Importance of Digital Marketing for a Startup

This is a Guest Post by Amitabh Verma, CEO and Founder of AMP Digital.

digital marketingConventional wisdom says that you build great products and it will sell on its own. More so in the online tech world wherein Google, Facebook, Amazon hardly advertised their core services, at least when they were a startup. People used their products, were delighted by the performance, and asked their friends and family to test it out. Hence there was no need for the founders to spend any money or resources in trying to market their products.

This idea that products market themselves have found some currency in the startup world. However, one must not be fooled by this and not do anything to get the word out and acquire new users and customers.

In today’s world, whatever be our beliefs, we cannot afford to ignore digital marketing. In fact, we need to be very smart and heavily invested in growing awareness, getting users, and driving conversions because things stopped happening on their own long time back. In today’s hyper active and super connected world, if you don’t claim your space, someone else will.

But before you get started, here are a few prerequisites for a successful digital marketing campaign :

  1. Mobile friendly website : Majority of the websites are getting upwards of 35% traffic from mobile devices. However, I still find a lot of websites not geared up to engage with the mobile traffic. This should be the priority number 1 to fix.
  2. Engaging content on the website: Deep, rich and interesting content should be present before we get on to the marketing bandwagon. After all, once you get someone to visit your website, there should be enough meat to keep them entertained.
  3. Ease of navigation to the conversions: Getting the on page navigation right is the key. Visitors should not have to think about how to buy your product, or to look for the action buttons. It should be upfront and on your face.
  4. Well organised PR strategy: And lastly, you should have something to talk to the media about at least once in 15 days. It may be a new feature launch or a customer story; anything that may interest the media.
  5. Get right KPIs and objectives in place – You need to be absolutely clear about the purpose of your digital marketing and what does success look like to you. Also, never try to meet multiple (and sometimes, conflicting) goals. Always better to have a very sharply defined objective along with right KPIs to measure and benchmark your progress.
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After you got the prerequisites right, it’s time to get on to the marketing bandwagon. Here are a few tips for a Smart Digital Marketing campaign:

  1. Get SEO right – First and foremost, audit your website and ensure that it is SEO ready. There are many tools that help you with website audit but ensure that you go the  whole nine yards and ensure that your website is desktop and mobile SEO friendly. Get rid of any broken pages, speed up your page load times, get meta tags/headers/descriptions properly done for each page, handle canonical redirects or any other issues that might still be there on your website.
  2. Focus on generating top class content, at least once a week – The best way to generate interest is by creating content that bring up interesting analysis and are useful to your target audience. You should start by understanding your ‘buyer personas’ and building a content roadmap. You should spend a reasonable amount of time getting every piece of content right and ensuring that it is original and valuable for the audience. Always prefer quality over quantity.
  3. Build and grow your social community – Do not ignore social. Pick up 6 to 8 social platforms where your target audience hangs out and create your presence on those platforms. You can use free and paid means to get a critical mass following you on your profiles. Once you get a sizeable mass, the community will grow on its own, so no need for paid advertising (to acquire followers) beyond a point. Also, ensure that your website has social plugins so that users can easily share their experiences with your website.
  4. Find highly relevant keywords and audiences to focus your marketing spent on – Before you spend any money on Google AdWords or Facebook ads, please ensure that you understand the buyer behaviour and the purchase funnel. What are the steps involved in the buying process, how is your audience researching for their products, are significant number of people already aware of your product category/competitor or will you have to build the category first – these are some of the questions you need to answer. Also, think about who your users/customers are, what they likes and preferences are , so that you can use these signals to better target your advertising and get higher ROI.
  5. Always be testing – Last but not the least, always be testing – A/B testing or multivariate testing should be part of the plan and not an afterthought to fix an issue. Testing platforms need to be built into our marketing plan right from the start and we need to have alternates of everything – our landing pages, ad creatives, action buttons, log placement etc. Nothing should be left to chance.
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I do feel that if a startup is doing the above, they should have a reasonable shot at success. As you can see, most part is not money, but the time invested to get it right. Dive right in and do not hesitate to ask.

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