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A Killer Marketing Strategy For Bootstrapped Startups

It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.

Contrary to Fred Wilson’s opinion that Marketing is for companies with substandard products, currently marketing campaigns decide the fate and profit margins of the big corporate giants and it would be interesting to dive into how startups advertise themselves.

The tropes and mediums employed by big companies are well known. These business houses allocate a huge sum for their PR and marketing activities. The newest trend being followed, to grab eyeballs is to couple social issues with their product’s advertising.

In comparison, startups have relatively limited resources, manpower and a less populated pool of talent. In the face of these constraints, startups need a foolproof plan, flawless execution and a great product (as nothing harms the company’s reputation and business more than shoddy goods with a good marketing strategy).

To begin with, the name of the organization should be easy to remember and pronounce and the logo of the startup should be simple yet catchy to leave a lasting impression on the spectator’s mind. The start up’s website should often post pictures of the founders and employees. Promoting your office’s conducive work environment also impresses the audience and helps in creating a positive image of the startup. Promoting the idea or trigger behind starting the business is a masterstroke and often very interesting for the prospective clients. This should also be given ample space in the company’s narrative.

For startups that are aiming for the sky, it is essential to choose a target market. Marketing the product to everyone will be expensive as well as futile exercise. The startup needs to carve a niche for itself by identifying and influencing the target audience and then aggressively competing to maintain or expand its market share.

Choosing a target market is easier said than done but fret not we have enumerated some of the basic parameters to check for. 

Market size – An assumed number of people who are a part of their desired consumer base

Market wealth – Startups need to keep a tab on their prospective client’s spending capacity i.e. the amount of money the buyers are willing to shell out to buy a particular product.

Market age group – This factor affects advertising and sales indirectly. For example, with the dynamics in age group preference when it comes to consuming content, there is a change in the marketing medium as the younger generation is no longer keen nor like to watch televisions as opposed to people in their late 40s and 50s.

Market Competition – Foucault’s dictum – Knowledge is power is enough to reinforce the importance of knowing the existing companies operating in the market and also keeping an eye on their pricing, discounts and marketing gimmicks.

Next on the list is to chalk out a list of keywords which will be used for blogging, social media and emails. These keywords would eventually become a part of the identity of the company and will be associated with the business entity in the client’s subconscious. Many companies use Google keyword tools to advertise according to customer searches and reach the target audience. The most advantageous keywords would be for which the customer is searching but there are only a very few results being displayed.

Startups can benefit from this new wave of social media marketing as it is free or if at all, involves a negligible cost. Micro influences, an active Twitter and Facebook page, frequent Instagram updates and even emails are essential for promoting the products and generating new leads. The timing of posting the ads or product stories is often neglected as an insignificant detail but the time of the post can help achieve more likes and traffic. Research and understand the posting habits of your target audience and then choose a time.

Make use of quirky original videos or attractive visual content to get more user traffic. Refrain from using trite phrases and emphasise on your CSR initiatives. This helps in promoting the goodwill of the company and gain popularity. Avoid posting long blogs or boring lengthy videos as the world is very fast-paced and nobody has enough time to watch something that doesn’t interest them. Managing to keep the prospective client’s attention is the biggest challenge of all.

Weave stories and tell anecdotes rather than continuously advertising your product using facts. Make changes to the content based on the new trends so that your page is like a breath of fresh air in a social media crazy world cramped with disinteresting and propagandist pages as well as sites.

Metrics are important to gauge the success or progress of the startup. These statistics need to be shared with all the employees in the organization along with customer feedback. Since startups are new to the market and are yet to establish themselves like popular brands, they need to take user feedback seriously. The rapidity with which a startup works on the suggestions and rectifies its flaws is also a deciding factor in its success. Constant management of figures and measurement against benchmarks is ideal for a well functioning business. Identify the reasons for a dip in user traffic or sales or a rise in them to chalk out the next plan for improving or expanding your business.

After outlining the pillars of marketing on low budgets to help you achieve your dream by capturing the audience’s imagination and spiralling the organization to success, I would like to conclude by quoting Roy T. Bennett, “It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”

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Reva Malholtra
Written By

Reva is a strategic communications consultant working closely with startup making the most opportune marketing mix for them. She consults startups by helping them devise their branding strategy, positive brand recall and building media traction. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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