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Digital Marketing for Startups – 5 Critical Habits for Successful Digital Campaigns

content marketing

Marketing your products and services on digital is increasingly becoming an exciting game. With so many new technologies, platforms, methods, techniques – digital marketing for startups is as complex . With so many choices, it can seem quite daunting to those promoting new businesses.

If you have a startup, then choosing digital as a marketing is perhaps the simplest way – the only investment being time and some serious brainpower.

In this post, I will share 5 critically important habits that can help you build successful digital campaigs. These are habits which have helped me execute digital marketing campaigns for startups and delivering results along the way. These habits which won’t deliver results overnight and will take serious effort. But, when the results come, they will blow your mind away.

Follow, then lead

If you’re just starting out, (I’m assuming you are), it’s much easier and smarter to follow those who have already tasted success.

Many companies and individuals are doing great stuff online, doing the right kind of content marketing. Is there something you can learn from them?

Here’s an example:

This is a video done by Samuel Adams Beer for April Fool’s Day. A great concept which generated the right amount of buzz, won them thousands of new followers and consequently, paying customers.

Try to learn from this video. How can you tweak a message that fits your product/brand in a humorous manner? Samuel Adams does a great job of integrating April Fool’s Day with a a prank recipe for a beer. Some ideas off the top of my head:

      1. Running a restaurant? Maybe you could come up with a prank recipe video of  “salads that taste like pizzas” or a zero calorie juice that tastes like an Oreo Brownie Shake!
      2. Running a fashion line? How about a cool product launch video for an invisibility cloak? You will definitely attract all Harry Potter fans.
      3. If you are in the music industry, making parodies can be fun.

The possibilities are endless. If you are confused, start your digital marketing by following the best startups.

Identify, then use your strengths

As a startup, you probably have limited resources. To survive, you will have to maximise their efficiency. What are your key strengths? Is it speed? Is it sheer guts? Do you have strong social networks? Leverage them in any way possible for an effective digital marketing presence. The effectiveness of your content can be boosted only the basis of your strengths.

In my experience, one of the biggest strengths of a startup is new thinking. They don’t have an “image” per se. They are free to do whatever they want as long as it makes common sense. Unlike corporates which have many stakeholders and shareholders, this strong advantage is often overlooked by startups. Being bold and taking risks like this shaving startup did in their video  can go a long way in getting your foot through the door. Generic advice, but very true.

How can you challenge the status quo? Can you ask bold questions? Can you answer the truth? Can you be cheeky? Can you take a dig at someone? How can David bring down Goliath?

Try answering some of these and maybe you’ll come up with a unique idea.

Focus on substance

A startups freshness can also be a cause of chaos because there are just so many things you can do. Don’t let that drown out the essentials things in your business. Focus on the basics – your core proposition. Build substance around it. Do it long enough so that people start associating you with that single core proposition. You have to sell 1 product or idea to many people before you earn the right to sell 5 ideas. So, focus focus focus. (you will get a better ROI on your marketing spends too)

digital marketing for startups

If you have an app which has 10 features, or a hotel which has 20 amenities, but you have no brand following, then focus on only the most important aspect and feature of your brand. This is especially true because audiences online have very short attention spans, so you have to hit them with your trump card for the brief seconds they interact with it.

Focus on depth

An extension of the previous point, spreading your startup’s message across multiple online channels can dilute your efforts. Spreading content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your company’s blog, Pinterest, YouTube etc. etc. is a common mistake. My suspicion is that because all these services are free, people end up being greedy. That results in a lot of spread, but not enough depth.

This is the age of depth. As I often tell my clients, all the corners of the earth have been explored except the oceans. That’s where the real treasures are.

Focus on depth. The spread will automatically come once you can showcase your depth. You have to build authority in your niche. To give you an example, we as a content marketing company have a mind-boggling number of directions to grow our business in. We are sitting online, freelancing and consulting clients across the globe so what’s stopping us from spreading our efforts in other online businesses? Authority. We aim to become the number one content marketing company of India. And we can only reach there if we relentlessly focus on helping our clients create good content.

Digging deep is the hard part. You could easily hire an intern or a college kid to spread your content across multiple channels but creating engaging content for even one channel is a tough ball game altogether. You need serious thinking and focussed efforts to do that. And as a startup, you have tight budgets. You just cannot afford to blast the internet with your message and expect people to lap it up. But yes, blast a small area again and again and you have a good chance of winning.

Invest in “good” content

A very common mistake many startups make in their early days is creating “average” content. Average content will only get you average results. Investing good content can help you get good ROIs over a period of time. Think of buying good content as an investment which will payoff in the future.

Why? Because the art of hard-selling has been replaced by the art of soft-selling and good content goes a long way in softly attracting potential clients towards your business.

What is good content? In-depth articles, short promotional videos, how-to videos and guides, photographs, etc. are all examples of content. Your goal by putting out any piece of content is to spark an emotion in the reader. Stronger the emotion, better the results. You will notice that most of the examples shared in this video are from American startups. That talks a lot about how when it comes to digitally marketing a startup, much opportunity lies untapped for us Indians to really standout.

So invest and build great content. 1 great article instead of 5 average ones. A 30 second, snappy clipping instead of a 2 min drone.

And do not worry about sharing your knowledge with the competition. They will rarely have the tenacity to pursue your ideas.

The end

I have arrived at these habits after spending over 7 years in the digital industry. I have seen the birth and end of SEO-type content. I have seen how Google has punished millions of digital factories spewing out content, 10000 words a day. In fact, I was a big advocate of “regular” content. But I have come to realize that you cannot take shortcuts anymore. Building these habits are the surest way to digital success. Of course, you can carve out your own path too, which is even more ideal because it would be unique.

Digital marketing for startups takes perseverance, time and lots of energy. If you find yourself lacking, then there’s a shortcut for you. Hire us. 🙂


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