Have you ever come across an article that preaches “the next big growth hacking tactic” that will forever change the way your startup does marketing? These hacks, tips, and shortcuts are often short-lived or myopic strategies that will not help you build the loyal following that your startup needs to grow.
Marketing is equal parts art and science, requiring constant experimentation and testing to assure it is achieving the desired results. A quick and unprofessional marketing strategy might be worse than not having one at all. Still, your startup needs to get the word out.
Here are tactics that destroy any startup looking to brand itself online.
Tactic #1: From 0 to 60 with no planning.
A marketing campaign with no strategy will garner little to no results. Why? In the current, crowded world of digital marketing, you need to target your customers to compete. If you reach out to everyone, you are more likely to annoy them than to convince them to buy your product. After all, if you don’t research before you start, the prospect you are calling might not even need your service.
Instead of jumping into marketing with zero plan, concentrate on organizing a few aspects of your campaign that will allow you to target potential customers. These include:
Building buyer personas
Creating sales funnels and understanding the buyer’s needs along the funnel
Deciding on a brand image (logo, colors, images, etc.)
Optimizing social profiles
Creating a content calendar
While it might seem like a hassle to draw up so much work before you start trying to drive traffic to your site, this plan will make all the difference when it comes to attracting and retaining customers. If you are only offering your product to people who need it, you will have a better conversion rates, higher ROI, and a more recognizable reputation within the industry.
Tactic #2: Spray and pray.
The name might sound silly, but its effect is not. The spray and pray strategy is one of the most overused marketing tactics because it rests on the theory that more is always better. Rather than focusing on the quality of content, you just try to publish as much as possible. However, if you don’t study your conversion rate and pay attention to the kinds of content that are working for you, you are just working hard for few results. You are throwing your hard work at a wall of customers that are not interested in your product.
Content should focus on buyer pain points and challenges, so you’ll need a sound buyer persona before writing your first sentence. After that, conduct experiments, such as an A/B test, and evaluate how well your content performs before you keeping producing. Try out different content types such as video, images, or blogs, and see how they resonate with your audience.
You can also deliberately seek out raving fans and learn from them about what initially drew them to your product. Give them individual attention and incentives to share the news about your startup via word of mouth, because they may not necessarily spread the word organically. But don’t burn yourself out reaching out to everyone under the sun; focus on your target customer only.
Tactic #3: Not using email marketing.
Digital marketing across social media might be flashy and trendy, but nothing converts as well as email. Email has an ROI of approximately US$40 for every US$1 spent. McKinsey considers email marketing to be up to three times more effective than social media marketing.
How do you capture people’s emails so you can get into their inbox? If your marketing offers no lead magnets that make potential customers want to give you their email, your campaign will eventually fall on deaf ears. Develop high-quality content that will attract your audience, and put up a squeeze page so they have to hand you their email to get it. Once you have access to their email, you will be able to slowly build up a relationship of trust that makes them much more likely to become loyal customers, rather than one-time buyers.
The takeaway? Research your customers, deploy your content, study the results, then re-evaluate. Even if a content strategy is working for the moment, you can always refine it to make each campaign go farther and work harder to promote your brand. Marketing is a science; repeat your experiments to find out who needs your product, and leave everyone else alone. The results will speak for themselves.