90% of young businesses and startups, unfortunately, fail to prioritize marketing soon enough. As a result, most of them fail. According to the Small Business Association of America, at least 21.5% of young businesses fail in the first year alone, 30% of startups fail in the second year, and 50% of early-stage companies fail in the fifth year.
These numbers are alarming, to say the least, and they should be a wake-up call for any young business or startup that has yet to prioritize marketing. Also, most startups fail because they started without the intention of solving a real problem.
Many people start businesses with the goal of making billions, which isn't entirely wrong. But when they realize that goal isn't going to happen right away, they give up. The determined focus on devising or making value for your customers is the true secret to scaling your business. It will also help you stay afloat when things get tough, as they inevitably do.
Nevertheless, there are other things you can do to scale your business. Let's take a look at some of them.
Also known as public relations/Press releases, Online PR is one of the things you want to do from the get-go. It's integral to startups and young businesses because one good article can undoubtedly get you in front of the best business investors, give you the boost you need, or can give you the lead in your industry.
Also, it's one of the most powerful marketing strategies out there. Why? Well, because there's no ceiling. Meaning, you can get as much press marketing as you're willing to work for – and it won't cost you a fortune.
That's why it's called earned media. You "earn" it by writing a story that's so good, reporters want to write about it. The idea here is to get your company into key content that your audience is reading through targeted media placements.
Online PR isn't only great for hiring, partnerships, thought leadership, and branding. It also quickly brings increased revenue, and it's a solid user-acquisition strategy. What's more, Online PR adds social proof, which is essential for any business – but especially a startup.
There are three things needed for a business's Online PR:
Build Your Press List
The first part is to learn how to build your press list of people you want to contact. A press list is generally your running tab of all the people telling stories to your target audience.
In this list, you must include their email address, name, the publications they write for, and sample articles they've written in the past. Adding these will help you immensely when it comes time to reach out and connect with these people.
The idea here is to have a solid understanding of the type of people you want to connect with and what kinds of stories they tend to write. Explore their social media and check out their website to see if they are a good fit for what you're trying to achieve.
If they are, add them to your list. You can even set up Google Alerts for each publication and reporter on your list to make sure you're always in the loop.
Write the Perfect Press Release
In Online PR, you must be able to turn whatever you are working on into valuable and powerful stories for the media to share with their readers, listeners, or viewers. Creating the perfect press release is where your creativity comes into play. You have to be able to see the potential news value in what you are doing, and then craft a catchy headline and angle that will make the media want to cover your story.
But here's the catch: you'll never know what content will be valuable to your target demographic unless you test it. With that said, you need to create several story tracks and run them with the media and see which one they respond to the most.
You may be thinking that Online PR doesn't apply to your young business yet because you don't have a story to tell. But that's where you're wrong. You can get in the media without having billions of dollars yet or being famous.
You always have a story to tell; you just need to find it. Even launching your business is a story. How did you come up with the idea? Why are you passionate about it? How are you going to change the industry? These are all stories that the media will be interested in.
As a startup marketer, you always need to speak about your business in the context of a larger story. The key is to be interesting, not promotional. Talk about what you're doing in the context of why it matters and the difference it's going to make.
Distribute Your Content
Once you've written a powerful story about your business, the next big thing you need to do is efficiently and effectively send out your story to as many people as possible. Be valuable, be relevant, and be different with your content, and people will want to read it.
The key to making reporters want your story is to offer them what they can't find elsewhere. Be a go-to source for interesting stories, data, and analysis. When you're constantly giving reporters the content they need, they will eventually come to you when they're looking for a quote or an expert opinion.
Reach out to the high-value reporters on your press list first, and then work your way down. Personalized emails are always better than form letters, so take the time to write a few sentences about why you think the reporter would be interested in your story.
And finally, don't forget to follow up! If a reporter doesn't respond to your email, give them a call or shoot them a tweet. They'll appreciate the extra effort, and you might just get your story published.
Social Media Marketing
For young businesses, nothing is more important than knowing your early customers because they help you speed up your success with the qualitative data they give you about what they want and how they use your product. Customer feedback is important for an early-stage company, so it's crucial to spend time communicating and engaging with your early customers to nurture those interactions that can potentially change the trajectory of your business.
Your social media pages are a core part of your business marketing foundation, like your analytics, tagline, logo, website, and more. Businesses should start their social media early on, as soon as they get the idea of starting the company.
The sooner you start your social media marketing efforts, the sooner you gain market share and followers. Think of your social media following as your email list. The more extensive your social media following, the more potential customers you can reach.
