Small budget, big exposure: digital marketing strategies for start-ups

Digital marketing strategies for start-ups

You’ve created something that has the potential to change the world. You’ve honed it, workshopped it and launched it. The consensus is that it’s brilliant — you’re brilliant.

The only question remains is how do you take proceedings from woah to go?

Many technopreneurs find themselves after the initial frenzy of creation and launch a little deflated — the focus has just been getting the product to market. Few realise that in a highly competitive, high turnover, industry, it’s not enough to create something mind blowing.

In order for your baby to be the success you know it should be, you need to have solid plans in place to scale — and scale quickly from the start.

Often the problem with this is that there isn’t the budget left to create the exposure such an undertaking needs to get it to the next level. However, great marketing isn’t about throwing money at a problem and seeing what sticks — it’s about being imaginative, thrifty and innovative and having a very clear goal about where exactly you want your product to go.

Below we have some simple ideas that could help get your product champagne exposure on a beer budget.

Growth Hacking

Growth hacking is a term, coined by Sean Ellis in 2010 and essentially it describes the intersection between marketing and technology, or to put it in another way — a growth hacker’s true north is growth.

Growth hacking is all about getting a product or software to that next level, and it’s vital that you can hire someone who has the skills you need to help you (which is usually a combination of either engineering, IT, sales or marketing).

This might sound glib, but a lot of the time businesses will advertise for a role without having a clear idea of what they truly need this person to do. You may not be in the position to hire a growth hacker, but there are certainly things you can be doing that mimic a growth hacker.

Clearly defined objectives

From the beginning you must have very clearly defined goals about what exactly growth means. Your plan could include things like:

  • How many customers do we need/day/week/month for growth?
  • Should we be looking for partnership opportunities?
  • What are the most efficient ways we could be doing this? How many resources would a procedure save us?

This last point really sums up in a nutshell what you should be trying to achieve at this stage — how can I get the most out of what I have?

The pre-launch list: Using it to find your ideal customer

Your pre-launch list is a gold mine. Not only does it give you a good starting point to assess who your ideal client is, but you’re preaching to the choir— you already have a database of people who are interested in your product.

This is probably the most important step. Knowing who your customer is, where they might be and how to speak to them is the cornerstone to how you approach any activity you might undertake.

Once you’ve established who exactly your customer is, you can get really creative and tailor your promotion to appeal to their needs and wants.

Don’t just use your list to send out content that feels heavy, make the offer enticing, with a giveaway, a competition or an exclusive deal. Your job is to make the call to action (CTA) as easy as possible for your customer.

The other reason why the pre-launch list is so valuable is that you have users of your product, who can provide you with feedback. If the feedback is positive, then you need to think about ways how you can collate it and use it for promotion.

If negative, then this is a great opportunity for you to tweak the product and communicate the changes you made. It demonstrates that you value your customers, that you are listening to them, which gives you the opportunity to turn a potential disaster into a triumph.

Automate as much as you can

For the time-poor, resource-poor entrepreneur this should be a key facet of the business. Knowing who your ideal customer is, will really help in terms of finessing the type of activity you should be doing, but supplementing this with streamlined processes will really decrease the time spent faffing about.

Jon Yongfook has some really simple clever ways to automate your processes including:

  • Always make sure you use rich snippets
  • Think about how you can turn your model databases into public-facing content
  • Ensure that sitemap.xml is being generated programmatically and that it is being correctly sent to the search engine

If you can automate as much as possible then you can spend time thinking about the more important aspects of your business.

Blast off

Keeping in mind these few simple ideas, you can ensure that your product will get the exposure it needs to launch it to the next level — and beyond!

CeBIT Australia Start-up Summary Report