Statistically, most startups are doomed to fail. Unless they put in an unusual amount of hard work, speed, and expertise to achieve the momentum needed to capture initial customers.
But even enterprises armed with unique ideas, funds, and a solid team need effective digital and offline marketing strategies.
Traditional marketing ideas are good, but they don’t work like they used to.
B2B customers are savvy investigators who research the info online to uncover solutions for their needs.
With the right digital marketing strategies, you may capture the interest of these buyers and drive them to buy from you.
We explore five tactics startups can explore to improve their success rate.
Search Engine Marketing
At any one point, a prospective B2B buyer is searching for the solutions you offer.
Whose side will they find first? Yours or that of an already established brand?
The search engine marketing strategy is about getting you in front of your ideal customers whenever they search for solutions online.
Here are steps to help you maximize this tactic:
- Have a coherent strategy. Start by defining your ideal customers, their needs, motivations, and how your solutions can serve these needs. Next, identify your competitors, their strengths, weaknesses, and how you can gain a competitive edge over them.
- Select the best keyword phrases. Try to get inside your ideal customer’s mind and think about potential terms they may use throughout the buyer’s journey. Tools like SEMrush, Google Ads, or Hubspot may help you come up with highly searched terms to help drive your target audiences to your site.
- Ensure your website content, heading tags, page title tags, meta tags, and alt tags contain the keyword phrases you identified above. As search engines index these phrases on your site, they will serve you up to searchers.
- Identify websites frequented by your ideal customers and start building links with them. The first step to building links is creating link-worthy content that provides interesting, relevant, and informative content. Also, get your business listed on online portals, directories, and general-purpose directories.
- Invest in pay-per-click advertising. Bid for relevant keywords, create interesting ads with clear calls-to-action and add landing pages specifically tied to the ad.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to a digital marketing agency that has expert knowledge in your industry. Likewise, if you own an automotive car dealership, consider hiring an automotive consulting company.
Create Explainer Videos
Many companies think providing written content about their products/services on the company website is enough.
An explainer video will do the same thing but in a more effective way.
Here’s your opportunity to create awareness about your brand and explain the awesome features and benefits you provide.
A good explainer video should:
- Be short, running for one to three minutes
- Be high-quality. The production (images sound, etc) and content should effectively represent and communicate your value proposition.
- Match the audience it is intended for. Would your audience appreciate cute cartoon characters?
- Include a call to action. You need to state what you want your viewer to do after watching the video.
- Focus on problem-solving. The video should address pain points and explain how your solutions can fix them.
What type of video should you create?
You can go for the visually pleasing and interesting animated videos or choose a live-action video that uses people to explain the product/service. It depends on the audience you’re targeting.
Examples of animated videos include infographics (with charts and graphs), chalkboard or whiteboard, cartoon character-driven, product simulation, and motion graphic videos.
Ask for Referrals
This strategy encourages satisfied customers to put in a good word to decision-makers in other businesses.
Considering B2B purchases have longer sales cycles, trusted recommendations may help hasten the process by taking the work out of searching and vetting suppliers.
It’s tempting to ask customers for referrals the moment they convert, but you shouldn’t do it.
Your customer may feel like you’re using them.
The best time to ask is after a couple of weeks when the customer has seen value in your product/service.
How do you go about asking for referrals?
- Start by offering a great product/service. If you’re going to earn referrals, then your solutions better are than worth it. People don’t refer crappy solutions to others.
- Train your team to provide great customer service during and after the purchase has been made. Build a genuine relationship with your existing customers to promote loyalty and improve your chances of getting referrals.
- Come up with a program that rewards referrals. The incentives you offer (discounts, free shipping, gifts, etc) should go both ways, i.e. to the referrer and the referee. Remember to send the referrer a thank you note and tell them how the referral went.
- Avoid embarrassing your customer by providing excellent service to those they have referred to you. It will give them the confidence to refer more people.
Cold calling may be beneficial to startups as it enables you to reach audiences who are not yet exposed to your brand or offerings.
As you connect with prospects, you’ll learn what interests them and possibly build connections that may lead to future collaborations.
Here are tips to help you along:
- Don’t go in blind. Learn a couple of things about your prospects, including their motivation and challenges. It will help you gauge how well your solutions can fix their problems.
- Know your offerings to help establish your credibility and relevance. Your ability to answer questions confidently and provide useful advice sets you up as an expert in your field.
- Block time each week for cold calling. During these times, turn off your phone or silence all notifications to ensure your focus is on the prospect. It will help you get in the flow of things and boost your confidence.
- With each call, think of relationships and not an immediate sale. Come up with questions that demonstrate a genuine interest in the prospect and jot down the answers they share.
Should you buy a data list?
As a startup, you may not have a list of prospects to call, so yes you may buy a list. But go for a small list as it will be more targeted and efficient—without duplicates or inactive users.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is a useful and cost-effective tool for maximizing brand and product awareness and generating leads.
Many startups have social media pages, but they don’t have a social media strategy to help them capture leads, acquire customers, and increase awareness.
Here’s how you can go about setting up your social media strategy.
- Set goals. What do you want to get out of your social media use? You can use it to make prospects aware of your brand and offerings, generate leads, increase sales.
- Identify the best social platforms for your brand and audience. If you are a B2B tech company, LinkedIn may serve you better than Instagram. Video production may opt for Instagram and Facebook.
- Set up your social profiles and optimize them by adding your website URL, location, contact, and a small description.
- Check out competitor profiles to establish the number of followers they have, the type of content they post and how often, and the average number of shares/likes/comments they receive.
- Schedule your posts and keep them coming regularly. It will show your followers you’re invested in your social channel and encourage them to engage with you.
- Promote your social profile on your website, email signature, and your email list. It will help drive traffic and engagement.
- Measure your efforts using the analytics platforms offered by social media platforms. You can look at the number of followers you have, how many people see your posts, and the engagement your content receives.