Futureproof marketing for startups.
Author Polly Buckland
Tues 4th September 2018
For me, the most common marketing challenges that businesses have when they approach us originate from the compromises that they made when starting out. At that point, they are often with a low budget, navigating the marketing minefield, looking for convenience and quick solutions that look the part.
This blog focuses on futureproof marketing for startups as the reality is poor planning/execution upfront can damage business moving forward. At some point, you’ll need to invest in the marketing of your business. My argument is always why not put your best foot forward and start building that brand equity from the get go?
Common marketing for startups fails.
Invest in your branding. This does not have to mean forking out a small fortune. But, my advice is to get something unique and make sure you have all file types for all eventualities. Please don’t grab something from Google images, add some text and then call it your own.
Figure out what you really need for your business by completing a creative brief. This is a free exercise which will truly help you to move forward with specific purpose. Consider how your branding will be used in various formats, such as on uniforms, vehicles, signage or digitally and let this inform your design.
A rebrand down the line to revise a poorly executed logo can be costly and disruptive. Take a read of our blog to get our take on when a brand refresh is worth it.
Get your messaging right. This doesn’t need to be over complicated or ‘clever’ at this stage. You just need to identify the core values of your business and get the facts down in writing. Consider what are your claims as a business? How can you back these up? What do you do? How can people engage with your service or buy your product?
It is amazing how many established businesses garner growth and success without laying these foundations. Without this, you’re heading for trouble when down the line. The business will have no cohesion or mission and employees will have little understanding of what the business stands for outside of their workflow silos.
We suggest a simple message house exercise. You can do this on your own, with an agency or a marketing consultant who can help with those catchy copy wins and can bring bucketloads of commercial awareness to the table. Read more about how to complete a message house here.
As a member of many business related Facebook groups, one of the most common questions I see being asked is “I’m thinking of setting up a xxxx business and need a web designer, but I don’t have any budget, I’ve heard Wix is good can I do it myself” or something to that effect. My general response is …
“No, a website builder isn’t the answer if you are serious about digital growth in order to meet your business objectives. The web build process if you are looking to be competitive begins with SEO. It isn’t just about producing an aesthetically pleasing interface – that comes much later. Using a prescriptive website builder is limiting from an SEO and functionality perspective but can also encourage you to approach your web build like a bull in a china shop.Using a prescriptive website builder is limiting from an SEO and functionality perspective but can also encourage you to approach your web build like a bull in a china shop. Click To Tweet
In short, if SEO is left as an afterthought, you will waste time and energy as copy, URLs and page titles will need to change. Do your keyword research up front. Don’t assume what your audience will be searching, do the research or engage with a marketing agency to do this for you. Once you have your agreed site map and keywords, then you are well-prepared to make a start on site content.
48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business (source: IronPaper).
If you are using a site builder with little to no design experience, templates may well seem like the easiest option all round. Just remember that what you create won’t be unique to you. You’ll be limited to the site builder and template capabilities and this, over time, can be problematic as your online requirements grow with your business.
RESPONSIVENESS & SPEED
Responsiveness & Speed are also huge ranking factors and need serious consideration when building your site. Choosing a site builder solution may well mean that you are relinquishing your control over these elements. Often site builder sites are on a shared server, which is likely to be sluggish at best.The change in a website bounce rate spikes to 100% when a page takes 4 seconds or more to load. It jumps to 150% if a page takes 8 seconds or more to load. (Source:Hubspot) Click To Tweet
DON’T GET STUCK
Technology moves fast and, more often than not, so do the requirements of SMEs. If, over time, you need to scale up your site, add an e-commerce function, introduce file sharing, complex forms or downloads and your chosen site builder can’t handle your new expectations, you can not simply transfer your site away. You just need to start again which is a pull on resource, when your mind really should be focused on clients / customers / product development / employees etc.
BEST FOOT FORWARD
Here are our top marketing for start up tips to ensure that your marketing is ready for your future business growth.
- Get a logo professionally designed
- Get your core messaging right – this may evolve over time but confused messaging can be damaging/ may block sales/buy in.
- Consider SEO before anything else – do your research, don’t assume to know what people are searching
- Get comparative costs. But ask what you are paying for. Very often, if you are offered a website for under £1000 (in flashing lights) this won’t include keyword analysis, optimised copy, reporting, security or maintenance`- which are all essential in the long term.
- Ask questions – this is a useful blog to read before you commission anyone to build a site for you.
- 99% of the time, these startup shortcuts come down to one thing and that’s funding or lack thereof. There are marketing agencies out there that will offer payment plans so you don’t have to delay launch or borrow big. This is NOT a reduction in service or cost, but simply a better way of acquiring the tools to build your business.
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