About 90% of startups fail. And 10% of those failures happen within the first year.
While there are various reasons startups typically collapse, the second most common reason (29% of cases) is a result of lack of cash. Organizations simply run out of money.
One way to make sure your startup doesn’t fail is by employing the correct marketing tactics for startups that can skyrocket your brand awareness and secure you loyal clients. In this blog post, we break down the essential tools, ideas and resources that can boost any marketing plan for startups, regardless of the budget involved.
Here is the ultimate checklist to conduct marketing for B2B startups:
1. Define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and target market
An important aspect of a marketing plan for startups is starting off by defining your target market and ICP – the ideal customer that fits your products and services according to their demographics (job title, geos, revenue), pain points and goals. In fact, understanding your ICP is a crucial step prior to beginning any marketing efforts. You never want to throw cash into campaigns or promotions before actually understanding who you’re selling to.
Once you have this information, you can use HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool to create buyer persona templates that cater to each specific type of customer by emphasizing what makes them unique.
2. Create concise messaging
Similar to defining your ICP, prior to launching your B2B startup marketing strategy, you need to ensure your brand messaging and positioning is solid. This means translating your products’ services into a clear message, explaining what challenges you’re tackling and how you help solve that problem.
This sounds quite easy to accomplish, however, you want to approach your messaging carefully. Make sure to stand out from your competitors by avoiding similar wordings and phrases. Craft simple-worded messaging and omit over-fluffy marketing jargon.
3. Utilize content marketing to become a thought leader in your niche
By creating a long-term content strategy for content marketing, you can establish your company as a thought leader. This establishes credibility and provides your brand with a lot of exposure. Keep in mind that it is far more effective to focus on thought leadership in a niche as opposed to across an entire industry, which is far more challenging.
When creating your content, you should ask yourself where your audience gets their content, what type of high-quality content can you create, and how often can you create it? In general, social media is a great place to focus your content efforts, and you should ensure that no matter the form of your content, it should provide real value for your target audience and be created consistently. SEO should also be a part of your content strategy. The more you invest in SEO in terms of content building, the higher authority you will gain with time and rank.
4. Focus only on channels that work best for you
From Facebook and LinkedIn, to YouTube and Reddit – the number of channels for promoting your business continues to grow. The trick is understanding which channels will serve your B2B marketing strategy, and which ones are simply not relevant for your target audience. Most startups are limited with their budget and manpower, which means that promoting on every single channel is merely impossible. Additionally, you don’t want to be spread too thin if you’re working with a small budget and trying to maximize on multiple channels. This is why you should only focus on channels that work best for you.
The most common way to understand which channels work best for you is by checking out your competitors – on which channels are they promoting? How is the audience reacting to your competitor’s marketing? Learning from your competitors is a strategic move as you can analyze their product, marketing tactics and sales methods, and seek opportunities in which your marketing tactics can exceed.
5. Don’t forget about your existing customers
As a startup, you may only have a few dedicated customers, if any at all. And while you’ll want to focus largely on growing your business, you never want to forget about your existing clients. The strongest and best marketing you’ll ever gain will come from your loyal clients, which is why you should also invest in retaining accounts.
Some productive methods of keeping your clients include building a loyalty program that rewards them for various types of promotions, such as bringing a new client. You can reward your customer with a discount as a result of ‘bringing a friend’. This may also incentivize them to keep promoting your brand in order to enjoy a discounted price. Other ways of keeping your clients happy can be setting up personal account managers. With a direct point of contact, your customer can feel secure and prioritized.
6. Don’t do everything your competitors do
It’s important to be aware of your competitive landscape. If you haven’t already mapped out your competitors’ messaging, strategies, and niche, it would benefit you to do so. And while for certain things, it’s okay not to “reinvent the wheel” and borrow ideas from your competitors, it’s also important to bring your own perspective and take everything they do with a few grains of salt.
Why? First, they have specified their marketing activities to their exact target audience, which may slightly differ from yours. Second, it’s possible that what they’re doing isn’t working well – you have no way to be sure. And third, every business is different. So while it’s okay to reference what they’re doing, make sure to be creative and unique, and to fit your marketing strategy to your specific target audience.
No one said launching a startup is easy, it’s certainly hard work. But by employing clever marketing tactics for startups, you can increase your chance of success.
Firstly, be sure to define your ideal customer profile and target market so that the budget you allocate to marketing doesn’t go to waste. Ensure that your messaging is simple to understand and concise and speaks to your target market’s pains, explaining to them how your solution makes their lives easier. Utilize strategic content marketing to become a thought leader in your niche, and focus your social media efforts onto a few channels that work best for you rather than trying to conquer all of them.
While you are on the hunt for new customers, make sure that you’re not neglecting your existing customers, as they can provide recommendations for social proof, which is arguably the most important asset a young start-up can have. And lastly, while it is great to remain aware of your competitors’ activities and strategy, be sure not to copy exactly what they do, because they may have a slightly different target audience and what they’re doing might not be the best strategy.
If you’re an early stage start-up looking to ensure that you’re approaching your marketing properly, this check-list is a great place to start.
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