Setting the Stage for Marketing Your Startup
The Twitter account or the website?
Your blog or your business card?
And how can you develop your buyer personas if you don’t have clients to interview?
You’re thinking about starting a new company or perhaps you already have. Startups are faced with an overwhelming number of items on the marketing to-do list. It seems that priorities change daily and everything has a critical status. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in an endless loop as you try to accomplish these tasks.
There is a way to keep the needle moving forward. And while there will be overlap as well as some circling back and jumping ahead, here are marketing initiatives guidelines to help your new business.
1. Build Your Personal Brand
You are representing a company, but you are still a person. As its founder, people will look to see what value you bring to your new company. Your professional reputation will encourage people to purchase your products and/or services. It will also provide a clear path for vendor relations and business partnerships. Maintain and share your profile on social sites, particularly LinkedIn. Build your reputation as an influencer in your field.
2. Develop Your Corporate Brand
Entrepreneurs bring so much of their own personality into their new businesses, so it’s never too early to begin branding your new company. Even as you are in the process of incorporating your name, purchasing your URL, and designing a logo, you can begin sharing your vision and your value proposition with colleagues and prospects. As you network, your conversations will provide you with invaluable data. Use this early feedback to fine tune your brand messaging.
3. Design Your Website
When you have a good idea of who you are, go for it. Today’s websites are not stagnant worldwide web pages, they are fluid and interactive portals of information for your clients. Begin with something simple, a homepage that identifies you and your offering(s), an e-commerce site if needed, and a way to contact you. As you evolve, you can add your blog (don’t wait too long), product reviews, white papers, and case studies.
4. Develop Your Sales Toolkit
At a minimum, the must-have information necessary for smart sales conversations include:
- An internal profile of each offering, with pricing and pain points addressed. Depending on your product, you may also need client-ready, leave behind sell sheets.
- A competitive analysis.
- Buyer persona profiles for your high-value market.
5. Launch Your Product Marketing
At this point, you’ve built the foundation to begin marketing your products and services with authority and confidence. Your outbound efforts will include reaching to your target market via a mix of trade shows, networking events, and email communications. Inbound marketing includes developing your online presence through blogs, social media and website optimization. Outbound marketing is essential for a startup, but as you mature, you should shift marketing resources from outbound to inbound (much, much more about this to come).
It’s still arguable which comes first, and it’s easy to see where there is the greatest likelihood of overlap and skipping around. Organizing your work into these buckets will make the mountain of marketing that faces you over your first few years easier to navigate.