Launching a new startup is exciting and scary at the same time.
You’re wondering if you had the right idea, and if people will like your product or service. Will your business be one of the 10% startups that succeed… or part of the 90% that fail?
Of course, what matters most is to come up with a product that people need. You also want to surround yourself with a team of talented professionals, partners and colleagues who can come up with innovative ideas and who are not afraid to disagree with you when you’re wrong. The most difficult thing when you launch a new startup is to advertise it. Nobody knows you or your product. So how can you spread the word?
Here are a few tips for online entrepreneurs:
-Don’t underestimate the importance of networking
Startup entrepreneurs, particularly online startup entrepreneurs, are often introverts who prefer to work on their project instead of socialising. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t attend networking events with fellow entrepreneurs and investors, even if they dislike it. Online entrepreneurs should attend technology fairs, cocktail events and university lectures to talk with a wide range of people and let them know about their new project. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool to spread the word about your company and gain the trust of potential investors.
If you don’t feel comfortable around people, you might want to work on your social skills, even if you’d rather be at home watching a good movie.
-Think about your SEO
No matter what, your website must be optimised for Google, Bing and other search engines. Your startup is an online business, and you must make it easy for potential clients to find you on the web. SEO is one of the best tactics to advertise your business online.
Is your meta data optimised? Have you analysed your competitors’ rankings on Google? Have you published a blog on your website, with interesting content? Are you using the right keywords? Is your website fast enough? Have you started a link building campaign? These are questions you must ask yourself.
-Paid traffic is essential, especially when you’re getting started
You just created your website, but nobody is visiting it. What should you do?
That’s where paid advertising comes into play. PPC Advertising matter because they can bring targeted, relevant traffic to your website from the start and turn these users into your first customers. It takes months for SEO to take effect and produce results. In the meantime, you need paid advertising to get things rolling and start to earn money. You can then reinvest this money into your business while you wait for your organic traffic to kick in.
-Social media is still relevant
Facebook has recently limited the reach of ads on people’s timelines, and yet it’s still important to create social media pages to interact with existing or potential customers. People leave reviews on Facebook, they share your images on Pinterest and retweet what you have to say about your company and industry on Twitter. You need to engage with your audience on social media channels, and it’s especially important when you start a new business, because people don’t know you.
Create at least a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn page for your startup to try to build a following and increase word-of-mouth.
-Why not create a YouTube channel too?
Creating a YouTube channel can be a great idea to engage with your audience. You could try to come up with different guides related to your industry, or funny, entertaining short clips that can go viral. You don’t need a Hollywood budget to launch an interesting, popular YouTube channel for your startup. Creating a YouTube account is free, and you can shoot your videos with your smartphone or a cheap video camera. Entertaining and/or interesting videos can get mass exposure, and they can be great to advertise your business online and give you the edge over your competitors. Of course, this will have a cost in terms of time and money, but it’s worth it.
-Infographics are a powerful tool
Infographics are fun, and a great way to advertise your business online. People love them, because our brains can process graphics much faster than text. Infographics look like mini comic books and web users can’t resist sharing them.
It’s relatively easy to create beautiful infographics nowadays with websites such as canva.com. If you have no clue how to do that, you should hire a graphic designer tocreate an infographic for you. People get bombarded by new content online every day, so your infographic needs to look really good and be interesting to get shares and likes.
-What about publishing an eBook?
Another interesting idea is to self-publish an eBook on platforms such as Amazon Kindle or the iTunes store to spread the word about your business and increase your website’s authority. You can publish eBooks for free, and they don’t need to be as thick as a Game of Thrones novel to sell well, because many people would rather read shorter books.
Publishing an eBook can certainly raise your startup’s profile and increase people’s awareness of your brand. New customers will discover your company, and if they find your eBook helpful, they’ll realise you can help them and will trust your business in the future.
-Don’t forget good old offline advertising
You created a search engine for babysitters? Why not stick a few ads up in supermarkets? Or you designed a website for dog walkers? What about advertising it in vet clinics? You could also pay for a billboard ad or an ad in a magazine, but of course, you need a much bigger budget to do that.
You can create business cards with your logo, or t-shirts, posters and other merchandising and distribute them for free to raise people’s awareness of your brand.
Combining online marketing with offline advertising is always a good idea.
Author: Gregory Golinski is a digital marketing executive for YourParkingSpace, the number one online parking marketplace in the UK.