In the past startups used to be able to rely on big tradeshows to raise their profile, learn about their market, and test messages. But, even with the debate starting around when tradeshows will restart, companies can’t rely on events for their marketing strategy.
Digital marketing for startups is the best way forward, since a good digital strategy allows startups to test messages, generate leads, and close deals now: all on a tight budget. But how do you get started with digital marketing for startups?
How's your Digital Marketing?
Step 1: Build Your Persona
The first step in digital marketing for startups is to look at your target buyer. Here, I don’t mean, “what company does he/she work for”, I mean WHO is the human being that you’re selling to. It is almost a truism to say that people buy from people not companies but in this case it is critical to take the time to understand who the buyer is.
Think about where they live, the challenges they face and even where they get their news. Once you have built up a detailed persona, the next step is to test that persona and the problem you think they have out.
Step 2: Identify the Problem You Solve
Digital marketing for startups is about a narrow focus on business problems and tech solutions. Now that you know WHO you sell to, you need to look at what problem they are facing. Try to quantify the problem and identify the costs of the problem, in terms of money but also stress, lack of advancement opportunity etc. You want to build up a full picture of this problem including answering the question, “ is this a problem the buyer knows they have or not”.
Step 3: Use Marketing to Test your Hypotheses
When you write your buyer persona and work on the problem, you will need to make educated guesses and before you go “all in” with a marketing campaign you need to run test campaigns. Digital marketing for startups isn’t the same as digital marketing for existing companies and this test phase is something unique to startups, so only marketing agencies that are built for startups will be able to help you here.
Generally, a well run test phase includes A/B tested landing pages, Surveys and A/B tested advertisements. Sometimes you will also need to conduct interviews but regardless once you have validated (or not) your hypotheses, you are ready to move forward. One quick point, if your testing phase shows that you’re wrong, you will need to go back to step 1 or 2 to come up with new hypotheses.
Step 4: Launch Content Marketing
Now that you know who you help and with what problem, you’re ready to launch your digital marketing effort. Generally, for technology startups, your digital marketing effort needs to rely heavily on content marketing. There are a few reasons for this approach. But the biggest reason is that if you’re a tech startup, you’re selling new tech and ideas and you need to convince potential buyers that you know what you’re doing. Essentially, the question they will always be asking themselves is “should I buy from this startups, or see if Microsoft, IBM or another big player, has something like this”. Top notch content positions you as a thought leader in your market and gives you the authority necessary to close deals with the biggest companies in the world.
Content marketing also allows you to qualify leads before speaking with them and gives you a tool to use in outbound marketing but that is a topic for another day.