Building a startup from the scratch is hard work. Surely we do not have to explain that to you as an entrepreneur. In case you have already taken the plunge, you must be already prepared or getting to experience it hands-on. Even if you’ve been in business for long and are just beginning to explore the thriving online world, this is for you. Beyond the proverbial blood and sweat, you need certain practical assets and additional help to establish and grow an online business. So, we are trying to list out these marketing must-haves that are absolutely necessary to start off your brand new project. Let’s get started already!
7 Marketing Must-Haves For An Online Startup or Business
1. A cracking website
Your website is your brand identity. That’s your business store-front as you try and sell goods through your online store. Remember the effort a brand puts into getting its physical stores ready? Think window displays, floor designs. We tend to shop more in places that the experience feels better. Think of the Apple stores. Don’t they inspire you to own a device? Your online store must feel the same way- attractive and essentially a good experience.
Even if you don’t sell online, imagine if somebody is looking for you/your brand, the first thing she will check will be your website. Your website is the place to make the perfect first (or sometimes only) impression. So, get a good web designer and make it sleek and user-friendly. Always remember to have a responsive website. No website from 2016 needs to be all over the map on the mobile phone. It hurts you on Google rankings and consumers find it inconvenient. Make it responsive from day one!
2. A serious blog
We’ve written extensively before on why a blog is important. Usually, unless you have new products each day (unlikely), the most updated part of your site is a blog. You send a signal out to Google’s search algorithms that you’re out there, alive. Having a blog and keeping it consistently alive are different things. Most people just join the bandwagon and start a blog but fail to post regularly. You must have a content plan- a full editorial discussion and post regularly on topics that are relevant to your business, so as to establish your authority in the field. It doesn’t work any other way!
3. An engaged Social Footprint
While everybody has a social presence nowadays, it takes some hard work to build a genuinely engaged fan base. You need to post daily and come up with interesting and useful content that is relevant to your business and is also share-worthy for your fans. You should also interact with your fans regularly and reply to their queries to build a good rapport. Building up thousands of fans through paid likes is perhaps not helpful. Being interactive and having a genuine community is more likely what you’re looking for. That requires work and consistent assessment of what’s working and what’s not!
4. A Growing Email List
Even after so many new innovations, Emails remain a major tool for business communication. So, you need a mechanism for attracting new users and subscribers for building up your Email list. Ask people to sign up for your newsletters and mailers- and give them a reason why. Invest in resources for writing perfect copies for your newsletters and dispatch these effectively and regularly by using services such as MailChimp or AWeber. Stay committed and consistent. Email is gold, trust me on that!
5. A great website copy
What you say on your website is basically the crux of your brand. Everything from product descriptions to the about us page to your 404 error page needs to have your brand tonality. You need to define a brand guideline on what your brand is about. Identify your target audience and know what they really want to hear. The hygiene factors like good grammar, easy to understand language are critical. And yet, many startups fail on those. It’s also worthwhile to remember that copy-pasting content from a competitor or another startup is a complete no-no and also you will be found. Don’t plagiarize, it’s such a short term strategy and definitely does not help you.
6. Great responsive visuals
Visual appeal does the heavy lifting for you when it comes to how the site feels and the experience your audience has. From your websites to information brochures, everything becomes more effective with good graphics. Employ a good graphic designer or team that can help you when required. If you’re selling any product, ensures the photographs and visuals are top notch and attractive. These need to look good on all devices, so make it responsive. Use of white space in design is also something that’s helpful to note. Do not overcrowd a site with too much. Keep the same fonts, few amazing but good images. Stay minimalistic, that really does create a good design experience. Less is more.
7. A strong SEO performance
You need to make more and more people discover and read your site and blog. That is where an SEO expertise and performance is needed. The simple and organic way to think about it is to create a consumer-centric vision as opposed to being too product focused. What are people looking for? What information is helpful to them? What relevant queries does your specific audience have? Use keyword tools, create editorial and content plans based on real search results and test performance. Updating your site regularly, having a user-friendly and optimal site structure are all a part of this. SEO isn’t some tech mumbo-jumbo you can’t understand, it’s in fact quite intuitive. Write what your consumers are looking for! It’s also important to improve your site and page rank so that Google considers you relevant. Look for guest posting, partnerships with other site owners as ways to get organic links built up. It’s work, but it’s not rocket science. You’ve got this!
What are some of the key marketing must-haves you’re looking at for your startups? Is there something you consider more important? Do share your inputs with us!
Written in coordination with Enakshi Sharma
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