The first place most startup companies look to for their marketing these days are social platforms. And rightly so, because there isn’t a cost of entry other than sweat equity. But before your startup jumps into social marketing, you MUST have a marketing plan that goes beyond just social media. Social media is a tactic, not a strategy.
Your startup was most likely born out of innovation – innovation that solved a problem. Lets take two of the most successful Des Moines startups:
For these companies, a viable solution didn’t exist. They weren’t putting a dry cleaner on the corner – there are plenty of those. They actually solved a problem, and for both of them, they solved a problem many of us didn’t know existed.
Prior to companies like Dwolla, credit card fees had become a fact of life. We didn’t view it as a problem, we viewed it as a necessary evil to payments. Well that’s no longer necessary. Their marketing and their public relations clearly reflect that.
With SmartyPig – they made the concept of saving money, well, sexy. And somehow pulled it off with a pig. Here was a new innovative and social way to save up for the things you dream about. Spend any time with their brand and you’ll see the features and benefits of saving with SmartyPig are more fun than saving with your friends at Bank of America.
Your startup marketing needs to do the same thing. Introduce the problem. Insert your solution. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I had a client in another life that sold stun guns. They wanted to market to college women on the world’s most unsafe campuses. We bought email lists. We sent the email offering the deal. No one cared. Why? These women it turned out weren’t aware their campus was unsafe. What we should have done was introduce the notion that their campus was unsafe, that they were vulnerable and that our stun guns would give them peace of mind, not to mention, solve a problem. Instead we received quite possibly the worst click through rate in history.
So, ask yourself why you started your company in the first place. What problem do you solve? Then, let your marketing lead with that story.