There is, undoubtedly, nothing bigger than creating a good product which, after all, is the crown jewel of a start-up. But just creating a brilliant product without making its existence known to the world defeats its purpose.
Launching a start-up is a big deal. Of course, getting funds and developing a great product is crucial to succeeding in this intensely competitive space, but there is still something that can make or break your business.
For the ones still wondering, it is your target audience, your consumer, your client, or whichever word you might like to go for. The point is, the customer is the king, and they decide whether your product or service is ultimately worth their money and time.
In that case, reaching out to the target audience and, most importantly, the correct target audience for your product is paramount to make your start-up succeed. Even if, for instance, you have the most innovative product with the most talented team working on it but if you do not market it correctly, the chances of your product being a hit among consumers are at long odds.
Shivam Dikshit, VP at IoTfy, highlights the importance of good marketing for building a start-up. He says, “There are brands that are doing exceptional work, but they are not known since they don’t market their product that well.”
But why is marketing such a big deal? And how exactly do you effectively market your brand? Dive in to find out the answers.
Bridge between brand and consumer
“Marketing is the first step where the conversion begins before the customers come in and they want to see what is in it that would compel them to hook on with the company. Why would I reach out until and unless I know that there is something of my need with a particular organisation?” says Dikshit. This is particularly important with respect to an electronics start-up.
The electronics industry is immensely competitive with new brands and new products coming up every other day. Today, a consumer has too many choices to choose from when it comes to an electronic product, and the chances that they would go for a new, lesser-known brand’s product over a well-established, popular brand are extremely low. But not zero.
This is where a good marketing strategy comes into play. When you are just starting out, the most effective way to grab your target customer’s attention is to have a highly effective marketing plan that ensures your visibility in the right target group. Once you have their attention, your product can speak for itself.
Here are some tricks that can help you take the first few steps towards marketing your product.
Step 1: Establish yourself on the Internet
Build your website. The first step to market your startup, says Dikshit, is to establish your presence on the Internet by building a proper website for your business. He says, “Though there are free-of-cost options available for building a website, I would suggest that you build a decent website and invest in a proper domain name and web hosting. You can learn to do that yourself by watching a plethora of videos available on YouTube.”
A well-built website that showcases your products and its characteristics can be a great way to catch attention. But just building a great website is not enough.
“Once you build your website you need to have basic SEO and SEM enabled. You can submit your websites onto search engines like Google, Bing, etc. There is an entire list of search engines available and once you add yourself onto them, anybody who uses that particular search engine will be able to locate you,” explains Dikshit.
Experiment with social media marketing. The latest trend in the marketing world is social media marketing, and it is not hard to understand why. As people begin to spend more and more time mindlessly scrolling through social media, brands are leveraging that to their benefit by cleverly putting in advertisements and other content to grab their customers’ attention, particularly on platforms where they know their audience would be the most engaged.
“If you are a B2B firm, LinkedIn is a preferred medium or, if you are able to generate some content, you can maintain a Medium or Tumblr blog. And if you are a B2C company, then channels like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram come in very handy,” says Dikshit.
LinkedIn, in particular, is a wonderful medium to reach out to the target audience and create a buzz around your product. For this, Dikshit suggests capitalising on LinkedIn’s messaging and advertising platform LinkedIn InMail. For instance, creating a short blurb of your product and features and sending it out to relevant industry stakeholders can be a nifty way for lead generation.
Dikshit explains, “LinkedIn, as a platform, is not only for lead generation but also helps to connect with the industry and all the stakeholders that are there. You can also practice target marketing with your audience through social media portals like Facebook. You can add the email addresses of the people who you want to target, and Facebook can showcase the advertisement to the selected email addresses only.”
Utilise professional PR services. If you have achieved a well-enough presence on the Internet and are now wondering what to do next, a PR firm or professional can help you achieve and rectify what you might have missed.
PR agencies are highly skilled at marketing brands, and the obvious choice when you wish to expand your business reach to the last person on the globe. But hiring a PR service does not necessarily have to burn your pocket.
“There are a lot of free PR distribution portals like PR Newswire, Newswire, etc, and then you have profile sections in news portals like YourStory, NextBigWhat, etc. So, you can compile a company profile of sorts and with little bit of alterations you can submit it on all these news portals. Also, there are free-of-cost catalogue services available like IndiaMart, JustDial, and Trade India that can be utilised. You can use these portals without shedding even a single penny,” informs Dikshit.
Dikshit further adds, “If you have a budget to spare, investing in PR is always going to be worth it. And something like advertisements in magazines or online portals where your target audience reaches out to will be great.”
Step 2: Build personal connect through events
As per Dikshit, events are a great way to highlight your start-up not just to your target audience/customer but also to investors and other industry professionals which, in turn, would help you gain massive business generation. A physical event would provide you the control to point out characteristics of your product or business as a whole that you would like people to engage with the most. And contrary to popular belief, it might be cheaper than you think.
“If you are able to talk with all the stakeholders that are involved and strike a deal with them, you would be able to make it work even with a limited budget,” informs Dikshit.
Despite a pandemic raging all over the world, you can organise online events and gain an even bigger audience as they attend it from the comfort of their homes.
“From B2B perspective, how this helps is, if you invite a very senior person from a particular organisation, you can always ask them to share the invitation inside their company, and so from the entire workforce who gets the invitation, many join and you get a large audience with a lot of prospects,” adds Dikshit.
Where to begin…
The formula is the same across all businesses, says Dikshit, except that the paradigm would shift. “For B2C start-ups, in case of social media marketing, the platform from LinkedIn would come to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram for that matter, although organising events might not be a choice for B2C.”
All of this information can seem too much, especially when you are just starting out and are juggling multiple jobs at the same time. It might seem alluring to hire a marketing professional, but given a budget crunch, there are some things start-ups can keep in mind before they go ahead.
As per Dikshit, if the product is still in the developing stage, and there is a need for that organisation to create a buzz around that product before its launch, they might require a marketing guy. But on the other hand, if they understand that the product is exceptionally good and it can do on its own, they can keep the recruitment aside for later.
“If you are creating an electronic product or an electronic design for an industry with only 4 or 5 players like the telecom sector, it does not make sense to hire a marketing guy. It might make more sense to hire a seasoned sales professional instead, who has experience in that particular industry,” suggests Dikshit.
There is, undoubtedly, nothing bigger than creating a good product which, after all, is the crown jewel of a start-up. But just creating a brilliant product without making its existence known to the world defeats its purpose. Although following a good marketing strategy is not the end-all step towards making a start-up succeed, it definitely gives the brand the boost it desperately needs to launch and survive in the electronics market.