Everybody dreams of being their own boss, but starting a business is not easy. And staying in business once you’ve started it is even more challenging. Stories of major success like Microsoft and Amazon are few and far between; most small businesses close their doors within five years instead.
So what can you do to avoid the same fate? Well, unless you have access to unlimited funds to support your business, the answer is attracting as many new users and customers as possible. And the best way to do this is by using innovative marketing strategies that make your startup stand out from the crowd.
Innovative marketing strategies that will help you grow your startup
There are many different ways you can market your business, but you may have limited options as a startup. After all, you’re just starting out – you probably don’t have a recognizable brand yet, and you might not have enough resources for a broad campaign, so you should turn to some more creative marketing ideas.
Rely on your customers to promote your business
There is no better endorsement for a business than the word of their customers. You can harness the power of these recommendations and turn them into good marketing. How? Start by encouraging your customers to leave reviews and share their experiences with your products or services. Display positive reviews on your website and use social media to share them as well. People often make purchasing decisions based on reviews, so having many positive comments is imperative.
But that’s not all your customers can do for you. You can develop a referral program to encourage your customers further to spread the word about your business. Have an incentive for people who bring in more customers in the form of a discount or a gift – it’ll pay off.
Offer exclusives and freebies
People like getting something others don’t have, so give them something extra – access to certain features of your software, early versions of new products, testers, and the like. This will drum up the buzz around your goods and services and make them appear more exclusive.
But even though people are willing to pay for this kind of exclusivity, you should know that one of the best marketing strategies you can employ is giving things away for free. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works: offer discounts, send out gifts with every purchase, make testers readily available. This will encourage people to buy more from you and make them feel like you care about your customers. And happy customers are much more likely to recommend you to their friends.
Partner with an influencer or more prominent brand
When you’re just starting out, it’s hard to make a name for yourself next to all the big businesses that have already established themselves. But what if you didn’t have to go against them? You can actually grow your business through partnerships with existing brands! An endorsement from a big brand will work just like a recommendation from a customer, only with an even bigger reach. So try contacting some businesses who could benefit from what you’re selling and see if they’d be willing to work with you. And if that doesn’t work, turn to influencers instead. Influencers are enormous on social media these days – a shoutout from one of them could do wonders for your startup.
Support a social cause
A great way to build a positive brand is to attach it to a social cause you hold dear. It humanizes your business, shows that you’re in touch with current issues, and helps promote your values. However, keep in mind that many social causes are very controversial. By putting your weight behind one, you’ll endear yourself to its supporters, but you’ll inevitably also alienate those who disagree with it.
Go viral and make headlines
An excellent way to promote your business is to get people talking about it. Provided you’re not making the rounds because of a marketing blunder, going viral on social media is pretty much the best thing that can happen to a business these days.
Do something creative, post a funny video about your products, or develop an interesting challenge for people to participate in. Even if your target audience is not online, these kinds of things often make the news, so you’ll be reaching an extensive and diverse pool of potential customers.
The benefits of employing innovative marketing strategies for a startup
A new business faces a lot of challenges, many of them due to limited funds. This is why free and cheap resources for startups are essential – they help new businesses break into the industry without risking bankruptcy. But even with the help of such resources, traditional marketing is hard to do without a serious investment.
However, using creative strategies that employ social media, improve customer relations, and rely on word-of-mouth recommendations, is free (or at least much cheaper than running an ad campaign). So you’ll be saving a lot of money by being innovative in your marketing.
Don’t just rely on innovative marketing strategies to kickstart your startup – traditional marketing is popular for a reason
As much help as innovative marketing strategies can be to your startup, they aren’t a replacement for standard marketing practices like ad campaigns or SEO. There’s a reason why big businesses do marketing the way they do – it works, so use creative alternatives to get you started. But as your business grows and gains traction, start combining them with traditional marketing. That’s the best way to reach continuously good results as your business evolves.