How to market your start up business

Why you should market your start up business

Knowing how to market your start up business is vital. Once your products or service are ready, you need to get your name or brand out there to generate sales. Without a carefully considered marketing plan, you are unlikely to get the results you want. You need customers to know what you offer and why they should spend with you, especially if you have a lot of competition. Figuring out how to market your start up can be time consuming, so make sure that you do not leave it to the last minute.

In today’s world, every business is open, and everyone has the potential to market your product for you, or slate it. When creating and implementing your marketing plan it is important to think about your branding and how you want your business to be perceived.

What to think about when marketing your start up

Two Start Up Loan recipients, Sam Ryan and Barney Williams of Forefront Innovations & Solutions Ltd had the need to reach customers in the forefront of their minds when devising their marketing plan for their mobile app, JumpIn. JumpIn is a taxi booking and taxi-sharing app that has overcome the perception that taxi-sharing was unsafe through offering the service to a selected, ring-fenced group of people. Sam and Barney were students at Leeds University. The obvious demographic to initially roll out JumpIn to was therefore fellow students, with a long-term plan to expand the concept to other consumer groups. When devising their marketing strategy, their three key aims were brand awareness, generating downloads and generating use. Brand perception was at the forefront of their minds when targeting these three areas through various marketing channels.

The boys were keen to be perceived as a ‘cool student brand’ as well as a professional outlet. They wanted to be JumpIn to be immediately recognisable and fun, but also appeal to angel investors and larger sectors of society for when they are ready to roll the concept out to other demographics. They always had the bigger brand in mind which is key.

Make your marketing plan flexible

As a start up you have the benefit of being able to react quickly to changing circumstances, something larger established businesses will struggle to do. It is important that your marketing approach is flexible. Do not be afraid to change your approach. Track the success of your various campaigns through measures such as an increase in sales, downloads or hits to your website. If it transpires that one campaign is not working, end the campaign and reallocate the budget.

Thanks to the internet, particularly social media, direct marketing has never been more effective or affordable. Social media sites are a great place to start marketing your brand on a budget. Sharing carefully selected snippets on social media can create a buzz around your business and create an audience for you to directly target with new campaigns and promotions.

A Facebook page can be used to promote new products and milestones. Twitter can be a great way to get involved with business communities and potential customers. Adding a blog or videos to your website is a great way to ensure that your voice gets heard by your customers.

Having a presence on these sites and increasing the numbers of followers and likes your business receives will improve your Search Engine Optimisation. This will increase your ranking and therefore visibility in online search results in a bid to drive more traffic to your website. If people can find your company quickly when searching online, then you will get customers to your website. If they can’t find you in search results, your website will not get traffic. It’s that simple.

Ways to reach potential customers

You may want to consider paying for services which drive targeted traffic to your website. It is important to track success rates and only continue to pay for what works. Paid advertising on Facebook may be fruitful as you can target a specific demographic, in a specific area and target individuals that use a particular mobile operating system.

Moving away from online marketing, word of mouth is a great way to get your name out there. Look into networking events that you can attend and test your sales pitch on clients and potential partners. Word of mouth emphasising positive customer experience will ultimately be your best marketing tool.

Having a physical presence through poster campaigns, leaflets and organising promotional events can help raise brand awareness. Having a physical presence through poster campaigns, leaflets and organising promotional events can help raise brand awareness. JumpIn organised one such event whereby they asked if they could take advantage of a Student Lock which had been organised in the new Trinity shopping centre in Leeds. JumpIn were granted a stand at the lock-in where they encouraged students to download the JumpIn app in return for a free t-shirt. The t-shirts are still regularly worn on campus helping to promote the app further. You may also want to consider attempting to form partnerships with relevant brands or companies.

Finally, make sure you find out what your competition are up to and try to stay ahead of them. And remember, be creative and have fun with your campaigns. That way when you do market your start up business, you are more likely to stand out to potential customers.

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