Americans are seizing the moment to launch their big idea. Last year, each month saw more than a half-million new business owners take the leap. Yet while startups are everywhere, not all are created equal. The risk of failure can be high.
In reality, it’s not enough to believe in your product (or have adequate access to capital)—you also need to get the word out quickly and cost-effectively about your new solution. This can be especially tricky for entrepreneurs and early-stage employees who often lack formal training in marketing.
If that sounds like you, fear not! Read on for helpful tips to take the pain—and fear—out of your startup marketing efforts.
Get Active on Social Media
From tech to manufacturing, retail to healthcare, few businesses today can get by without a presence on social media. Consumers and businesses alike turn to social media platforms to communicate, find news, and ultimately, to interact with the products and brands they love. Facebook alone draws nearly two billion unique users each month; YouTube boasts over a billion. Launching a social media presence is a smart way for your startup to reach a large number of individuals. Keep in mind, a few photos on Instagram or Tweets about your product will not result in overnight success. But, a consistent stream of updates should create a snowball effect as your followers help share your story.
Launch an App
Apps are another essential for modern businesses, and their growth has been explosive. Apple and Google each catalog more than 2 million apps in their respective online stores. They give your target customers 24/7 convenience to interact with your brand, from their smartphone, tablet, or mobile device. Consumers now expect this sleek and intuitive experience, especially younger individuals. But apps have a place in business-to-business (B2B) marketing as well, where they can help shorten the sales cycle, support customer service, and lead to repeat purchases.
Take to the Airwaves
The importance of radio marketing is difficult to overstate, even today. While it may seem as if people prefer television and their own music, radio still reaches millions of people every day. Like other channels, it’s simply grown up with the times and now covers traditional AM and FM stations, as well as satellite broadcasters and even podcasts. Podcasts in particular can be an attractive opportunity for startups, where entrepreneurs can target your message to a specific demographic and have the podcast host promote your product or service directly to their listeners. Another advantage of direct response radio marketing is its accountability. It’s one of the few media with built-in tracking to measure the return-on-investment (ROI) of your marketing dollar. Metrics to show what works (and even what doesn’t) can be especially valuable to your startup’s investors.
Offer Free Stuff (No, Really!)
This sounds simple, but in an increasingly cluttered and noisy environment, sometimes it’s the best way to capture attention. Just be sure you know what kind of “stuff” works best for your business. This can be a great way to showcase your brand’s unique personality. Traditional items might feature your logo and corporate colors. A more provocative approach could leverage a fun slogan or memorable character. Forget bumper stickers; top items today include laptop or tablet decals and keychain attachments. Lower-priced (but equally impactful) freebies might be T-shirts, silicone wristbands or koozies and croakies.
Collaborate With Similar Companies
As a final point, consider the power of two. Joint marketing ventures can boost your reach—without breaking the budget. Reach out to similar companies who might be willing to collaborate on a marketing campaign. Look for businesses that relate to yours without directly competing with you. For example, if you were launching a brand new movie streaming service, you could ask prominent film review blogs. Both platforms could host ads for the other’s services.
Different efforts will work better for different companies, but these ideas should give you a good idea of how to start gaining a bigger audience for your startup.