Dawn von Bergen
Startups: Why marketing matters
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
Setting up a new business is an exciting time, full of the promise of building a brand, growing a loyal customer base and monetising those customers, in others words - success! But not all start-ups grow into a successful business that delivers everything that was expected. There can be many reasons for this - an inadequate business model, a lack of vision, an inappropriate pricing model or even a lack of funds. But one of the top reasons a start-up doesn't reach the heady heights of success, is a failure to market its goods or services to the correct audience.
Here are my top marketing tips to help make your start-up a success.
#1 Identify your market
Ask yourself these questions:
Is there a market demand for my product/service?
Who are my competitors?
What are their strengths and weaknesses?
What are the business risks and opportunities?
What is the market size?
By answering these questions you can identify what can make your business offering different to your competitors, where there are any needs gaps that your business can fill and identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
#2 Identify your customers
Gather data on your potential customers to identify their needs and buying habits e.g. gender, age, geographic location, income, lifestyle.
For a small business this doesn't have to be a complicated process. Depending on the type of business you are setting up, it could be as simple as talking to friends or to people you know that already use a similar service or product to the one you are offering.
A well-defined customer segment means you can talk directly to them in language they can understand. Your marketing message can then be tailored to meet their motivations, needs and buying habits, making your business the 'go to' for them in the marketplace.
#3 Identify your customer needs
What does your customer look like?
What is the need that drives them to want your product or service? You need to be meeting that need.
What is important to them when buy your product or service - is it simply a price-based decision?
Do they value trust and make buying decisions based on your reliability as a supplier, or the level of customer service your provide?
Do they base their decisions on value for money?
Remember whatever your customers needs - your business needs to be the solution, and to be that solution you need to know your customers inside out!
#4 Get out there
Good marketing gets your business right in front of those that count - your well-defined customer segment. Getting it right can be the difference between success and failure.
So once you are ready to launch you need to let your customers know you are ready for business. Not only do you need to start marketing your business but you need to start marketing yourself. As the owner of a new or small business, your are its public face, and your customers need to identify with you, love your values and what you and the business stand for, and they need to trust you. Here's how:
Create a brand identity and build a website- Most small start-ups have a limited marketing budget, but that shouldn't stop you from showcasing your business. Many forms of marketing can cost little to nothing but your time and efforts e.g. referrals, community networking groups, local business fairs. However, creating your brand and having an engaging website is an investment worth making - and this doesn't have to cost the earth. Using a professional will help ensure an affordable, engaging website that will make your visitors want to stay and find out more about your business, not leave and go to a competitor.
Use social media - you already know who your customers are, so talk to them on the platforms you know they are most likely to use e.g. facebook is used by 65% of UK adults and so advertising reach is big; Instagram advertising can reach around 40% of the UK population, and LinkedIn is predominantly used by the professional population. Social media is a cost effective way of connecting and engaging with your audience.
Optimise your content - use language that your customers will understand. Be consistent and reflect your brand values in the language that you use. Improve your Google rankings by using targeted keywords that you know your potential customers will use when searching for your product or service. Again using a professional who understands how to optimise your content through SEO is a good investment that will pay back.
Engage with your customers - invite feedback and publish it. Make your customers feel a part of your business, most of all let them know they are important. There's nothing better than a return customer.