Ahh finally… Your new startup is live and you can smell the success.
You feel victorious as your hard work as finally came to a head and your business is ready for your initial customers. But… Now what?
Over my years of experience, the number one failure amongst Entrepreneurs is the inability to market their new business.
A couple of years ago I was consulting a startup that just launched an awesome new dating app for Android and iOS. It was one of the coolest new concepts I had ever seen. But when I asked how they planned on promoting it I was shocked.
The young man who was appointed the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) told me he would just bid on “dating apps” on Google Adwords. I looked at him, and without much thought, said, “Do you have any clue how expensive that’s going to be?” My answer took him off guard as I could tell he really hadn’t pondered the promotion.
Here’s an estimate using Google’s Keyword planner:
As you can see, competition is already high, so they suggest a starting bid at $2.10.
For companies with a lot of capital, this isn’t that big of a deal. They can sit and bid that all day long and wait for their return.
The Entrepreneurs I was consulting were going to start their app as free to get their initial users and planned on charging down the line. Unfortunately they were very limited to capital and were seeking third party investors. I highly discouraged this.
Before you go seeking investors for capital to by ads, there are several different ways you should utilize to try to get the word out. I recommend issuing a press release, starting a blog, setting up social accounts, posting on industry-related forums, and going to networking events.
A press release is a cost-efficient way to get your new product or service out to several media outlets with the click of your mouse. I personally like PRWeb.com as their plans are fairly affordable and their approval process only takes a couple of hours. This also helps the search results for your new company’s name. When you go to write your press release, write it with your audience in mind. Since it’s going to be distributed to a number of media outlets, give it a catchy title, and tell a story about something you’re startup is going to do. Don’t just do the cookie cutter “ABC Launches New Product For XYZ.” That’s boring and is going to get overlooked by many. Write about something you would like to read.
Starting a blog on your new website is a very cheap way to give your new company a voice and ability to connect with your customers. Since it’s likely you already have web hosting, simply install a free copy of WordPress, and start writing about topics related to your audience. Don’t just sit and try to “sell” your readers. Give them informative, helpful information. If your blog is useful, people in your industry will start visiting daily and will share with their connections.
Social accounts are a must. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the first ones I go to when I want to start building a presence. Once you setup your account start connecting with people in the industry. As you build up your connections start cross-posting content from your blog and other helpful tips. As with your blogs, be helpful, and don’t always include links. If your connections find your content interesting they’ll also share it with their connections allowing for it to go viral.
Every industry has some type of forum where they connect. Some of the more established ones have websites full of members while others have sub sections on websites such as Reddit. I simply go to Google and starting doing searches for “MY INDUSTRY News” or “MY INDUSTRY Discussion.” Somewhere along the line you’ll find websites where people are already discussing things in your niche and you can start gaining exposure for free.
Conferences have been huge for my companies. Just as open forums, almost every industry has a trade-show or networking event. I watched a documentary the other night where people who have had near-death experiences have a tradeshow where they all get together and discuss their stories! Get out from your computer and try to attend some of these! With all of the discount travel sites online, you shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg to attend. Nothing beats face-to-face communication though and it’s likely you’ll meet some connections that will really help catapult your new business.
In conclusion, the majority of your hard work is actually getting your startup in production to where you can start accepting customers. But without proper marketing, even the coolest idea will fail. So after completing your first hurdle, getting the startup online and ready for customers, prepare for the next by starting with these five-easy tips and doors will begin to open to start building your customer base.
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.