When you're planning on establishing a startup business, there are a hundred and one things to think of, but don't let what seems to be a whole heap of administration get in the way of your vision.
There are many things you need to know and do when it comes to structuring your startup in terms of complying with the law and developing your business plan. So be sure of what you want to get out of your new venture, and what you’re expecting clients and investors to get out of it.
It's an exciting time when you're raring to get your business established as quickly as you can. Your initial ideas will have interested a lot of people, even if they're not all buying from you yet, so how do you turn interest into sales and expand your startup as quickly and efficiently as possible?
In simple terms, you need to "gain traction" to build your customer base, whether people are paying for your product or you have a free service and want to dramatically increase the number of users you have. You may have an original offering, a brilliant team and lots of money (though the latter usually takes time to come along) but if you don't generate the interest in what you're offering you're unlikely to get far.
So your marketing strategy has to be right up to the mark to pique people's interest and then deliver the ease of access to the information they want.
Moving your marketing forward
Everyone would like to be the success story such as Apple, Facebook or Microsoft, but it's not as simple as just having an idea; in this day and age you face heavy competition from other startups who want to achieve the same thing.
Before the dotcom era, the main focus for businesses was on sales and profits. Success for startups now is measured by how fast they can grow their user base. You don't need to make money immediately but by growing your users you can work out how you'll cash in later – although it's best to already have though that through as far as you can in your initial planning.
Increasing your user base may require a number of strategies, but use one or two you think will work best to start with. Remember your startup is unique, but not necessarily because you’re offering products no one else is offering; maybe it’s because you are marketing those products in a way that will see you off the starting blocks like Usain Bolt. But while Bolt stops when he reaches the finish line, you'll use the momentum to continue motoring.
Let's check a few marketing ideas that you could consider, and it's also worth checking out a company that has utilized a marketing strategy that's given it explosive growth. Take a look at As seen on TV to get a sense of what the online retailer of unique household and outdoor products featured on television has achieved so far.
Cool, relevant content
Without good content you probably won't get very far. Though time and, sometimes, skills may be in short supply to start with, you need to concentrate on getting your content right. For starters, your website needs to be sharp and attractive, easy to navigate and not full of impenetrable text that is unlikely to hold the attention of the click generations.
Make sure your menus are easy to locate and will direct visitors to the pages they are interested in. A study by market research company Blue Nile Research looking at what compelled business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) buyers to buy found that that content supported by data and statistics led the field. It was considered that this information would be easily digested, enabling an easy comparison between products.
What you're looking for is content that converts potential buyers or users to actual buyers or users, so keeping your content fresh and relevant is a key part of growing your business.
The main issue here is to how to stop your blog becoming boring. People are very often interested in keeping up with blogs so again it comes down to refreshing content in an interesting way. You could keep people in touch with what the company is doing, chat about the products that are doing well and the new plans you have, and add short videos to highlight certain aspects of your work.
Above all, you need to be imaginative in the way you approach your communications whether they are individual customers or you are selling to businesses. Make your content attractive and relevant and you're in with a better chance of conversion.
How often have you heard that something on social media has gone viral? That doesn't mean it was always intended and it can be dangerous if you get your marketing message wrong, but taking a creative approach and thinking through just what might appeal to social users to share what you have can be a very inexpensive and effective way of marketing, as well as providing a reach and an audience that you might otherwise not have.
Once again, be careful and if you're not sure take some advice. The viral market can be a great boost to your recognition but if you get it wrong it can be equally damaging.
People are, for the most part, sociable creatures and enjoy getting involved in community initiatives. You could build in developing activities and information for your local community and generate significant goodwill that is likely to be shared widely by participants.
Other strategies include search marketing, offline/physical marketing, social media marketing, email marketing and display advertising. You need to examine each of these options and choose what you think will best suit your startup in terms of driving growth in order for it to thrive in what is a very competitive business environment.