Tech Writer at Whites Agency.
Have you already thought about how to plan marketing activities for your product/service? When is the best time to approach your customers? Read our guidelines on how to go through the whole process with the help of the marketing and development teams. We will also answer why establishing a data-driven digital strategy for your business may be a good way to go for you.
First of all - it isn’t as expensive as you think. Moreover, a killer marketing strategy may help you to save a lot of money and time during all the stages of your business growth. You also need to get yourself in the proper mindset since the very beginning. Let’s be clear here - without the right strategy, it’s rather impossible to maintain the consistency of your brand.
Below we share with you a few crucial aspects to focus on while going through different stages of the dynamic growth of your business:
Obviously, You need a “great digital product” as a startup website, web app or a mobile app that will be a digital showcase of your business. Nowadays people say that if you are not active in the online world, then you don’t exist at all. As a startup, you also need to prove your credibility.
When it comes to developing a new digital product for your business, be that a simple website/mobile app or a complex cross-platform system, marketing teams should work hand-in-hand with the agile software development team. The cooperation between IT and marketing departments is crucial, cause you need a technologically viable product (dev value) that also meets market demand and that is user-friendly (marketer’s value/UX value).
The IT team must have a deep understanding of startup business challenges. There are a lot of ways you can build a digital product and the technology decision should be made once there are requirements in place. To start, you need to establish sufficient funding to have a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). IT team can help you to define and deploy technologies such as right frameworks for systems development, big data and analytics, or cloud computing.
Dev team need to make sure that technology solutions should also limit the need for complex marketing channel integrations. At this stage there is a huge focus on IT projects, however, this is a good moment for a collaboration with the marketing people. You also need an early market validation - and it’s a task for marketers. This way, both IT and marketing departments can work parallelly and optimize the process. IT put efforts to meet their core goals, while the marketing team can focus on forging better UX.
Let’s start with a short definition - a marketing plan is a document that outlines your marketing strategies and tactics that need to be applied for achieving certain marketing objectives within a certain time. At this stage, you have an excellent digital product (website, web or mobile app) and now you are wondering how to show your value to your target audience. You need to establish a data-driven strategy, a major part of marketing is about numbers and analytics. Without realizing what works and doesn’t work, you cannot make any progress. Moreover, a digital landscape is constantly changing, so it’s good to have something to hold on to, especially if it’s based on the raw and the most recent data. Marketers are becoming more data-driven than ever, and they need clean statistics to operate. The challenge for the dev team, on the other hand, is to assure the transparency and security of the data and provide marketing automation solutions and collaboration tools (eg. Slack, Trello).
You may consider running customized Big Data analyses. You need to know who is your competitor and monitor them, however, focus on the unique aspect of your business. Find the gaps that your competitors hadn’t filled and target there. You may consider Reverse Engineering Approach to scan your competitors in SERPs and distinguish features of the winners, then you should build a precise digital360 strategy based on the Key Ranking Factors in your niche. You may also learn how industry benchmarks behave when it comes to their digital presence. The ranking signals differ from each other depending on the user’s intentions in search. For example, eCommerce websites require different optimization recommendations than portals with News. Keep that in mind while considering SEO activities for your service.
Marketing goals should strongly support your business objectives. You may ask, how to set them efficiently? Well, without the goal, you will not get there. We recommend focusing on long term vision divided into short term milestones. This way, you will be able to control and evaluate the progress and apply changes if necessary. While setting objectives, keep in mind to be specific, for example instead of saying “I want to have many customers and make a lot of money in 2020” write “By December 2020 we will help 15 clients and hit $500,000 in sales”. Besides, remember to set SMART(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals, so that you can follow the action.
It is recommended to spend 12-20% of your gross revenue for marketing activities (for companies less than a year old on the market). Specify how much you will spend, on what actions, and divide expenses into categories. Think about your monthly fixed costs and make sure to address them before creating your marketing budget. Allocate an advertising budget, choose promotion channels and define which strategies are affordable for you at this stage. While setting a budget, remember about your long term goals.
Depending on your current situation, specifics of your products/services and intended niche you need to think about the most accurate promotion channels. Moreover, we recommend focusing maximally on 1-2 channels at the beginning, as you don’t want to spend your money on many activities that will not convert. The sniper approach to your marketing strategy is better than a gunshot. There are plenty of options out there and we want to guide you through those that can be efficient for your business. Let’s go through each of them:
Content is commerce, not just a king. Your blog is a powerful tool that delivers value for your potential customers and brings you the exposure that you mostly need as a startup company. Case studies are very important here, however you may also invest in video content. According to Cisco, by 2022, 82% of all IP traffic will come from videos. Consider producing data-driven content based on Big data analyses. Creating and posting user-generated content on your blog can attract organic search traffic to your site. Isn’t it what you exactly need? It’s also worth to expand your content on third-party publications and platforms. If you want a quick and temporary boost in traffic, try guest posting or paid promotion as Google Ads campaigns.
