In business, as in life, there are no sure things. It is not uncommon for new companies with strong business plans and ample capitalization to fail. Such failures occur for any number of reasons, and many are not easily explained, even in hindsight.
It is therefore important for entrepreneurs to temper expectations about the impact of any one marketing tactic. On the other hand, early-stage ventures that pursue a variety of impactful marketing strategies may increase their chances of sustainable growth and long-term survival.
If you have not already done so, investigate the suitability of these five marketing strategies for your own business’s needs.
- Paid Search Advertising (Paid SEO)
Paid search describes a constellation of paid marketing channels that leverage commercial search engines’ reach to businesses and consumers. For U.S. companies, the most common paid search vector is Google AdWords, followed by Bing Ads (a Microsoft-owned competitor) in distant second.
Paid search effectively augments organic SEO, which doesn’t require payment by the click or conversion, but tends to provide lower visibility for marketers without resources sufficient to mount expansive campaigns.
- Local Search Marketing (Local SEO)
Local search marketing can be organic or paid. Indeed, it’s usually both. At LSA 2014, Miami entrepreneur George Otte spoke with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak about the importance of local search in small and midsize businesses’ marketing campaigns and the medium’s likely growth over the near term.
- Paid Social Media Advertising
Popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly central in early-stage firms’ marketing efforts. For instance, “tweet engagements” campaigns empower marketers to promote tweets to general or specific audiences.
Like most paid social media advertising products, tweet engagements (promoted tweets) cost marketers only when users engage with the promoted content. In other words, you do not have to worry about paying a flat fee for exposure, as is the case with advertising in traditional media.
- Organic Social Media Marketing
Organic social media marketing is entirely what you make of it. In a typical campaign, a dedicated social media manager creates, posts, and promotes content through owned and approved third-party accounts. As your social media following grows, your organic campaigns will become increasingly effective, though you may still wish to augment with paid promotion.
- Contests, Giveaways, and Other Promotions
Consumer-facing promotions can dramatically increase your brand’s visibility while improving customer perceptions of its quality and reliability.
The nature of these promotions will depend on your sales model, but examples might include offering free merchandise to customers who spend a certain amount in a single transaction or automatically entering every customer who buys on a given date into a prize drawing. Be sure to make good on your end of the bargain, as canceling a giveaway or contest after its announcement may erode any goodwill attributable to the promotion.
Make a Marketing Plan That Fits Your Business’s Needs
It is of the utmost importance that your early-stage venture’s marketing plan is tailored to its unique needs, not those of any particular competitor or archetype business. You are more likely to succeed when you listen closely to what your prospects and customers tell you, and adjust your service offerings and marketing messaging accordingly.