2020 was, undoubtedly, a year of shake-ups for every industry. And unfortunately, startups weren’t safe from COVID-19’s onslaught on the world. An SHRM study revealed that 62% of small businesses, unfortunately, had revenue decreases since the pandemic began.
However, it isn’t all gloom and doom in that world; in fact, the number of business startups in the United States alone rose to 4.4 million last year—a staggering 24% increase from 2019’s 3.5 million.
The pandemic has pushed startup business marketing to pivot and go beyond traditional practices. With a new normal comes new strategies. So how can startups navigate the currently unpredictable climate?
Look no further than this entry. Consider this a guide to marketing your startup business for today and beyond.
How to Market a Startup Business Today
It’s safe to say that the marketing game has changed due to the pandemic’s effects. So don’t get left behind by following these new rules.
1. Get your customer segments on lock
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When the pandemic hit, it reminded businesses to practice local communication with their customers; this means looking at their current circumstances and relevant matters, regardless of where they are in the world. To achieve this, startups should genuinely get to know their customer segments and define them.
The question is, how can this be done?
Startups can go for psychographic or behavioral segmentation. The former uses customers’ beliefs, thoughts, desires, and fears. Aside from research, data sources for psychographic segmentation can come from surveys, social listening, and reports.
On the other hand, behavioral segmentation defines customers through their actual behavior with the help of analytics and behavioral data. Clickstream data and recordings are also used as sources for this. Since the results from this segmentation come from previous behaviors, startups can use them as prediction points for future decisions.
2. Look at previous customer experience as a competition
Millennials and Gen Z folks (or Zoomers) grew up with the internet and technology’s rise; these generations are used to digital interactions with businesses. Some direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies are aware of this fact and take their personal data as the basis for hyper-personalized experiences.
By the time the pandemic hit, it wasn’t just millennials and Gen Zers expecting these experiences—everyone’s on this bandwagon now. People want more than just hassle-free transactions. Since companies have their personal data, consumers expect them to deliver customized, personalized experiences every time. Startup business marketing should tick these three boxes to achieve consistent customer satisfaction:
- Include brand scores in the essential KPI list, using real-time analytics as a basis instead of previous actions and decisions;
- Establish appropriate data and technology foundation for supporting relevant use cases; and
- Get individual and collective goals on the same page to identify and resolve disconnects from departments such as customer service, sales, and marketing.
3. Get creative on the marketing drawing board
As we mentioned earlier, COVID-19’s arrival meant getting old strategies out the door. With that said, keeping startups afloat is a challenge in these uncertain times, so companies have to think outside the box to survive the pandemic and beyond.
With the many startups out there, standing out may be a challenge. So how can they elevate marketing efforts while navigating the pandemic and its effects?
One, they can give their offers a makeover. For example, say you’re a food startup looking to attract more customers to your service. Get people on board by offering unique benefits that your competitors don’t have. Some examples of such are discounts and freebies.
4. Ramp up your social media efforts
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Startup business marketing needs social media now more than ever. Platforms like Facebook go beyond geographical limits and reach worldwide audiences. Want hype for your venture? Garner a following online and let that work its magic.
Did you know that there are around 223 million people on social media in the United States alone? That staggering number alone should interest you. Take advantage of that huge population and go all out on your digital campaigns; this is the best time to do so since almost everyone’s stuck at home, quarantining. Also, it isn’t 100% safe to hand out printed business cards just yet.
Get your social media marketing game on point with these suggestions:
- Initiate or join conversations with individuals and target groups
- Put our sponsored posts or paid ads (as pictured above)
- Habitual/regular posting
- Hold contests
- Post updates
- Share special offers
- Don’t forget to engage with your followers/customers too! Every interaction doesn’t have to be a transaction.
5. Keep the emails going
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Believe it or not, email marketing is still an effective startup business marketing strategy. 2020 had email marketers experiencing a 72% customer engagement increase; that number is expected to grow this year.
Email marketing pays dividends when done right. Pull this strategy off by using eye-catching subject lines and simple yet engaging language. Avoid sending too many emails to annoy or scare potential prospects away. Remember to keep the content digestible by writing small paragraphs and using subheadings.
6. Blog away!
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Is blogging old? Yes. Is it still relevant? Absolutely!
Keep your website’s content fresh through consistent posting. While you don’t have to pump out new entries every day, establish a regular pattern that won’t leave readers hanging. Do your homework and search for new and relevant topics to keep your blog interesting. Not only does it keep people engaged, but it also helps improve your rankings on search engines.
Don’t have the time to write posts yourself? Try outsourcing talented writers to do the job. It’s a much better alternative rather than leaving your blog empty.
Much like other business ventures, startups are challenging undertakings. Factor in startup business marketing, and you’ve got yourself an uphill climb. But, as cliche as this sounds, since when did success become easy, right?
Put in the time and work to let your startup reach successful heights. With this post, you’ll be well on your way to the top.