In 2013, there were around 28 million small businesses in the US. Unfortunately, the success ratio of these businesses was at the lower end of the scale.
So, why do startups fail?
There are many reasons for this failure rate:
• Not targeting the right audience.
• Not having the right team or offering a poor product/service.
• Not giving due importance to marketing/going wrong with it.
Marketing plays a big role in your startup’s success. It helps you fight the big boys in the domain and make a play for consumer mindshare; but the reason why entrepreneurs, who are just starting out, don’t get their marketing right is they can’t get a grip on their marketing budget. The fact that they aren’t able to keep their marketing costs down and still implement a results driven campaign, means they either give up or don’t invest a lot of time and effort in it.
So, how do you market your product or service to get noticed by your target audience, despite operating on a small budget?
Here are a few tried and tested digital marketing strategies that will help you win the battle:
1. Leverage Long-Tail Keywords for Your PPC Ads
Signing up for PPC ads does not cost you anything; however this does not mean PPC ads are free. When your ad is displayed to a consumer and if he clicks on that ad, you need to pay-per-click!
The fact that it is increasingly getting difficult to rank organically higher on SERPs, many marketers have jumped onboard the PPC bandwagon. This has led to high-competition for general keywords, which in turn increases the cost per click (CPC) required to maintain visibility on PPC search engines.
A solution for this problem for startups is to leverage long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword will land fewer visitors on your site, but these visitors are more likely to convert as their search term was quite specific. As specific keywords face very little competition, it increases the chances of your webpage showing up higher on search results. Also, you don’t have to pay through your nose for these keywords; you can control your PPC spend.
Add long-tail keywords that are three-to-four word phrases and specific to the product or services that you are offering.
For instance, a startup providing cab services must use a long-term keyword ‘rent taxi service’ or ‘taxi rental provider’ rather than ‘cab service’.
2. Harness the Power of Emails
Email is a tried and trusted channel for marketing. Even though there is a lot of hype surrounding social media, email wins hands down as one of the most valuable channels for marketing.
With 54% B2B and 51% B2C businesses using email marketing for lead generation, there is absolutely no doubt that emails are an effective marketing tool and still very popular amongst businesses.
Though email marketing can be done for free, it is not easy! There has been a rapid decline in open and click-through rates as email service providers offer advanced spam features. For e.g. Gmail offers another promotional tab for all marketing emails.
According to certain studies, out of all the sent emails, only half of the emails are opened and only half of these opened emails are actually read and only half of those readers click on the link provided in the email!
There are many free tools available in the market that let you send emails to your subscribers at a scheduled time to ensure they get delivered at a time when there is maximum chance of these mails getting read.
To get maximum benefit from this channel, ensure your newsletters are mobile-optimized and contain relevant content that interests your subscribers.
3. Engage with Prospective Customers on Social Channels
Businesses with large marketing budgets can leverage paid social media ads like investing in ‘sponsored stories’ on Facebook or ‘promoted tweets’ on Twitter to attract their target audience. But startups with small marketing budgets cannot afford this.
This does not mean all a newbie entrepreneur has to do is remain active on social channels by posting relevant content regularly and engaging with followers; there are various other social tactics they can leverage to grow their business.
One of the best ways is to monitor hashtags for customer discovery and acquisition. Let’s understand this with an example.
For instance, say you have a pizza restaurant christened “ABC Pizza” in New York. Now monitoring hashtags like ‘#Restaurants’, ‘#Pizza’, ‘#New York’ or ‘#NY’ will help you identify prospective customers.
Say, while monitoring these hashtags you come across a tweet:
“Could eat a #pizza right now, that’s how hungry I feel! #NY”
Your next step must be to reply to this consumer and entice him to visit your restaurant:
“Hey @xyz, have you tried pepperoni pizza that comes with greasy cheese and superbly crisped crust at ABC Pizza?”
4. Do the Writing Yourself
“Content is the King.”
Consumers today usually avoid ads, but they are actively seeking digital channels for good content. They search for content to gain knowledge about a product or service, know about a brand or to solve a problem.
Furthermore, content marketing not only generates leads and increases sales; it also helps you build relationships with your customers.
This proves it is an absolute ‘must’ for small businesses to make content an integral part of their marketing efforts. So, maintain a blog section on your website and regularly post articles that are relevant to your industry or business.
Since many newbie entrepreneurs don’t have big pockets, like large enterprises, to invest in content marketing, the best thing they can do to save their dollars is not hire a writer or freelancer to write the content for their startup, but rather handle it themselves.
So, what will this cost a newbie entrepreneur?
To make the best of time, newbie entrepreneurs must make a content marketing schedule.
The world of digital channels is highly competitive. Use the above mentioned digital marketing strategies to create the necessary buzz about your startup, increase website visits and ultimately generate revenue!