The past few years have been very interesting for entrepreneurship, suddenly startups are so cool and everyone wants to set one up. The big companies and millionaires suddenly want to fund a startup. The governments are recognising the importance of small and medium enterprises to economies and are creating policies to protect startup businesses. The numbers of new start-ups keep hitting the roof. In the UK alone, there were 80 new start ups birthed every hour in 2016. London, the capital of start-ups in the world has 500 start ups to every 1,000 residents. Everyone now wants to include ‘Entrepreneur’ on their social media profiles, it is hip like that!
No doubt the start-up revolution is live, but at the same time, the high number of startup failures is also real. The average survival rate for start ups is put at a discouraging 42%. This means the majority of start-ups (almost 60% of them) die within 5 years.
Most of the failures have been borne from people jumping into startup creation just because it is now cool, without the needed planning. Marketing is key to the survival of start-ups but a lot of them are not paying enough attention to it. Every start up should invest in processes that would make marketing of their companies successful and the company will certainly be successful.
So what exactly are these marketing processes that startups should focus on to position their companies for success? Below are 5 of them:
1. Begin with a startup business plan
It will be useless rolling out marketing for a product without a strong business plan. That is like putting the cart before the horse. Every marketing plan should be preceded by a strong and sound business plan. Identify the teams you will be working with, identify those to do your marketing based on qualities you have identified over time. Review your product, its strength and weaknesses. What are those things that make it tower above competition? What improvements need to be made on the product?
2. Identify target
Marketing is based entirely on reaching customers. These customers need to be identified in the marketing plan, and how to reach them. What are the demographics of potential customers? This will determine the direction marketing should face. A product targeted at older people will require a different form of marketing as compared to one for young people. Also identify how to reach these people in your marketing drive.
3. Set up a budget
A marketing drive will definitely fail without a proper budget. It is usually a missing link as most start-ups are weary of spending on marketing when they are unsure of reception of the product. This is one of the costly mistakes that lead to most start-ups failing rather too early. The budget should be modest, and cover the different channels to be exploited. Based on the target population, the different channels should be prioritised and funding should be applied appropriately. Keep in mind free channels so that the funds meant for those can be re-channeled.
4. Build a website for your product
A website is key to achieve wide outreach for your products. Ensure you get a good web design company for this. The CEO of Infintech Designs, Brian Hong when asked about the most important aspect small businesses need to invest in said, “First, a business needs a professionally designed website that is optimized for speed, engaging content, and conversions. This is the baseline asset we use to optimize for rankings as well as funnel traffic to when launching SEM, Social, Video, Press Releases, and so on.” He is certainly right
At the end of the marketing process, there should always be an appraisal. Having weathered the storm with the planning targets, budgeting to achieve those plans, and rolling out the plans, it is important to reassess the processes, identify the successes achieved, failures, missed opportunities. Try to use these as a tool to reorganise the planning for the next cycle. Always try to not to be bias in your appraisal, as it is an important way of improving in the next marketing cycle.