If you're running a startup company, you have many areas that need your attention urgently. One of those is marketing. Without a solid marketing strategy, your company can lack the attention it needs to get off of the ground. Fortunately, there are plenty of marketing approaches you can use — and not just the same old tactics you've heard about over and over. Here is a look at marketing strategies that are innovative and will actually work.
1. Virtual Events
In today's world, consumers expect more from your company than coupons and television ads. Small business marketing now includes customer experiences. One way you can provide an experience is by hosting a virtual event. While you can host one in person, having a virtual event allows you to extend your reach. People can watch from across the street or across the ocean. Try doing a customer spotlight, where you interview a satisfied patron and ask for feedback and a description of their experience with your company. You can also do a live question-and-answer event with your company executives or invite team members to give an in-depth description of their responsibilities.
2. Provide Educational Material
One way to help consumers understand your product or service is to teach them about it. You can offer education in the form of:
- Online classes
- In-person workshops
- Free software
It's best if you don't offer these materials as a hook to get them to buy something from you. Most consumers can see through a veiled attempt to push a purchase. They can appreciate your value-added educational materials and view your company as a trusted source of expertise.
3. Give Back to the Community
Now more than ever, your local community is one of your best resources. It is where you can find support and visibility. Does your product or service line include something you can donate or give away? If you are in the food industry, for example, you may consider offering a discount or hosting a luncheon for essential workers. Perhaps you can run a campaign to donate a percentage of your profits to local schools. Your choices are limitless. You know both your product and your community; match your contributions to the area that you think can benefit the most.
4. Offer Feedback Incentives
Online shoppers read reviews before deciding to purchase a product or service. You can ensure that there are plenty of reviews for your business by encouraging customers to share their experiences. Offer a discount or free product for sharing their thoughts. Not everyone will leave a glowing review. That's all right — you can benefit from negative feedback, too. It helps you understand what your customer wants from your business. Negative feedback gives you the chance to make improvements and serve your customers even better than before. It can strengthen your brand for the future.
5. Reward Loyal Customers
You probably have clients who love your product and keep returning to your business. Be sure you let them know you appreciate their loyalty by offering them a bonus. Some options to consider are:
- Giving a reward for referrals
- Providing free trials
- Giving discounts or coupons on a customer's birthday or anniversary
- Building a rewards program with points that lead to free products
- Offering discounts to first-time customers
It's usually less expensive to keep the customers you have than to seek out new ones. A loyalty program helps you retain your essential customer base.
6. Offer Payment Plans
Perhaps you have customers who are currently finding it a challenge to pay for products and services. You can consider offering payment plans to help those who need to alter their spending patterns at your business. They can appreciate your efforts to help them, and you can benefit financially, too. After all, small, gradual payments are better than no payments.
Today's marketing campaigns may look different than they did a few decades ago, but your startup can rise to the challenge. Look for innovative ways to increase your visibility and serve your customers, and your business will benefit.