Tips For Effective Startup Marketing
For many entrepreneurs, marketing can seem overwhelming, with more questions than answers. Where should we start? How much money should we spend? Should we hire an agency or keep things internal? How will we know if we are getting a return on our investment? The thought of it alone can be exhausting.
For a startup, competing priorities also make it easy to place marketing on the back-burner and “revisit” sometime in the future. However, the most critical time to invest in marketing is in the early days as you work to achieve brand awareness and acquire new customers. Here are a few recommendations on how to get started, including choosing the right agency for your business.
Identify An Annual Marketing Budget
The very first step is to identify what you are comfortable spending on marketing each year. Some people say your annual marketing budget should be a percentage of your revenue; however, it would be wise to simply begin by listing your marketing needs first.
Every business will have different goals, so start with what must happen first (e.g., an e-commerce website, a new logo, etc.). Try to also think about potential costs that may not be obvious. For example, website development may also require dollars for monthly website hosting. Once you’ve defined an annual budget that is affordable for your business, you will be in a better position to brief your new agency.
Choose The Right Agency Partner
With your budget now defined, you can start researching marketing agencies or consultants. A simple Google search can help you find suitable local marketing shops. Check out their websites, testimonials or employee reviews to make sure you find the best partner before reaching out for a discovery call.
Choosing the right partner to run your marketing is the most critical piece and cannot be rushed, skipped or taken lightly. You’ll want to find an agency that checks a few key boxes, including strong client retention, in-depth industry expertise and an active senior leadership team.
You will also want to find a partner who can deliver across multiple marketing vehicles to provide a fully integrated strategy. This means the agency would ideally have capabilities to execute for you across many streams—digital, public relations, advertising and creative design. When an agency possesses all these pieces, you get a streamlined, organized and accountable team.
Lastly, seek to find an agency that is as committed to results as you are. Ask them about their measurement plan and how they will meet stated targets.
Don’t Try To Do It All
Once you’ve selected your agency, do not feel that you have to do everything right away. While having a fully integrated campaign across all channels is critical, don’t try to do it all at once. It can be very costly and, in fact, could work against you. Hopefully, you’ve found an agency partner who understands “proof of concept” and knows that you have to test and retest to find out what will work for your brand or organization.
Start with strategy development to identify your core audience, competitors, value proposition and marketing platforms. From there, ask your agency to help you prioritize a few pieces. This may include a hyper-targeted digital advertising campaign or a small influencer campaign. Remember, baby steps. Learn what works and then scale on the proven results.
Invest In A Monitoring/Measurement Platform
You cannot improve what you cannot measure. There are many solid monitoring and measurement plans that can support you with tracking targets, and this should be implemented early in the process. Your agency should be able to offer you its in-house tools to track campaign successes week by week or month by month. Take the time to set the KPIs early in the marketing process and seek to truly understand how close (or far) you are from getting there.
Be Selective & Strategic With Marketing Platforms
The best tools for marketing change regularly, with new digital tools popping up seemingly every day. There is no question that it is important to stay on top of trends. But, it’s also important to stay the course of a strategy. Identify where your target audience lives (Instagram? TikTok? Facebook?) and develop a strategy that is tailored and customized for them. Think about how your creative will perform on those platforms and if these platforms really align with your goals as a company.
Everyone wants overnight results, but the key is to invest in the long run with a sound strategy, compelling creative and relevant messages. Over time, the results will come. Marketing is a marathon and requires an investment of time (and money). But, it also requires discipline to stay the course. Be consistent and allow campaigns the time they require to provide fruitful results.
Start Your Marketing Journey
Marketing should never be an afterthought, especially in the early stages of a company’s growth. The right marketing partner can help you identify how to begin, what to spend and what you can expect from your investment. Contact The BLÜ Group today at 608-519-3070 and talk with one of our experienced team members about how we can help you start implementing an effective marketing strategy.