Never underestimate the power of Social Media - there were a 3.725 billion active Social Media users in 2019. The use of SoMe plays a crucial role in digital marketing, especially for startups. There is plenty of different platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube, Tik-Tok, however, don’t rush with creating your business profiles everywhere. You need to stay focused and, again, ask yourself “who is my target audience?”, then “how do they spend time?”. Those questions will help you to narrow down your choices. Once your business exists on social media, you need to keep it alive! Firstly build your audience. You may use sponsored posts and adverts, however, keep in mind that it’s rather a costly solution and the traffic is just temporary. You also need to keep your audience engaged - remember about valuable content, awesome creatives and catchy headlines that address the need of your target market. From now on, your customer is a hero of every story you share.
Why do you need SEO for your startup? It’s not a secret that SEO helps businesses leave a mark on the minds of consumers. Moreover, more efforts you put into Search Engine Optimization - more you know about your target audience, as it reveals customer behavior data. Of course, it’s also mostly about an increase in traffic and conversions.
If you want long term results and to build brand lifetime value, we recommend choosing a data-driven approach to SEO. Here is why:
Raw data reveal user behavior patterns and trends that may not be obvious for the SEO specialists at first glance. Let’s be direct, the competition is fierce, especially if it comes to the digital world. As a startup, you want to expand awareness of your brand and raise organic traffic on your website. This is a great way to go if you want a steady increase in visibility. What if you could learn, how your direct competitors behave in search engines? There is a way to learn about their SEO strategies. You can try the aforementioned Reverse Engineering approach to SEO. There is a lot of SEO recommendations out there, but keep in mind that each industry has its specifics, hence key ranking factors differ from each other depending on the niche. It’s crucial to choose data-based optimization techniques, otherwise, your efforts and money will be wasted on misguided SEO activities. You may consider, hiring SEO experts that can support you with all or part of your needs from strategy, benchmarking, deep content analysis, quick fixes, keyword research, managing it all for you. If you want a steady and data-driven business growth - it can be a way for you.
Some marketers say that it’s a dying channel. Besides, it’s not as popular as others, it can still be a converting way for you. Again, it depends on your product and the relevant content to the targeted audience. In other words, you need valuable content, a proper plan and then you may have a chance for conversions and satisfying ROI. We also advise you to make sure that you address your messages to people who may be interested, otherwise, you may end up with “SPAM” label. A positive message here is that Email marketing is relatively cheap compared to other channels.
But don’t forget about an agile development team! Cooperation between dev and marketing teams is the keystone to delivering a modern, cost-effective marketing strategy for startups.
Here is how dev team may help you at this stage:
Congratulations! You get to the 3. and most important stage - tracking, analyzing and improving your marketing activities. You gotta constantly test, check, optimize and update your digital strategy to outsmart the competitors and increase ROI.
Whatever you choose - it’s important to focus on teamwork collaboration and apply a sniper approach to your digital strategy - we bet that at this stage you have a lot of expenses and let’s be honest… you don’t have extra money to spend on the blurred or common business activities that don’t work anymore - minimizing costly mistakes is crucial here.
You want to start to increase your sales: one of the previously mentioned options is SEO. If you choose to invest in organic traffic increase, you may consider consulting Data-scientists that can help you to find the most suitable solution for you and maximize your chance for letting your clients know that you are there for them - anytime they need. In other words, based on the extended big data analyses you may tailor your marketing communication to the appropriate target audience. You need to make data-based decisions.
You also need constant monitoring of the strategy, website or app updates, and analysis of your marketing activities. Don’t forget about a proper data collection, observation of how your industry benchmark or direct competition behaves, if and how they react to the algorithm updates in search engines. It is also essential to measure trends by using developed analytics tools. It can be overwhelming, you don’t have to do this alone.
Last, but not least, think about refreshing marketing tech infrastructure - be open for new tools that help to automate work and make your business work more efficiently. IT team can advise you with comprehensive & well-integrated systems that will help you to improve the customer journey and optimize internal processes. Better technology equals higher customer satisfaction.
Transparent communication between those marketing and development departments or partners helps to understand customers’ needs and pain points and therefore, work together on the ways to add value and meet the real-market demand. Cross-team collaboration between the aforementioned specialists can be a good solution to build a cost-effective digital strategy for startups. A good digital strategy increases customer satisfaction that in turn translates into the business growth of your startup, that’s a win-win situation.
Arleta is desponsible for digital marketing and close collaboration with R&D team at Whites Agency. Highly organized and efficient communicator focused on data-driven marketing. Team player, traveler and nature lover.View all author posts
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