the clients inform their process and move them closer towards trusting my business? 
  4. If Im getting attention, and maybe even phone calls and opportunities to create clients from the attention, am I properly positioned to do so? Can I handle the work? 

This is where the advertisers and marketers calling you with a new way to market run into trouble. They tell you about all the reach you are going to get because you bought into the advertising opportunity. What they don’t do is help you make sure you are set up to create and receive clients from your advertising and marketing efforts. 

Back to Basics Before Strategy 

This is where your marketing strategy comes in. Before choosing a strategy, a business must consider some basic business and marketing plan essentials. Think about these elements of your business: 

  • Who or what is my business? 
  • What do we do? Why are we better than the competition? 
  • Who are my clients? 
  • What problem do we solve for clients? 
  • Where do my clients come from? How do I find them?
  • Who is my favourite client? Where did I find them?
  • Who are my competitors? Who do my favourite clients think are my competitors?
  • If I receive more phone calls or sell more products, can I handle that? Do I have a growth strategy?
  • What’s the true lifetime value of a client?
  • Does my pricing structure support the cost of growth? 

It’s only after we back up a little and ensure that these essentials have been considered that we can write a marketing plan that includes a social media and digital marketing strategy for your business. 

The Magic Potion of Digital Marketing 

Anyone can post an ad on Google or Facebook; the tools are relatively easy to use. You can push out the message easily, just like running a radio ad. Yes, people will hear about you for sure. They may even mention the ad when they become a client. But what they don’t share is the journey they took to decide to become your client. 

Your digital strategy itself must include a plan for nurturing your perfect client along through the buying cycle of your business, whether the buying cycle is a 15 minute, an 8 week, or even a 1-year cycle. This part of the strategy is the magic potion of a digital marketing strategy and very few of your marketing calls will ever help you with this. 

At Stone City Digital Inc., this magic potion is our differentiator. Our on-boarding process takes our clients back to the essentials, and we build in a prospect nurturing sequence for our clients before we implement any digital marketing at all. This magic potion recipe is different for every business, and we are committed to discovering yours. 

The Client/Customer Journey 

Stage 1: Initial contact 

The potential client/customer heard the radio ad, saw a bus bench billboard soon after the radio ad, and then looked up your business on Google. Maybe they even went to your website to check out pricing. Perhaps they noticed your Google reviews. Two were 5star reviews but there was a 2-star review there too. Finally,  they checked out your competitors and decided to hold off a bit. 

Stage 2: Reminder but no follow through 

A few weeks later an ad popped up on Facebook while they were watching a funny video. They took no action. A few days later, while on YouTube, a quick 6 second commercial popped up in their music video. Still naction. 

Stage 3: The need arises 

The need for your product or service truly arises, and the potential client/customer realizes they shouldn’t delay the purchase anymore, so they return to your website. There they find a welcome back message with a coupon. They visit your competitors website too. No coupon. They decide to complete the purchase with you, not because the competition’s product isn’t better than yours, but because they know your company better, they’ve seen more of you, and now your product or service is on sale.  

Reaching Your Perfect Client 

What a great digital marketer brings to the table is being able to help you reach your perfect clients during their journey and bring them to a place where they trust you enough to choose you when they are ready to buy. 

There’s no silver bullet to any marketing. Yes, we use tactics and some commonly used tools that anyone else can use. However, Stone City Digital Inc. critically addresses the essential questions listed above by ensuring that you have a marketing and digital marketing strategy that includes a plan for nurturing your perfect client through the entire buying cycle of your business.  

The next time you consider an advertising opportunity, ask yourself, “Is this tactic going to bring me my perfect client and get them into my buying cycle so I can nurture my relationship with them? “

If your answer is no or even I don’t know,” call us. We can help. 

Categories
Digital Marketing Marketing Strategy

Know Your Business, Know Your Value

Youre an expert in your business.  

You know your business or product better than anyone and you know the value you bring to your clients. 

But have you written that information down and used it consistently? Have you clearly stated your value proposition in digital spaces such as your website and your Facebook page?  

Your value proposition is ultimately a brief explanation to clients and customers as to why they should purchase from you or hire you instead of someone else. Essentially, your value proposition is an outline of what makes you unique. 

For example, our unique value proposition at Stone City Digital Inc. is that, “We build and implement digital marketing strategies while educating, engaging and empowering our clients to participate fully in their digital marketing strategy through their entire business lifecycle.” Our purpose at Stone City Digital Inc. is to teach businesses to fish rather than to sell them fish.  

Now, consider your own business: 

  • What is it that your business does? 
  • How does it make your clients lives better? 
  • How do you do it? 
  • How does your competition do it? 
  • Why are you the best choice above all other competitors? 

Spend a little time with these questions if you haven’t already, and write down your answers. Writing this information down is key to focusing your business’ purpose and offeringsAttempt to combine your answers into a nice and tidy little statement in one or two sentences (or even less).   

If you’re finding that you are having a little trouble composing your unique value proposition, check out Strategyzer’s explanation here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=D254suPMpwY&feature=emb_logo 

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Digital Marketing

Is Going Digital Driving You Crazy?

Are you struggling to get your business online? 

You know you need to be online because all the experts say so!

Figuring out which digital route to go with your business can be overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. 

Stay tuned as we outline various marketing strategies to get your business online and reach your ideal customers and clients.