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Marketing Tricks Every Startup Should Follow Startups place marketing on the second step of the growth strategy, losing out on critical components that accelerate business growth.

By Samir Chaudhury

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As a startup, aggressive marketing is often the differentiator that helps businesses reach market faster and win, not just their customers, but loyal advocates of their brand. However, in the race to raise capital or ensure the technological sustenance of the company, startups place marketing on the second step of the growth strategy, losing out on critical components that accelerate business growth.

Getting your marketing strategy right, may not always go as per plan. Often, trial and error gives you the most feasible roadmap. However, startups need to adopt a fail fast, correct fast approach to ensure they don't lose too much money on tactics without outcomes.

A structured marketing mix can help startups have a range of marketing tools across budgets that can reach the right audience. While some may be wider in their range, and less targeted, investing right in specific marketing opportunities can be the gauntlet that strikes growth opportunities.

Here are some marketing tricks that can help startups relook their game plan in their long term tactic for growth:

  1. Let the first 10% of your customers find you rather than you reaching out to them. So be present where they would be looking for your product/service
  2. Customers will not buy your product, only because they know of you. There has to be a need and relevance of your offering
  3. Spend more time on getting your messaging right than trying to find the best media vehicle
  4. Have more "Verb" in your communication rather than nouns and adjectives. Tell consumers what can you do for them, rather than what you have
  5. Put all your initial investments in performance oriented marketing rather than long term branding
  6. Focus on few geographies to minimize the cost of failure
  7. Use data to understand your users than only gut feel. Your users might be very different from the people whom you created the product for
  8. Collect email ids from day 1. Email marketing will continue being the most powerful performance marketing tool.
  9. Have a structured approach to social media. Putting product news is not always share worthy. Spend time in finding the connect between your product and what people like sharing on social media
  10. Make PR an integral part of your marketing plan.

Online promotion versus print promotion

While it is possible to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each medium, a "versus" approach might not be the best way to find medium suitability. While Online promotion is an experiment friendly, highly targeted medium, print is a medium that has high engagement, higher reach and sets the context much better.

In a best case scenario, both medium should complement each other. While online promotion provides short term performance oriented advertising, print is used more for a long term brand building and building a sustainable brand. Last statement has the disadvantage of any generalization. There are examples when online is used for brand building and print for short term sales. Look at Furniture sale ads in Newspapers and Fast Track running youtube videos. But from a startup perspective the generalization will hold good.

For a startup, where short term customer acquisition and performance takes precedence over long term brand building, online has to be the channel where advertising money goes first. However to build a sustainable preference in consumer's mind, print has to be a part of the marketing mix. Data shows that online performance of ads improves when they are coupled with print support. So look at the two medium as different pillars rather than one over the other.

Marketing analytics are your navigator and guide

Numbers speak volumes for themselves. While the efficacy of certain marketing tools cannot be measured in a fool proof manner, modern marketing including digital promotions, content marketing and social strategy can be instantly gauged. From heat maps on the website, to customer retargeting tools and acquisition metrics, numbers play a critical role in your fail fast, correct fast approach.

Startup founders and marketing managers are expected to make it a prerogative to look at their growth numbers on a week by week basis and target their promotions based specifically on audiences that are most responsive to their marketing approaches.

Keep it fresh

There are good ideas and great ones! People remember brands that have tried a disruptive and innovative approach in their marketing. The digitally connected world allows customers to see and choose the content that are delivered to them, and customers can more often than not, identify the original campaigns from the copies.

Invest time in creativity, and cover all loops to ensure that none of your approaches are offensive or morally incorrect. Work it out at different angles, see the possible outcomes from your campaign and decide the best course of action.

Samir Chaudhury

Co- founder, Media Ant

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