Digital Start Ups Marketing

Digital Start Ups Marketing

In this article we take you through digital start Ups marketing. This article helps as a guide in the process towards producing an effective marketing campaign for your new digital start up.

Planning for the future
In order to understand what you want your marketing effort to achieve for you it is important to have a business plan. Where do you want your business to be? How does that change over time? What products and/or services do you offer? Think about how your products or services fulfill a need or solve a problem for a potential customer. How is your product or service different from other companies within your sector? What makes yours stand out? Who might be interested and who may benefit from having access to what you offer? Understanding your unique selling point is the first step in identifying your ideal target audience.

Digital Start Ups Marketing and Engaging with your Consumer
The skill of effective digital start ups marketing is how best to encourage your customer to engage with your product, brand or service, in order to alter their behavior in such a way that it will benefit the issues identified in your business plan. Will your marketing activity get their attention? Will they become aware of your product or service? Will it create the desire to encourage trial? Will they become your customer as a result of your planned marketing activity?

Getting to know your consumer well will help you to achieve this. How do they lead their lives? What do they do? What are their aspirations? What job they are likely to have? What do they enjoy eating? Drinking? Watching? How do they travel to work? What music do they listen to? What clothes do they wear? If it is a business that you want to market to, what are their business issues? How will your product or service solve these issues? Understanding your target audience is equally important whether you are a digital start up or an established conventional business.

Digital Start Ups Marketing and Research
So how do you understand your target audience and how might they engage with your product or service? It is all about research. There is primary and secondary research. Secondary research uses other people’s research into a similar field, it is often free and can be obtained by a variety of sources, often initially via the internet. However the quality of secondary research is often difficult to decipher and it does not always give a solution that is 100% appropriate for your needs. If this is the case you may need to carry out your own ‘primary’ research. This can be done through interviews, questionnaires on social media, paid for research, focus groups and will depend upon the specifics of your business. You will need to structure your research so the data you collect will help you get clear insights to help you with your business and marketing planning. You may also find that the results of your own primary research may highlight certain insights that could generate your brand or service interesting editorial coverage if harnessed in the right way.

Digital Start Ups Marketing and Choosing the Right Media
The next stage in digital start ups marketing is to choose which media to use to communicate with your target audience. Certain media will reach your target audience more efficiently than others.

Some will be expensive and others will be free. Digital start-ups by their nature will mean that the access to your shop, product or service will have originated on-line, and links to your business are only a click away through on-line media, this will be the most targeted, easiest and cheapest use of media to reach your target audience.

It is therefore important to have a strategy as to how best to use on line media most efficiently…

Your Website & Search Engine Optimization
Does it accurately represent your product or service? Is it easy to navigate? Is it easy for people to buy from it? Does it capture data on who is buying or not buying your product? Does the content of your site optimize against what people are searching for in Google? You can check that by inputting your business details into Google adwords keyword planner https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner. Does your website load quickly? Have you listed it with on-line directories? Does it have links to and from other sites? Does your social media activity link to your website? Will you set aside the time to update it regularly? If you want to see if your website is performing, you can use a website analyzer tool – the one I use is www.http://nibbler.silktide.com/ which is free for its basic service.

Growing Digital Start Ups Marketing and Social Media
If you decide to use social media, do it properly. Engage with it and make it part of your marketing activity to achieve your business goals. So ask yourself what is it you want to get out of using social media? Remember your research into your target audience and make sure that your communication is engaging. There are a lot of different types of social media, who all offer different things so here are the main ones…

Facebook
Most people have a Facebook account, in fact if the users of Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd most populous country in the World behind China and India! Facebook is great for business to consumer communication not only because it can engage with people in their down time, but you can highly target your message. For example if you are the owner of a new pilates studio you can target your message so that only people who have shown an interest in pilates in your local area will see it, now what other medium can do that!

Twitter
Twitter is great medium for business to business and to a certain extent B2C too. There are often forums for businesses to interact with each other. I know a business offering wedding hairstyles and make up for brides and brides-maids. They now get most of their business now via twitter, which has saved them an enormous amount of time and money exhibiting at wedding fairs around the country.

Look for the relevant # to insert behind your key words, and follow like minded people. See if there is a local on-line forum that you can join to communicate with other like minded businesses. Be positive and supportive of others and you should notice that it is reciprocal. Twitter if you have not used it before becomes better and better the more you use it.

Linkedin
The Business Networking site. As with Facebook and Twitter it is also a case of the more you put in the more you get out. Make sure that your profile is up to date and professional. Through Linkedin you can communicate with other influential people within your industry and engage with potential clients. LinkedIn is the ideal networking site to find the right connections you need to grow your business.

