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A Guide to Online Marketing for Startups

When starting your new business, it may seem like a good marketing strategy to throw all of your energy into every online and social media platform on the web. This, however, will result in an online presence that is haphazard and overwhelming for both you and your customers. Having a plan for your marketing your business online; this is the first step towards successfully promoting your startup business. Planning ahead, researching your target market, and creating innovative content will help you create an online presence that is engaging and successful. Plan Ahead for Success As tempting as it is to immediately jump online and start posting – don’t. Before you ever make a post or tweet a photo, set up goals for your online marketing and determine metrics for success.
  • Your keywords are highly relevant words for your business brand that influence your website page rankings, search engine presence, and more. You’ll want to find them, optimize them, and use them successfully.
  • You’re going to put a lot of effort into your online marketing campaign, so you need to keep track of your goals and how well you meet them on a regular basis. You should know what marketing efforts are helping you meet your goals, and what efforts are falling flat.
  • You don’t want to waste time and money on a campaign that isn’t fruitful. According to an independent study by Adobe, 47% of startups don’t base their marketing budget on any ROI analysis.
Social Media Strategy The opinion commonly held by marketing gurus is that social media is integral to a successful marketing strategy. This is certainly true, but that doesn’t mean you have to engage every social platform every day, in every way; attempting to do so is wasteful, not to mention exhausting.
  • Consider your business’s target market, and utilize those social networks that also engage with that market. For example, if your target demographic is teenagers, then promoting an online presence on Linkedin’s network of older professionals won’t be fruitful.
  • Once you’ve chosen which social platforms to concentrate on, research how to interact with those platforms appropriately. Each platform shares content in different ways (video, photos, links) with varying degrees of frequency. You don’t want to lose followers from posting too much or not enough.
  • Track down and connect with “influencers.” Influencers are businesses or individuals within your niche who have a large and successful following. Connect and interact with them to gain more caché within the community and benefit from their exposure.
Create Innovative Content The best keywords and online profiles won’t help your marketing strategy if you’re not populating your online presence with interesting and innovative content. The internet is flooded with marketing messages; if you don’t produce stand-out content, you’ll get lost in the mix.
  • Video: Create a YouTube account and channel to promote your business through video. This is a great opportunity to create instructional content or promotional material for your business. Decide whether you want to target existing customers with guides on how to use your product, or target potential customers with a more sales-oriented approach.
  • Ebook: Identify potential customers by producing an ebook to distribute online - free of cost - in exchange for an email address or other contact information.
Whenever you promote your business online, be sure your posts are relevant and engaging – and not necessarily sales-centric. Monitor your marketing efforts to identify which ones are the most successful. Branch out into more innovative types of content – like video and ebooks – to capture your customers’ attention and engage them with your business.