You’ve got all the pieces together to get your start-up off the ground: a great idea, a couple of people on your team already and a vision for the coming years. But one vital piece left to decipher is a start-up marketing plan.
Marketing is for many start-ups one of the biggest challenges during their incipient stage. A fantastic idea or product doesn’t help much if no one knows about it. The need for a comprehensive start-up marketing plan is clear: you need to get people’s initial attention, build a reputation for thought leadership, and, eventually, find the viral appeal that will accelerate your business’ growth.
Start with a Strategic Position
From the start you should avoid doing marketing for the sake of doing it, putting ads all over the place and occasionally post on social media networks. You need a plan.
The first step toward a successful marketing campaign is a strategic position.
Start off by defining the category your product or service would fit in. Map it to its key product benefits, the unique value proposition, and competitor benchmarking — right down to core messages and launch strategies, plans and objectives — for the first 6–12 months.
Having answers to these fundamental questions will help you get a sense of how to go about building your brand. You’ll know where to promote and who you’re speaking to.
Build a Content Marketing Plan
Publishing great content that people value is a significant advantage when it comes to marketing. Well-written articles will help you build relationships with prospective customers.
Content marketing is a tool for relationship-building at scale. Create interesting stories and you will reach exponentially more people than a whole department of salespeople. A small start-up can develop a big voice through blogging and even become an industry thought leader.
Build Your Reputation with Effective PR
At the same time, your reputation won’t solely be based on your content. Professional media can also be an asset to your business.
Building good relationships with the press can get you favourable media attention that will enhance your brand and spread awareness.
Generally it can be tough for unknown start-ups to gain attention. Budgets are tight, relationships with journalists may not be that strong, and explaining a new concept is difficult. Positive press can be one of the biggest drivers for start-ups looking to raise awareness about their product and grow their user base.
See if you can persuade a local newspaper or broadcast reporter about your product. Highlight the human angle and demonstrate how your product can make a difference in people’s lives. This will make for a great headline and you might get some positive mentions in the media, which will prove to be a good springboard for your brand.