Google+
Google accounts for 80% of search engine traffic and having a Google+ account is a great idea especially if you have a client facing business premises. Share your updates on all of your social media platforms including Google+ and it will help you to achieve better search engine rankings.

There are many other social media platforms some of which may be more suited to your business. These include Pinterest, Foursquare,Flickr, Myspace, Tumblr amongst others.

However your communication should not all be on-line.

Influencing the influencers
Brand new start ups can often lack credibility. You may not have been around for long and might not even have many customers yet. Rather than trying to sell to thousands of new people, your time will be better spent selling to a few who can transfer their credibility on to selling your product and services for you. Also think if there is a way in which you may get your existing clients to sell or endorse your goods or services for you. See if you can get editorial coverage for your product or service as the endorsement from an established media owner will add far more weight to the credibility of your business.

Conventional Media
Depending upon your business, social, digital and on-line media may not be sufficient to solve the business issues in their own right. Other more conventional media may be more effective in delivering business results. Choosing the right media for your message is critical to getting your media mix right for your brand. Think about what the piece of communication is designed to do? Is it trying to build awareness? Generate a call to action? Educate your consumer? Go back to your research to see which media your target audience consume? Is there a time of day that would be best to reach them with your message? At home? At work? In a relaxed frame of mind? In a business frame of mind? Will you have to repeat your message again and again or is your message simple and impactful enough for it only to be seen once? Can you afford a meaningful presence within your budget? Will your communications stand out from the competition?

Get Help
Starting your own business is an exciting time. However, it can be time consuming and sometimes stressful. It can be difficult to implement a sound marketing plan when there are so many other things that are taking priority. So it may be worth considering getting outside help with this.

According to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, businesses that seek external advice and information are 14% more ambitious and 50% more successful than those that do not, so it is definitely worth considering.

The government can offer a grant to help ambitious business to grow. The scheme I am involved with is called the GrowthAccelerator.

What is it?
The GrowthAccelerator Scheme was set up by the government aimed at helping small businesses get access to the best advice to help them grow.

It is a service led by some of the country’s most successful growth specialists and designed to help business with growth potential to access new contacts, new sources of funding, and the new thinking they will need to achieve their business goals.

How does the scheme work?
It identifies the most important issues facing your business including its ability to grow, barriers holding growth back and potential for growth.
It helps develop a bespoke growth plan.
It helps appoint a ‘Growth Coach’ matched to the needs of the business.

The scheme in summary
If a client signs up to the GrowthAccelerator programme they can potentially have:
Coaching or support (valued at £3,500 exc VAT) – this could be financial management, access to finance, sales & marketing etc; and
Subsidised ‘Leadership and Management training’ This equates to up to £2,000 matched funding for every senior employee of the business.
The coaching element has to be delivered by a coach registered under the scheme. There are no such restrictions under the Leadership and Management element of the scheme.

Eligibility & Costs
To be eligible for The GrowthAccelerator, businesses must be registered in the UK and based in England, have fewer than 250 employees with a turnover of less than £40m. The companies must be able to demonstrate ability to grow.

There is a cost to the coaching side to the service which is dependent upon the number of employees of the company.

Number of Employees Cost
1-4 £600 + £700 VAT*
5-49 £1,500 + £700 VAT*
50 – 250 £3,000 + £700 VAT*

* Government grants cannot subsidise VAT, therefore the VAT payable is the same regardless of the number of employees and is based upon the ‘value’ of the service, which is £3,500, resulting in £700 VAT.

15,000 businesses are already benefitting from the GrowthAccelerator. GrowthAccelerator will get to the heart of the barriers that are holding a business back and help identify the critical steps needed to be taken to achieve the next phase of growth, rapidly and sustainably.

If you think your business could benefit from The GrowthAccelerator Scheme, or if you would like help with any of the points raised in this article, please do get in touch with me as I would be more than happy to discuss your business issues with you further.

 

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Guest Author – Angus Ogilvy-Stuart is a business and marketing coach accredited through the UK government’s GrowthAccelerator scheme. He has helped a number of new business start ups, and helped some established small businesses to grow. These include South Devon Pilates, The New Lion Brewery, South Devon Joinery, The ‘Old School’ Building Company, T&S Timber Framed Buildings, Eugene Crighton Ltd, Warrior Roofing, The Totnes Cinema & FIYA Marine. For more information or further advice on any of the points raised in this article please visit or contact Angus via email on thebusinessguru@mail.com.

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