eMarketing For Startups – Come On In, The Water’s GreatKenneth Nel
Your journey of a thousand sales begins with a single click. But if you’re a brand-new start-up business, getting that first, precious click can be tricky. No one knows who you are, what you do or where to find you.
You need to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion! Blow your own trumpet, strut your stuff and do whatever other clichés take your fancy.
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I know you’re thinking you don’t have the budget for any kind of marketing efforts, but, with all due respect, you’re wrong. There are a gazillion marketing opportunities out there, and many of them can be taken advantage of even if you have a very tiny budget. Okay, so possibly not a gazillion, but a lot anyway.
Affordable exposure to your specific target market is what makes eMarketing a truly wonderful thing. You can start as small as you need to, and build slowly, increasing your reach and your spend as your business grows.
What Is eMarketing?
eMarketing is pretty much the love child of age-old, much-loved marketing principles and modern communication technologies. You may already have heard of it under its other names, digital, online and internet marketing, but they all refer to pretty much the same thing, which is, in its simplest form, the process of marketing your product or service, and connecting you to your customers, using the Internet.
And I say “in its simplest form” because, as regular readers of this blog will know, it is a bit of a pet hate of mine when eMarketing so-called experts try to convince you that in order for your business to be successful you have to spend the equivalent of the GDP of a small country, and splash your brand about on every single social media and digital marketing channel available.
This is not helpful advice if you’re a small business or humble startup.
Startups are usually pretty strapped for cash and overwhelmed with all the new things they should do and commitments they have to honour. So, they don’t have lots of time or money to tackle every possible marketing activity in the book.
The good news is, they don’t have to.
Such is the immense power of the online world that you can start getting your name out there with a website, a Facebook page and a hundred bucks. No, really. This is where the true beauty of eMarketing lies. When implemented correctly, even the most unassuming digital marketing strategy can reap rewards for your business.
Obviously, your ultimate aim is to outshine your competitors and win customers away from the opposition. This naturally takes more time and more financial investment, but you can build up to that point. It is definitely doable to become more visible right from the start with not a lot of money.
Kickass Web Design
The number one rule for creating a website is to buy the best you can afford. Your website IS your brand. It IS your product and it IS your reputation. I know you only have a small budget, but it’s worth devoting 80% of it to designing the best darn website you possibly can.
And please, please, please don’t be tempted to try and do it yourself. Limited budget or not, your website is usually the first impression of your business that people get. It needs to be visually awesome, offer a great user experience and, most importantly, be fully mobile responsive. Unless you happen to be a professional web designer, it really is worth outsourcing this to one.
If you have the time, take a look at this article on how design works, which is written specifically for startups. It’s a fascinating and insightful read and a great resource.
“Advertising becomes the penalty paid by companies that cannot design well.”
Brian Collins, American designer and creative director.
Exciting Email Marketing
When you’re creating your website, think about including some kind of incentive that will make consumers part with their name and email address. Because names and email addresses voluntarily submitted by interested consumers are eMarketing gold. So offer a free product sample or discount on their first transaction and watch those contact details roll in! In this way, you can build up a data base of interested, relevant consumers to whom you can, as and when your budget allows, start sending the best eNewsletters in the world, ever!
eNewsletters are still one of the most cost effective online marketing tools you have at your disposal. There is minimal cost involved in writing and sending them, but they are the perfect way to reach people you already know are interested in whatever is you have to offer.
The only problem is this:
On any given day, over 122 billion emails land in people’s inboxes every single hour!! How on earth are you going to make yours stand out from that lot? As a startup, you have more of an uphill climb than more established businesses, purely because not many people know who you are.
Here are a few ideas for writing email newsletters that convert:
- Keep it personal – emails with the recipient’s name in the subject line are 26% more likely to be opened.
- Spurn the Spam – Don’t ever, and we mean, ever, use all caps or multiple exclamation marks, either in the subject line or in the body copy. All caps is the online equivalent of shouting (not a great marketing technique!), and it makes your email look spammy, while multiple exclamation marks just look unprofessional.
- Keep It Simple – Focusing on a single benefit or feature helps keep your newsletter uncrowded and easy to understand. Long, busy, copy-intensive newsletters are very off-putting.
- Cast A Spelling Spell – correct grammar and spelling are pretty seductive, but it’s scary how often they get overlooked. Don’t rely on your autocorrect! Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Sexy Social Media
Many of today’s startups are the brainchildren of Millennials who were weaned on social media, so this should be an easy concept to embrace. Once considered a passing fad or the exclusive dominion of thumb happy, smartphone-addicted teens, social media is now widely hailed as a stable and reliable way to grow your business.
Now more than ever, social media is a huge part of eMarketing, and even affects your start-up’s search engine rankings. So, it’s not only worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
It’s a good idea to not only post about your business on your social media pages – as tempting as you might find this. Remember, marketing is not actually about what you want, it’s about what your customers want. Meeting their needs how and when they want them met is what makes them love you more than the next guy.
So, post stuff that people who are interested in your start-up might be interested in. If you’re some kind of tech company, share content about intriguing or funny things happening in the tech world. Maybe there’s been a controversial new development – invite comment from your customers on how they feel about it.
But whatever you post, post wisely. And respond quickly to any queries or inquiries on your social media pages – it’s a simple courtesy, but it shows you’re serious about your business and passionate about your customers. If you neglect them now, you definitely won’t have the luxury of neglecting them in the future.
An excellent study, by social customer experience experts Lithium, showed that when brands respond to customer comments or complaints within two hours:
- 34% of customers are likely to buy more from that company.
- 43% are likely to encourage friends and family to buy their products.
- 38% are more receptive to their advertisements.
- 42% are willing to praise or recommend the brand through social media.
And if they didn’t respond within the golden two-hour period, “Fifty-seven percent of consumers are unlikely to spend with you again after a negative experience.”
If you’re a startup looking for some honest, unpretentious and totally awesome help with getting your eMarketing campaign off the ground, chat to Digital Coach. We make it our business to grow yours. And we’ll even make you coffee. True story.