How Startups Can Build a Digital Marketing Strategy

Estimated Reading Time 10 minutes

Whether you are an established business or an ambitious startup, there are some fundamental rules to planning your digital marketing strategy. As a startup however, there are several things counting against you that established businesses already have. You (most likely) currently have:

  1. No social presence
  2. No brand awareness
  3. No product/service awareness
  4. No digital footprint
  5. No case studies

This means in order to hit the ground running as a brand, there are some key things you need to plan even before establishing your marketing budgets.

What is your business message?

The first stumbling block many startup businesses have is that they are so absorbed and passionate about their concept, they miss the value proposition. Make sure you can answer the following:

  • Why do people need what you are selling?
  • What is it going to resolve or enhance for them?
  • What value will it add to them or their business?
  • How long will it take before they see the value?
  • Why should they trust you?

For a more robust list of questions, our consultants can help you identify your clear value proposition, business needs and goals to create a clear marketing brief for any agencies you may choose to work with.

What skills will you have in-house?

1. Are you the lead sales person or the innovator of the business?

  • As an innovator you have the ability to educate people on your offering and what value it will add to them
  • An excellent sales person is great at prospecting and finding the opportunities to qualify in the first place

Play to your skills but also understand your weak areas and where you need to bring expertise in.

2. Will you have a marketing manager?

  • If so, be aware in order to hire an expert across all marketing channels including; SEO, PPC, social media, social advertising, email, website management, display campaigns, and of course analytics, tracking and reporting, it is highly likely that person does not exist. They will possibly have a few skills from this list if you are lucky and hence it may be worth considering a level of outsourcing to a digital agency or consultancy to help guide your team.

3. Is your offering a unique product or service?

  • Do you need to educate the market first as they are unaware it even exists?
  • Or is it an enhanced or better version of something already out there?

Depending on the above you will need to apply a different strategy for each. One will require an education of concept, the other is brand awareness in an existing market.

Now you can start to create your online strategy

No social presence

Building a social presence – Top 5 tips for startups


Building a social presence Infographic by Digital Clarity

 

No brand awareness

There are multiple steps which can be taken in order to build your awareness and each business will be different. Working your messaging and value proposition into multi-channel ad formats will help you engage relevant audiences in each environment. Some of the key points you need to take into account for brand awareness:

Plan which channels are ideal to reach your target audience

  1. Display ads – excellent for high volume impressions and repetition
  2. Social ads – highly targeted reach to the right people, at the right time, with the right interests
  3. Organic search – gain ranking for your new website to make sure your website shows for your brand terms and variations of that brand, and solution driven search terms such as ‘How to’, ‘alternatives to’, ‘reviews of’… etc.. These kind of keywords will help with brand awareness and education in the market when people are actively searching
  4. Paid search ads – can be controlled very closely to spend budget on brand terms whilst your organic is getting up to speed

No product/service awareness

A slightly different approach to building brand awareness is educating users about your product or service which is unique to the market.

This requires setting the scene, raising the issues and showing how your offering is addressing those.

Channels which often see positive results for product/service education are:

  • YouTube video ads – tell a story and educate through video
  • Social media ads – get that video to the right people at the right time
  • Social organic posts – share updates and insights to your offering via your organic social content posts
  • Be found on search – ensure the solution you offer is being found for the right keywords when people are looking for help

No digital footprint

As a new business, customers will be doing their due diligence and checking that you are trustworthy and legitimate. Make sure your brand is best positioned when people are looking for you. For example, your company and personal LinkedIn profile is important. So ensure they are up to date and consistent with the messaging you are putting out there.

Plan your content. Why are people going to be interested in what you say or share? There are some hard fast rules when it comes to creating content:

hard fast rules when it comes to creating content

Make sure that any mention of your brand online reflects your message and what you stand for, and don’t stop, your digital footprint needs to continue to grow and evolve with the changes in the market.

No case studies

For this one it’s going to take time, but make sure gaining testimonials or reviews and case studies is on the radar from day dot. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Work with customers and when they have seen the value of your offering, request they review your product/service/solution or even work with you to showcase how you have driven success together in a case study.

Digital marketing strategy for startups

Building a successful digital marketing strategy can be a challenge. All too often for startups it can be a small piece in the overall business plan and when it comes to execution, it falls flat or at best under delivers.

By having a robust and clear digital marketing plan not only will you hit the ground running but you will have allocated reasonable budgets and realistic targets to achieve within the parameters.

For further help we offer a business diagnosis and can work with established businesses or ambitious startups in order to help devise a clear path to success.

If you have further concerns in the current Covid-19 environment as to adapting your digital marketing strategy in these uncertain times, feel free to get in touch and talk to our team.

Rachel Mepham
With over 15 years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Rachel heads up the team at Digital Clarity. With a deep skill set in the Paid Search, Social Media and Analytics, Rachel is regarded by both clients and peers as one of the most experienced and prolific women in the UK digital space. Her approach and application to digital strategy planning has been used by some of the biggest brands as well as leading advertising and marketing agencies.