There it is, after weeks/months/years of pre-development your startup is ready for launch.
Now, how are potential customers going to find you?
Here are 4 growth strategies you can implement for your startup:
“Going viral” – it’s probably one of the hippest terms in the marketing world nowadays.
Lots of followers added to your brand with the click of a button. Free publicity around the web. It’s the dream for every startup.
And all because of a single post on social media right?
The truth is that “going viral” only rarely happens overnight. Most things that look spontaneous, are actually backed up by a well-planned marketing strategy.
What makes things go viral?
One of the most successful viral marketing campaigns was the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. Chances are that you have seen at least one movie of a person throwing a bucket of ice cold water over themselves. This was started by Pete Frates, to raise awareness for ALS.
The best-seller Contagious: Why Things Catch On of Jonah Berger, describes six factors of why things go viral:
These six factors form the acronym STEPPS.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge” checks all of these boxes:
Social Currency – it shows that you’re a risk taker.
Triggers – it’s funny to see your friends throw a bucket of water over themselves.
Emotion – there’s an underlying thought of charity.
Public – throwing a bucket of water is something you can easily do yourself.
Practical Value – raising awareness for ALS.
Stories – there’s a deeper story behind it.
How to make things viral – the snowball effect
Viral marketing is all about word of mouth.
Like a snowball, your message will get picked up by more people and your reach gets bigger and bigger over time.
As a startup, you will have to make sure that the original content gets picked up by as much as possible people:
Create a large initial followers base on social media.
Collect email addresses of your website visitors.
Promote visitors and followers to invite other people.
Use call-to-actions in your post to share with others.
Make sure your messaging follow the STEPPS principle.
As a startup, there are a few ways to grow your business organically.
Organic means that potential customers will be able to find your product when they’re looking for it, or at least it’s on the top of their mind.
Increase your Google organic rankings
Depending on your business model, Google might be your best source to get organic traffic.
Optimising your website for SEO means that you get ranked for relevant search queries in Google.
In order to optimise your website for SEO you can:
Create content and become an online authority.
Optimise that content to get ranked for particular keywords.
Create backlinks from other websites.
Improve the loading time of your website.
SEO is a long-term investment, where you have to invest time (and sometimes money if you’re using an agency) to improve your ranking. As a startup, you’re likely to have a new domain name which means you’ll have to build up credit before Google will give you a high ranking.
3. Paid advertising
Paid online advertising is the way to get relevant traffic to your website immediately. Depending on the business model of your startup, there are a few tactics you might want to consider:
The Google search network is one of the most targeted ways of advertising on the web.
You will have the ability to only target people that are actively searching for your product or service. As with any form of PPC advertising you will only have to pay when someone actually clicks on your ad.
Google Ads is the perfect platform to test different keywords, ads, landing pages etc. When setting up the right way you’ll be able to optimise your campaigns significantly based on the data and get more bang for your buck.
Facebook & Instagram Ads
If you have a very specific audience that you target, you might want to consider running ads on social media.
Facebook & Instagram give the opportunity to set up very specific audience lists based on demographics, interests and much more.
For startups that are launching a product in a relatively unknown market this might be a good option, as the Google search network might not be able to give you much relevant traffic.
Google Display Network (Remarketing)
The Google Display Network (GDN) contains millions of website all over the world. You’re able to show ads to your target audience when they’re browsing around the web.
When you get started I wouldn’t recommend starting with generic display advertising. There are a lot of ways to target your ads, and finding the one that works for you requires a lot of testing, which means it could cost you a lot of money. However, you can use the GDN for remarketing ads.
With remarketing you’re advertising for people that already visited your site. As they’re already familiar with your brand they’re more likely to click your ad and convert. Your CAC (cost of acquiring a customer) will be significantly lower compared to generic display.
As a startup, you might want to start building partnerships to grow your business.
Although partnerships are sometimes hard to get off the ground (and require a lot of time investment), they might turn in your most profitable channel.
A partnership is often based on a commision, meaning that there’s a low risk from your end. If a partner is unable to get your sales or leads, you simply don’t have to pay them.