Be sure to create a social media strategy that is tailored to the unique needs of your business. What kind of content will you post? How often? Who will be in charge of your social media accounts? What social media channels will you use? These are all important questions to answer when creating your social media strategy.
Once you've developed a strategy, we recommend spending a month creating all your social media content. While this can be a time-consuming process, it's important to have a month's worth of content so you can start promoting your business on social media right away.
Creating a social media calendar can help you stay organized and on track with your content creation. This way, you can batch create content and schedule it out ahead of time, so you're not scrambling to come up with something new to post every day.
Use automatic posting tools to save time and reduce the hassle of manually posting to each social media platform every day. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social can help you post to all your social media accounts with just a few clicks.
Here are the important social media guidelines you should know:
- Set up one automated post daily.
- Always try to impress, inspire, and teach.
- Get new ideas every month.
- Use 5-10 hashtags.
- Stay on-brand.
Content marketing is all about writing and sharing useful content to attract and convert potential customers into buying customers and eventually into repeat buyers. The type of content you create will largely depend on your audience's needs.
The idea here is to create value for your target market without selling too hard. That way, when they are ready to buy, they'll think of you first. Every piece of content you make can bring high-intent and high-quality traffic to your young business for free.
To create a solid strategy, you must first learn all the different content types you can create and test them. The more you create, the faster you will see which types of content relate and appeal to your audience the most.
Types of content you can create:
- How-to guides and tutorials
- Case studies
- Webinars and podcasts
Creating a mix of these types of content will help you attract new visitors, build trust with them, and eventually convert them into customers, boosting your conversion rate optimization.
Another thing, you can create a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest yet most powerful content marketing strategies to scale because it's free. Also, it has huge SEO implications for your business because each blog article can be ranked on its own in Google.
However, many startups fail to get their blogging off the ground. The most common reason is that they take weeks to write their posts. To avoid such a scenario, you can take advantage of local digital marketing services that can help you with content creation.
It's important to focus on valuable content here that speaks to your target market. By doing this, you will attract high-quality traffic that is more likely to convert into customers.
Influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing segments in digital marketing, and for a good reason. Influencer marketing allows brands to tap into the social media following of popular individuals (known as influencers) in order to promote their products or services.
There are three ways you can go about this marketing trend:
- Using an influencer marketing platform.
- Working with an influencer marketing agency.
- DIY influencer marketing campaigns.
But the first thing you need to do is know the influencers for your market. Hence, choose a social media channel. Nowadays, many people are using Instagram for influencer marketing because of its high engagement rate.
Then, create a keyword list that you'd like to use to search for influencers on the social media channel you have chosen. For example, you are a health-food startup focused on health-conscious 25 to 45-year-olds. Your list might look like this:
- Healthy eating
- Food allergies
- Weight loss
You can research engagement, activity, and competitiveness to find the right keywords for your business. Next, list out influencers for each term and then contact them.
When reaching out, be clear about what you want from the partnership and what you can offer in return. Startups can focus on micro-influencers with a smaller but more engaged following, as they are often more open to working with new brands. Also, they are more than willing to barter for other values like products in exchange for content.
The secret to a successful influencer marketing campaign is to have control over the influencer's content. The more guidelines you give to the influencer and the more effort you invest into these engagements, the better the results will be for your brand.
Another important thing to consider when scaling your business in today's world is your SEO or Search Engine Optimization. If you don't have a plan or someone to execute a plan for optimizing your website for search engines, you're going to miss out on a lot of potential customers who are using the internet to find businesses like yours.
SEO is important because it determines how visible your website is in search engine results pages (SERPs) and, therefore, how much organic traffic it can generate. A well-executed SEO strategy will help your business rank higher in SERPs for relevant keywords, which means more people will see your website and have the opportunity to become customers or clients.
Startups need to be especially mindful of their SEO because they often compete against larger, more established businesses with bigger budgets. But don't let that discourage you! There are many ways to optimize your website for search engines on a shoestring budget.
You can work with us, a digital marketing firm or digital marketing agency based in Los Angeles, to help you with your SEO needs. We will work with you to come up with an effective and affordable SEO plan that will help your business grow. Plus, we have all the essential digital marketing tools needed to execute a successful SEO marketing campaign.
It takes a lot to scale a business in today's world. You need to have an understanding of the latest online marketing trends, be able to pivot when necessary, and always put your customer first. But if you can do all of that, the sky's the limit for your company.
If you need help, don't hesitate to give us a call today! We are a local digital marketing company. Our team would be more than happy to help you create digital marketing strategies and digital advertising that align with your business goals and ultimately achieve business growth.
There are no other digital marketing agencies that can offer the same quality service and results that we provide. So contact us today to get started!